Linkin Park

Songs From The Underground EP

Written by: PP on 16/12/2008 13:20:40

"Minutes To Midnight" was a definite candidate for one of the most disappointing albums of 2007, as it saw Linkin Park go incredibly commercial and awfully soft with their sound. Fans of songs like "Crawling" and "Somewhere I Belong" didn't take kindly to this, and the album flopped critically (though still making #1 in pretty much every country for some weird reason). Fast forward a little over a year into November 2008 and the band (or their label, really) is releasing an eight track EP with studio versions of many songs that have been circulating across P2P networks in various forms for quite some time now.

The intro track "Announcement Service Public" isn't much to talk about though as it merely contains "Hybrid Theory"-era instrumentals and all-too distant screams on the background, but already here one begins wondering why this track didn't open "Minutes To Midnight" instead of "Wake". This feeling is much stronger with "Qwerty" that's probably the best track the band has written since the "Hybrid Theory" album, it is a return to the screamed choruses and a reasonably tight nu-metal sound, basically the polar opposite of "Minutes To Midnight". Chester's scream parts are as catchy as ever, just as they are on "And One", another song shitting all over both "Meteora" and "Minutes To Midnight", which to me suggests that somewhere along the line the label forbade the band of writing and releasing the heavier material more akin to "Hybrid Theory", an example of the sort of idiocy that often occurs in the heads of the 60 year old major label exec's.

"Sold My Soul To Yo Mama" is where Mike Shionda & Joe Hahn show off their MC skills - think "Cure For The Itch" sort of thing here - which might just be the element we've been missing from the band's records lately. "Dedicated" is a demo from 1999, presumably when the band was still called Hybrid Theory and more of a hip-hop act than anything else, and it's easily the weakest track on the EP. "Part Of Me" is the last studio cut on the record, once again sporting a "Hybrid Theory" vibe, serving as a reminder how good these guys used to be before they sold out and focused on record sales instead of writing awesome songs, even if it clearly has a b-side of "Hybrid Theory" sound to it. But truth be told, even a b-side to that record is better than "Minutes To Midnight", which says something about that album...

The last two chops on the CD are live tracks, with a piano version of "My December" leading the way. The crowd is full of little girls screaming, and while I don't normally like that sort of thing, it works wonders on a live recording that's as well done as this one. Finally, "Hunger Strike (Live from Projekt Revolution 2008)" sees Chester Bennington help Chris Cornell perform a cover of the Temple Of The Dog's classic, but Chester's part in the song is so small that I fail to understand what the song is doing on this EP.

Overall, "Songs From The Underground" EP is perfect for those of us who used to be fans of the band before they went shitty on "Meteora" and thereafter. Whether or not all of these songs are originally from the "Hybrid Theory" sessions in 1999 and 2000 remains unclear, but if they are from recent years, then it's about friggin' time that the band writes another heavy album instead of the piano pop they've been shoving down our throats lately.


Download: Qwerty
For the fans of: Hybrid Theory-era Linkin Park
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.11.2008
Warner Bros

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