Californian rock band, Linkin Park follow the release of their 2012 album, Living Things, with a remix album, Recharged, that sees a variety of collaborators rework the band’s most recent material. This is not unusual for the band, having given their debut album, Hybrid Theory, the same treatment, to great success, with their first remix album, in 2002, Reanimation.
11 years since Reanimation, it is interesting to see Linkin Park chose to rework their most recent album, rather than revitalize the best tracks of their career so far. Recharged, benefits from this however, because, by focusing on one album, the feel of the record remains coherent, whereas attempting to remix a selection from their back-catalog could have been confused due to the bands fluctuating direction over the years.
By and large, Recharged succeeds in delivering intelligent remixes that add to or embellish songs, keeping enough of Linkin Park’s trademark sound, whilst injecting a new artist’s perspective and ideas that make the song feel unique enough to avoid being overshadowed by their originals. Reassuringly, the two most popular songs from Living Things, make the best transition, exemplifying the appeal of a remix album like this. M. Shinoda’s take on the track ‘Castle of Glass’, accentuates the song’s brooding atmosphere, but also features industrial electronic overtones, that contrast the far more mellow acoustic beats of the original. Likewise, ‘Lost in the Echo’ impresses as Killsonik identify the essence of the song and use their repertoire to emphasize it. This works excellently as the already angsty song is given even greater punch after a tense build up pays off with the excellent pairing of Linkin Park’s aggressive chorus with the addition of some searing synths.
Linkin Park have frequently experimented with sound and genre: their inspiration from hip-hop leading to their early branding as Nu-metal, and an interest in electronic production taking some of their most recent output in new directions. It is pleasing to see that all the tracks on Recharged appear to progress Linkin Park’s musical diversity even more. This is further evidenced by the inclusion of the band’s latest tracks, ‘A Light that Never Comes’, which did not feature on Livings Things, but saw the band collaborate with electro-house producer Steve Aoki. Though Recharged, like Reanimation, exhibits Linkin Park’s track’s ability to be turned into hip-hop, with Pusha T, Bun B, Cody B. Ware, RYU, and Money Mark all showcasing new verses, the majority of the remixes would be classified as electronic dance music, and as such ‘A Light that Never Comes’ fits right in on the record.
All this said, the album is not without fault. Sadly the already lack-luster track ‘Victimised’ is made unbearable by M. Shinoda drawing out the songs awful and uninspiring one word chorus in a manic extended version of the original. The continual thumping of the kick drum repeating rapidly underneath the screaming of the word ‘Victimised’ makes the track even more painful to listen to. The album also sadly does not include a new version of the tracks, ‘In my remains’, which is a little disappointing not only as it was one of the better songs from ‘Living Things’ but also as its omission arguably leaves Recharged incomplete.
Recharged offers a selection of high calibre collaborators, however there could be a little more diversity among them, to allow Linkin Park to really push the boundaries of their sound with perhaps some more unexpected artists’ help. As a result Recharged is very much still a Linkin Park record despite the presence of many other artists. This leads to the final and most important problem. The artists that have worked on this record bring a lot of new ideas and style, but ultimately the source material itself dominates. To be more specific, opinions of Recharged will largely be informed by opinions of the source material, Living Things, which despite being well received, was hardly groundbreaking. For instance it is hard imagine a person purchasing Recharged, who has not already bought Living Things, which is unfortunate given the fact that Recharged is more musically diverse.
Recharged offers some real standout reinterpretations of Linkin Park’s most recent songs, that are good enough to stand alone on their own merit. The remixes display a whole new element to Linkin Park’s music as it translates rather effectively into genres, such as dubstep, trap and electro house that are rather distant from its roots in Nu-metal. It also allows the opportunity for comparison with the original album, which will surely give fans cause for many repeated listens. Furthermore due to the range of collaborators, the record serves as an excellent stepping-stone for fans of Linkin Park to broaden their musical tastes into other genres, and vice versa.
Recharged was released on October 29th 2013 by Warner Bros. Records Inc.