The apotheosis of
all theses pertaining to horror was stated in Danny Boy’s sort-of-zombie-epic 28 Days Later, in which the scientist at
the very beginning of the film says, “In order to cure, you must first
With that being said, I’ve composed a
list of everything that CAPCOM should avoid in Resident Evil 7, and what they should bring into the mix.
1. NO MORE PARTNERS
There’s a reason why Dead Space 3 wasn’t as good as the first
two; it wasn’t necessarily story or gameplay—it was having a partner to dull
the scares. When you step into a survival horror game, you don’t want a partner
because it makes things too easy; unless the partner, of course, isn’t armed,
isn’t strong, and is important to keep alive—such as Ashley from Resident Evil 4—or are capable of dying,
like in Deadrising, and NOT from
dying via cut scene, but rather dying because of your own in-game decisions.
That would be the only scenario that having a partner—whether armed or not—would
be a good idea.
Hasn’t CAPCOM learned from Resident Evil Zero that we don’t want an
AI partner that will make the game easier to play, along with less scary?
Evil 7 needs to put an end to the partner system, plain and simple. Have
Mercenaries be for co-op or multiplayer, because co-op has no place in a Resident Evil game.
2. ONE GOOD, COMPLEX LOCATION
When you think Resident Evil and Zero, you
think of a mansion; Raccoon City’s streets and police department is what you
think about for Resident Evil 2 and 3: Nemesis; a village, castle, an
industrial facility for Resident Evil 4;
a boat in Revelations. And then it
takes a dive. In RE5, nothing was really
distinguishable; I certainly can’t name my favorite location. Perhaps the
swamps. But when you think of RE5,
you don’t think swamps—you think the shantytown that is . . . uh, what’s the
name of the city again? Kijuju? Something like that. (And yes, I’m deliberately
playing dumb because I can easily Google the name, but that’s not the point.)
And in RE6, get out a notepad and
make a list of all the locations—you’ll need a couple pages. Then how many of
those locations were significant to the actual story? How many of those
locations were interesting? Only a handful. And even if a location was
interesting, that doesn’t mean that the gameplay elements were.
Part of the reason why RE5 and RE6 had the weakest locations (and location designs, mind you), is
because it’s pointless to backtrack in either game, pointless to explore. Even
though RE4 was a straightforward game
(it wasn’t as if you were stuck in the village for the entire game), there was still need (and rewards) for exploring
every nook and cranny. Backtracking is good. And it creates incentive for the
game developers to put more detail and passion in the actual locations.
For Resident Evil 7 to be effective, it needs to pick a location and
then make it interesting. CAPCOM needs to add some RPG elements to make it
necessary to backtrack and find things they couldn’t have otherwise; for
instance, if at the beginning of the game there is a crumbly wall and then
later on you find grenades and realize that you could blow that wall up, then
that is smart game design. That’s also why The
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s
Mask were so good, and why Twilight
Princess and Skyward Sword weren’t
as good—because the latter two games had less emphasis on exploration. In Resident Evil 7, I want to find secret
weapons, treasures, etc. . . . by exploring, not by following a cookie crumb
trail to the next objective in the game.
3. ATMOSPHERE / MOOD
What the first several games of the
franchise had—and you can’t dispute this—was a moody atmosphere. The atmosphere
alone (contributed by a creepy score, of course) made those games terrifying as
they were. And then add sound design, creature design, pacing, etc. . . . and,
well, you needed to bring along an extra pair of underwear.
This is where some fans might disagree
on. Resident Evil 4. Okay, so the
game might not have had a dark, sinister atmosphere as the first several games
had, but it did have an atmosphere of its own. And it worked. Perhaps the first
few games were the equivalent to hot sauce, and Resident Evil 4 was rich, almost-spicy cinnamon. It was Resident Evil even though it was
different; it might have had a different taste,
but it had a similar tang nevertheless.
And then Resident Evil 5 had no atmosphere, and Resident Evil 6 had inconsistent atmosphere in all the campaigns.
What Resident Evil 7 needs to do is create an atmosphere that creates a
mood. The early trailers for Resident
Evil 5 hinted at such a mood, whereas the actual game didn’t deliver. And RE7 needs to deliver—whether its taste
is different than the other games, it needs to have a tang of horror, mystery,
I won’t spend much time on this
category, but it needs to be addressed. Resident
Evil 5 had decent controls (upgraded from Resident Evil 4); Resident
Evil 6 had terrible controls. Reason for which: the loose camera that
follows the character. It’s sad that I prefer the fixed camera behind the
character over the incoherent one from RE6.
If I want to see my character’s face, I’ll wait for a cut scene.
5. QUICK TIME EVENTS
All the best quick time events come
from RE4—cutting the rope after the
fight with the giant salamander, Jack Krauser’s fight, dodging the lasers,
avoiding certain enemy attack, etc. . . . In RE5 and RE6, the quick
time events are . . . sad to say . . . gimmicks. RE5’s quick time events are better than RE6’s.
Evil 7 needs to take a step back and think before doing. It would be
awesome to see Chris Redfield having a hand-to-hand fight with a group of
enemies and using a QTE to fight through them. But, the quick time events can’t
be cut scenes anymore. The Last of Us is
what Resident Evil 7’s QTEs need to
look like. They need to be intergraded into the gameplay.
Imagine this (in cinematography
terms): During gameplay (not a cut scene) you see (character) getting
surrounded by the enemy (whether zombie, human, ganados, majini, whatever). You’re
prompted to press “X”—you miss your chance. An enemy damages you. “Y”—you press
it and punch an enemy; “B”—you press it and counter an enemy attack and manage
to get the enemy in a headlock. ‘Hold “A”’—you hold it, and your character is
trying to break the enemy’s arm or neck and the enemy is struggling. Meanwhile
another enemy attacks. While holding “A,” you’re prompted to press “RT” (if you
succeed, you block the enemies attack and finish breaking the current enemy’s
neck; if you fail, you lose your headlock and that enemy is free. Essentially
you can choose this method of fighting a lot of enemies, or you can choose to
blast them away. It’s an option. There’s pros and cons to going hand-to-hand,
pros and cons to using a gun. This sort of QTE would be an optional risk
assessment. Do you want to take a group of enemies hand-to-hand (which would
save ammo but you’re more likely to get injured)? Or do you just want to start
shooting? And even if you want to shoot, you can still apply some hand-to-hand.
That sort of innovative gameplay is
what Resident Evil 7 needs to have. And
it serves survival horror. It’s not just mindless QTE that was in RE6.
6. THE SURVIVAL HORROR ELEMENTS
A) limited enemies (that don’t drop
ammo, that don’t respawn); limited ammo; innovative weapons (not to the extent
of Deadrising, but if I don’t have
ammo and I see a board of wood, I’ll want to use it).
B) No more “end of chapters,” instead
bring back the typewriter. Or, hey, if typewriters are outdated, then why not
send an email on a computer or laptop and that’s how you save the progress?
That’s a good modernly relevant solution, isn’t it?
C) Bring back the “safe room.”
D) Enemies should be able to break
down doors (aside from safe rooms).
E) The inventory needs to be fixed. As
with all the games up until 5, bigger items took up more room; you had to be smart
about what items you wanted to bring along.
7. A “VIRUS/PARASITE/FUNGUS” THAT IS
The Uroboros from RE5 was way too simple and not scary enough and it never really
made sense how Ricardo magically turned into a sea monster because he injected
himself with the Plagas on a boat; the C-Virus from RE6 could just do waaaaaay too many things, the mutations were too
numerous and inconsistent—even an enemy with a biological chainsaw for a hand.
It didn’t make sense how the C-Virus could create zombies, monsters, the
Ustanak, and J’avos (which were the same thing as Majini but only looked
different). If they really did want a virus that could do all those things,
they needed to have had A LOT more in-game documents to read. In fact, RE6 didn’t
have any in-game documents. That was a disappointment.
I think Resident Evil 7 needs to have a novel’s worth of documentation within
the game for whatever their “virus” is going to be. Because it needs to make
sense in order for suspension of reality to happen for the player. And sure, it
doesn’t have to be journals or pieces of paper, but cell phone text messages
too. RE7 needs to be modern.
8. UPGRADES / ITEM PURCHASES
Bring back the merchant. Enough said.
9. A RELEVANT, DARK STORY; SIMPLE PLOT
Examples of simple Resident Evil plots:
1) Leon’s sent to a European village
to investigate leads on the kidnapping of the president’s daughter; once he
finds her, he needs to save her. (RE4)
2) You’re trying to survive and you
discover the story/plot as you play (RE1,
2, 3, ZERO, Revelations)—and most of the “plot” in those games is actually
more or less the backstory.
Here’s an example of a plot that doesn’t
make sense (or gets too discombobulated): For some reason the president of the
United States is at a university in Tall Oaks and Leon shoots him and he is
with a girl who he doesn’t know and Hunnigan somehow knows her and meanwhile there’re
zombies everywhere in Tall Oaks; meanwhile, in Russia, Sherry Birkin magically finds Jake
Mueller and discovers instantly that his blood is special and that a cure can
be made byusing it and, uh, somewhere else Chris is a captain of a BSAA team and
he . . . I have no idea what his
objective is, other than killing B.O.W.s—and that’s the problem with RE6. The plot was WAY too
overcomplicated. (And I still have no idea why Simons’ wife wanted to clone
herself into Ada Wong and I had no idea why Simons’ wife wanted to kill Simons’
Evil 7 really needs to tone it down and find a simple story.
My example of a simple plot:
In a city a bioterrorist organization
holds a group of people hostage and for every day that they don’t get what they
want, they’ll kill a hostage and release a new B.O.W. into the city.
Since Amazon.com deleted my #1 most-helpful voted review of Linkin Park's LIVING THINGS (for no apparent reason), I thought I should salvage what I could find and post it as a blog. I know some of what I've said in this review is dated, since it's been about a year since the album has come out, but it's still a good review.
Genre(s):Electronic Rock, Alternative Hip Hop, Alternative
Rock, Folk Rock, Reggae, and a little bit of Soul—or let’s just call the genre “Linkin Park” (there are many
debates and disagreements, but it’s important to know that no two songs have
the same genre—especially on LIVING THINGS).
Likely to be singles: Castle of Glass, I’ll Be Gone, Powerless
Hardest/Heaviest song(s):Victimized, Lies Greed Misery, Skin to Bone
Softest song(s):Roads Untraveled, Powerless
Strangest song(s): Castle of
Glass, Skin to Bone, Until it Breaks,
Lost in the Echo, In My Remains, Lies
Greed Misery, Powerless
Best song: Castle of Glass
Worst song: Lies Greed Misery
Pros: Genre variety,
flawless vocal execution, poetic lyrics, no explicit language, and there’s a
perfect balance between tried-and-true genre songs that’ll please old LP fans
and non-LP fans, and experimental songs which will attract the M2M and ATS fans.
Cons: Short album, short
songs, lacking a consistent theme relevant to the title (but there were birds
chirping at the end of “Until it Breaks”)
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
“’cause once you got a theory of how the thing works,
Everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first.”
- When They Come For Me
Firstly, there has not yet been one review of LIVING THINGS that has
hit the nail on the head; hopefully I come close. At least I hope to hit the
board in which the nail is securely poking out of. And when I say no reviews
have hit the nail on the head, that includes negative, mixed, and positive
reviews (don’t be offended, for I may not have read your review); this is a
review in which I attempt to leave no stone unturned that will help you—the
reader—understand what kind of album you’re going to listen to. Perhaps look at
it as an in-depth analysis . . . which is no less than this album (or any album
from Linkin Park) deserves.
Secondly, there are only a few reasons why you’re on Linkin Park’s LIVING THINGS Amazon page—1) You’ve
listened to one or two songs and have decided you hate the album, so you’re
giving it a crappy review based off from your previous listening experiences
with Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns (and hence, a
narrow-minded “OLD LP LOVING/NEW LP HATING” zombie that’s scouring through each
new Linkin Park album for that Nu Metal sound that is clearly extinct and thus
you have misplaced disappointment that could have been avoided altogether by
having an open mind and just enjoying music that doesn’t make you wanna punch
walls, or just not listen to it, knowing you’ll hate it, the same way I don’t
listen to country music because I hate it! [*takes a deep breath in*]); 2)
You’ve listened to all the songs and decided that you loved the album with a
few critiques (or no critiques), and you’re writing a review for others to read
and you just happened to read mine; or 3) You’ve come to see the average rating
for LIVING THINGS, and perhaps you’ve
read the best reviews for the album to get a clear idea of whether or not to
BEFORE LIVING THINGS:
This review is for the latter, whether you’re a skeptic or a faithful
fan. But first, if you’re unfamiliar with Linkin Park, there’s something to be
known about them. And that is: they’re the most unpredictable mainstream band
out there (and, alas, the most underrated and misunderstood, but I’ll get to
that later)—their albums are unpredictable as a whole, and their songs are
unpredictable segment for segment.
In early 2000, they made themselves the most successful Nu Metal band
by creating a hybrid fusion between hip hop, rock, and metal; of course, that’s
not to say they “invented” it—no, Limp Bizkit was a little before Linkin Park,
and then there was also P.O.D. (remember them?), and the blend between hip hop
and rock began even earlier with the infamous Run-D.M.C. / Aerosmith
collaboration. But, it’s safe to say for the younger generations, Linkin Park
refined the formula and made it cool and so catchy that your mom might know
half the lyrics to most of their singles (or think they know the lyrics, but
really they don’t, like my mom—and I don’t know anybody between sixteen to
thirty-years-old that doesn’t know 80% of In The End’s lyrics). So, with that
being said, Hybrid Theory and Meteora were smash hits—and even their
remix album, Reanimation, was fairly
successful—it had collaborations with Black Thought from The Roots, Aaron Lewis
from Staind, and Jonathon Carpenter from Korn, along with other lesser known
Then in 2007, Linkin Park changed it up. Literally they washed
themselves clean of the Nu Metal sound; in a recent interview Chester
Bennington compared Nu Metal to bellbottom jeans, “They were popular at the
time . . .” but now wearing them would
make you want to vomit. So, yes, they changed their genre, but they did not
change their vibe or their artistic
integrity. Truthfully, there were some songs in Minutes to Midnight that I didn’t love, but as a whole, Minutes to Midnight was exactly what it
needed to be, and it was that album that made them survive the Nu Metal
extinction event; it was their life boat; their Noah’s ark, if you will—and
ironically their sophomore album, Meteora,
was the meteor that caused the flood that resulted in them making Minutes to Midnight (because, not only
were they getting sick and tired of Nu Metal, and being unfairly categorized as
a Nu Metal band—along with every other “nu metal” band—but they also couldn’t
make a Nu Metal album better than Meteora,
nor could any other band—that’s why Nu Metal is dead, and Minutes to Midnight is why Linkin Park are alive). Minutes to
Midnight had a few massive singles, such as “Leave Out All The Rest,” “Shadow
of the Day,” “What I’ve Done” and “Bleed It Out” (“Given Up was their single to
quench fans of harder music), but it didn’t have much rapping or screaming;
that disappointed some Nu Metal fans, and grew respect in others for their
risky departure (like me—but really, it was riskier staying in the Nu Metal genre
if you look at the external and musical environment factors).
In 2010 they made A Thousand Suns,
which is one of the most underrated albums of all time, comparable to Pink
Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Radiohead’s Kid A; it was a concept album about
nuclear holocaust, and it had a very dingy, post-apocalyptic vibe to it that
wasn’t afraid to be politically or religiously preachy (or at least suggestive);
an odd hybrid of Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead and
Massive Attack. (Funny detail is that it came out around the same time as My
Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoy’s—which
is also a post-apocalyptic semi-concept-album.) And because of their
experimentation (and the content) it had a polarizing effect on Linkin Park’s
“fans.” The Hybrid Theory trolls
still didn’t approve, but for those who had accepted Minutes to Midnight, A
Thousand Suns was a huge treat of musical yumminess that added a new genre
to Linkin Park’s array of sounds—Reggae. A Thousand Suns was philosophically
deep in the effects of war and it had some spirituality (which I suppose also
could have offended some people).
With that being said, let my review begin . . .
LIVING THINGS REVIEW:
And now we’re at Linkin Park’s fifth album, LIVING THINGS. If you take the best elements from Hybrid Theory, Meteora, Minutes to Midnight,
A Thousand Suns and throw in a dash of Folk and Reggae, you can imagine
what LIVING THINGS sounds like. As a
whole, it’s their most energetic album; it’s not as safe as Meteora, nor is it as risky as A Thousand Suns—it’s deliberately
somewhere in between (for better or worse). But, once again, there’s going to
be a big gaping chasm in reviews for this album. It’s too experimental for the
Hybrid Theory fans, and it’s not experimental enough for the Thousand Suns fans
(which I am). Good news is that LIVING THINGS is close to Meteora and Minutes
to Midnight. HT fans may not like “Castle of Glass,” “Roads Untraveled,” “Skin
to Bone,” and “Until it Breaks,” but will most likely like “Lost in the Echo,”
“In My Remains,” “Lies Greed Misery,” and “Victimized.” But for ATS fans, the
good news is that there will likely be only one song on the album that you’ll
find weak (if you’re anything like me), and that song is “Lies Greed Misery.”
When the album begins, the first seven songs don’t let up, and then the
momentum drops for two songs, and then—in the duration of one song (“Until It
Breaks”)—it picks up, slows down, picks up, and slows down. Finally, the album
ends with their best Power Ballad ever, and finishes LIVING THINGS with a similar taste that “Pushing Me Away” did for Hybrid Theory and “Numb” did for Meteora (I deliberately leave out “The
Little Things Give You Away” from Minutes
to Midnight and “The Messenger” from A
Thousand Suns because those two songs were experimental endings as opposed
to the tried-and-true approach that Linkin Park took with this album’s final
Without further ado, I bring to you reviews for each song:
ONE) LOST IN THE ECHO: Let
me start off by saying that Mike Shinoda delivers his best rapping ever, and
that’s taking “When They Come For Me” and “Hands Held High” into consideration;
and I’m not so much talking about lyrics as I am style and his verbal grace. In
this song, he tears it up with Eminem-esque intensity. This is also the closest
that Linkin Park comes to their old Hybrid Theory / Meteora sound. In truth,
comparing other Linkin Park songs of similar formulas, it’s better than “In the
End,” “Faint,” and “Bleed It Out.” But I do think that we’ve “heard” this sort
of song one too many times; it’s certainly not as unique as “When They Come For
Me” and hence, not a perfect score.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: METEORA
REMINISCENT OF: A Place For My
TWO) IN MY REMAINS: When I
listen to this song, I hear a combination between My Chemical Romance and
Avenged Sevenfold—a crazy combination, I know, but there’s a certain vibe to
the song when Mike starts chanting, “Like
a soldier, falling, one by one by one,” that I get gooseflesh. When you
listen to LIVING THINGS for the first
time, you’ll think to yourself “this will probably be a single,” and when you
get to the midway point in this album, you’ll start to doubt if this song will
be a single at all . . . because, simply put, there’s still some bigger
epicness to come. I only wish this song was as fleshed out as most of the
Thousand Suns tracks were. It could have been EPIC instead of just really good.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: MOODY
REMINISCENT OF: Nothing they’ve done before.
THREE) BURN IT DOWN: This is
the first single from the album, so I’ll keep it short. As “What I’ve Done” was
the bridge from Meteora to Minutes to Midnight, “Burn It Down” is
the bridge from A Thousand Suns to LIVING THINGS. In other words, it has an
in-between sound. And, the song itself is about burning down something old and
building something new for better or worse. This is one of only two tracks on
the entire album that feels like an entirely complete and fulfilling song
(despite the imperfect score).
ONE WORD SUMMARY: ANTHEM
REMINISCENT OF: New Divide +
Waiting for the End
FOUR) LIES GREED MISERY:
This song lies between a soft and a hard spot. It sounds like something that
you might hear from Fort Minor (with, of course, Chester as a guest singer),
except if this was on Mike Shinoda’s Fort Minor album, it would probably be my
least favorite song on the album, and I like Linkin Park more than Fort Minor .
. . so, what does that say about this song? It’s a bland, short and heavy
hip-hop/punk-influenced song with a heavy chorus—and it’s one of my least
favorite Linkin Park songs ever. But, the thing with Linkin Park is that one
man’s trash is the next man’s treasure . . . but I believe it’s misplaced
anger. I think LP wanted to make a song that their “angry HT fans” could enjoy
(and by no means am I saying you’re an angry person if you like this song).
ONE WORD SUMMARY: PETTY
REMINISCENT OF: Bleed It Out
FIVE) I’LL BE GONE: Owen
Pallett (Arcade Fire collaborator) did the strings on this song. The verses are
unique and sung beautifully, and the choruses are the best on this album, and
maybe the best chorus on any album they’ve done. This was my mom’s favorite
song; with that being said, this might be the biggest single on the album when
the time comes. This is also the first song on the album (assuming you’re
listening to it from beginning to end) that really shows the evolution of their
abilities as a band and the progression of their sound.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: IMPRESSIVE
REMINISCENT OF: From the Inside
and What I’ve Done
SIX) CASTLE OF GLASS: NME
has called this song a country song . . . eh, not really. Although it does have
a sort of twangy guitar arrangement; I call it Western rock if it’s anything at
all to do with a country vibe. This is my favorite song on the album; it’s even
my girlfriend’s favorite song at the moment (and she’s only a moderate Linkin
Park fan). The song starts off with a hypnotic chugging of a steam engine-esque
tempo and builds with a folk—almost country or western—guitar arrangement (it
could be keyboard; it’s hard to tell with LP). And when Mike Shinoda starts
singing, “take me down to the river bend, take me down to the fighting end,”
you know that this is going to be a magical song which isn’t your typical
Linkin Park. The chorus is short, poetic, and catchy. When I listen to the
song, for some reason I think of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. It also is reminiscent of Mumford & Sons
and Johnny Cash. This is the song that I would play to people who are skeptical
about the album.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: TRANSCENDENT
REMINISCENT OF: Nothing they’ve done before.
SEVEN) VICTIMIZED: The
working title for this song was “Battle-axe,” and when you listen to it, you’ll
know why. It’s short, blunt, and straight to the point. It could be longer, but
it doesn’t need to be; in fact, it is what it is, and that’s okay in my book.
If anything could be said about this song, I would say that it was influenced
by 80’s punk bands and the rapping reminds me of The Roots.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: RANDOM
REMINISCENT OF: Nothing they’ve done before.
EIGHT) ROADS UNTRAVELED:
Folk, Blues, and Soul, and it feels like it could be the spiritual successor to
“My December.” There isn’t much to be said about this song, except for . . .
there’s an omnipresent clinking of glass or maybe chimes of some sort . .
.It’s also the slowest song on the
album, and it’s one of the most unexpected tracks. I wish it was longer and had
more lyrics, but what’s done is done. I certainly can’t imagine another band of
Linkin Park’s caliber attempting (and succeeding) in this type of song, so
whatever could be better about this song is not relevant. All songs can be
better (and a song being too short is better than a song being too long).
ONE WORD SUMMARY: ATMOSPHERIC
REMINISCENT OF: My December and
NINE) SKIN TO BONE: This
song was supposed to be (according to Mike and Chester) one of their
Folk-influenced songs on the album, but I sort of get a late Kanye West vibe
from it. Or maybe if Kanye West made babies with Bob Dylan—I’m not sure. This
song is one of the most difficult to describe;
I guess you can even call it heavy dubstep (and I had read a review
somewhere comparing this song to dubstep, but I’m not familiar with the
genre—and I think that dubstep is the new Nu Metal at the moment in the sense
that “everything” is dubstep; so I would make the point to say that if this
song has any dubstep musical elements in it, then it’s of good taste). It’s really a bizarre song about
constancy and permanency and death. The lyrics remind us that the clock is
ONE WORD SUMMARY: DEPRESSING
REMINISCENT OF: Wretches and
Kings (without rapping)
TEN) UNTIL IT BREAKS: The
composition of this song is really what makes it so unique. For me to describe
it, it would almost feel like I’d be spoiling the fun. So, I’m not going to
describe the composition—but I’ll say it’s a combination of A Thousand Suns and something that the
hip hop group The Roots would make with a hint of Green Day; I feel like this
would have been a great song to be included on A Thousand Suns. It’s one of my favorites on the album, but I can
guarantee that those who didn’t like A
Thousand Suns will not like this song (and if you do like this song, are
you sure you didn’t like A Thousand Suns? Just wondering). To each their own.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: COMPLEX
REMINISCENT OF: When They Come
For Me and Hands Held High
Instrumental. It’s actually pretty good and I think it’s a required bridge from
“Until It Breaks” to the final track, “Powerless.”
TWELVE) POWERLESS: If you
put this song at the end of any of their previous albums, it would work for
those albums as well as it does for this album; “Powerless” has little
fragments of their previous ballads inside. But, aside from that, it works
perfectly as its own thing. And what it is is an emotional Power Ballad about
being with someone who you love but watch them ruin things for themselves and
others. And it’s the most touching song they’ve ever done, in my opinion (and I
sort of wish it was longer for that reason). You really feel something when you
listen to it; the lyrics connect with anyone who’s been let down; the chorus is
full of raw emotions in which is sung just as beautifully as Chester sang “The
Messenger.” And then when you hear the chanting/howling “Ooooo ooooo oooo
ooooo,” you can’t help but feel gooseflesh and the hairs rise up on your arm
and feel a sob crawl up your throat, or maybe tears swell in your eyes (okay,
I’m exaggerating, just a little). When the song ends, you want more . . . but
you can’t have more, because the album has reached its end.
ONE WORD SUMMARY: EMOTIONAL
REMINISCENT OF: Pushing Me Away,
Numb, and In Pieces
As a consistent fan of Hybrid
Theory, Meteora, Fort Minor’s The Rising
Tied, Minutes to Midnight, and A Thousand Suns, I can honestly say that
what hurt Linkin Park the most was trying to build a bridge between them and
the fans that they lost; and in doing so (which is the equivalent of trying to
get back with someone that cheated on you just because you got a haircut and
wore dress shoes instead of converse), they sort of backtracked—call it being
comfortable in their skins if you want, but I call it being scared and hurt by
all their negative reviews from M2M
and ATS, and so they didn’t want to
get bad reviews from “fans (but let’s just say ‘stubborn nu metal’ fans).” And
thus, LIVING THINGS doesn’t quite
live up to A Thousand Suns, in terms
of feeling like a complete, fulfilling album; but it will very likely find a
few fickle Hybrid Theory fans that
might like “Lost in the Echo,” “In My Remains,” and “Lies Greed Misery”.
Another flaw I found—which was glaringly obvious in “Lies Greed
Misery”—was the fact that they are, in a way, relapsing about an ideology that
they sang about often in Minutes to
Midnight and A Thousand Suns (and
even in Meteora for the most part),
which was . . . forgiveness; it’s not you, it’s me; selflessness—that way of
thinking. I found that “Lies Greed Misery” crumbled that foundation that was
built by previous songs of good, righteous morals, such as “Breaking the
Habit,” “Leave Out All The Rest,” “What I’ve Done,” “In Between,” “Burning in
the Skies,” “Robot Boy,” “Iridescent,” and “The Messenger”. There was nothing
redeeming about “Lies Greed Misery”—it felt like petty high school politics
when you just wanna get back at somebody without a good cause (so-and-so said
this about me, and I’m gonna say this about them). If the song was about how
people’s stupid actions cause them to be in the state poverty or bad health
that they’re in, as the lyric, “you did it to yourself” states, and then
perhaps it would have made the song better. But the song was more or less just
about being in a verbal feud with someone . . . a little petty, if you ask me.
Yes, it’s a big gripe, but it’s only one song, and it doesn’t knock off a star.
If you’re an angry person, you might like this song. But I’m not angry. The Hybrid Theory years were a decade
THINGS THAT WOULD HAVE MADE LIVING THINGS BETTER:
1. If they had fully fleshed out each song, and hence making the album
longer, it would have felt like a complete album—as Minutes to Midnight and A
Thousands Suns both felt like (even if you hated those albums). Some songs
were just too short to state their actual meanings successfully.
A) “Lies Greed Misery” should have added a little something—perhaps an
extra rapping verse that overlaps Chester screaming, “You did it to yourself!”
and perhaps making it a longer, more fulfilling song. And perhaps if they would
have done something extra to this song, it wouldn’t have been my least
B) “Castle of Glass” was such a beautiful, unique song, and it ranks up
as one of my favorite Linkin Park songs ever. But, when they have such a gem,
why couldn’t they unleash it? I would love to have heard at least three more
minutes of this dark western weirdness that would have made it into something
legendary (but I have a feeling they knew this was going to be a single, so
they made it short—a shame, really).
C) “Roads Untraveled” was pretty. And it was pretty short for being so
pretty. In M2M and ATS, they would have milked it a little more, and they
should have with this song, too.
Ultimately, if those three songs were amplified, then I think the album
would have felt more complete. And perhaps people wouldn’t have cared that
“Victimized” was so short (because the two songs sandwiching it would have been
long). The only songs on the album that I felt were truly “complete” were “Burn
It Down” and “Until it Breaks”.
2. When I heard the title of the album was LIVING THINGS, I was pumped because I was thinking it was the
natural extension of the concepts applied in A Thousand Suns (what I mean is that ATS was about nuclear holocaust and dead things—(get it?)—and thus,
this album’s title . . .), but the title didn’t really mean anything in
connections with the songs (other than it being about personal relationships),
except that it did feel more energetic than ATS
(and hence the CAPITALIZED title). I wish they would have made LIVING
THINGS into at least a semi-concept album instead of a compilation of songs
(really good songs, I might add, just there wasn’t a consistent flow as there
was in ATS).
It’s kind of hard to define this album’s genre—the best I can say is
that it’s a musical chimera between Avenged Sevenfold, The Roots, Bob Dylan and
Johnny Cash. Unlike their last album, LIVING
THINGS is deeply personal with songs a non-LP-fan can enjoy (unless they’re
too stubborn to even listen to any of their music, like a friend of mine that
wouldn’t give “Castle of Glass” a chance, because she mental conceives them as
a Screamo band), songs that an only-Old-LP-fan can (and should) finally come
around and enjoy again, and still contains some bold risks that ATS fans can enjoy, with genres ranging
from Electronic Rock, Hip Hop, Reggae, Folk and Punk; it’s an album in which
each strum of guitar and bass is masterfully crafted and placed, each pound or
tap of the drum has a purpose while creating hypnotic beats, and the lyrics are
honed, the vocals ruthless and raw. Even Mr. Hahn, the DJ, has a
comfortable—not overbearing, but not overly minimal (like in M2M)—place in each song.
IN THE END:
Along with life, there’s pain; and with pain, there’s hope. This album
will have a song for you. I recommend that you buy the album too, instead of
downloading it illegally, because Linkin Park takes pride in their album
First of all, I want everyone to know that Resident Evil: Red Falls (which you can find the first two trailers at www.youtube.com/striketoburn1 -- and don't forget to subscribe, jabronis) is coming along slowly but nicely. From the first couple cuts that I've seen, I can tell that it's going to be the most passionate and serious-toned Resident Evil fan film that's ever been made; certainly, it's easy for you to say there's a certain level of biasness in my statement, but I think when you all see the film, you'll understand what I mean. Resident Evil: Red Falls--originally called Resident Evil: No Hope Left (based entirely on Resident Evil 6's tagline and viral campaign, which at the time made sense to follow suit)--is a project full of blood, sweat, and tears. It wasn't a film where a bunch of teens bought a few cosplay costumes from Amazon.com, bought some fake blood, and yelled "Action" with their parents' home video camera and ran around the woods with fake guns.
No, Resident Evil: Red Falls is much more than that. It's a risk. Not much is known of the story from the two trailers available on Strike to Burn Productions' YouTube page. But I will say this (not a spoiler): the film takes place after Raccoon City (*gasp!*); it takes place after Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 (*double gasp!*); in fact, you could say it either takes place directly before Resident Evil 6, during, or slightly after. And get this . . . prepare yourself . . . no characters from the video games are actually going to be in the film. That's not to say it's a zombie film with RESIDENT EVIL slapped on as its title to get more views; in fact, two characters (well, technically three; I won't say who) from the series actually have a big influence on the plot. Think of it as Halo ODST . . . but in the world of Resident Evil.
The characters in RE: RF are the would-be heroes (or casualties) if the perspective of Resident Evil shifted to lesser known characters (well, let's not kid ourselves here: they're--the characters in RE: RF--are completely unknown characters; but when you watch our upcoming film, you'll get the sense that they really do exist in that fictional universe) with less experience against B.O.W.s, but with realistic reasons for joining the B.S.A.A. nevertheless (or attacking the B.S.A.A., in terms of the villains).
As the writer of RE: RF, I really wanted to stay away from conventional fan fiction. Normally fan fiction consists of events that take place in Raccoon City. And when I say fan fiction, I don't necessarily mean fan films (because fan films means you need a camera and more than one nerd to act in your film; if you want it to be good, you need money; and if you want it to be better, you need talent; therefore if you don't have a camera, money, or talent, fans stick with fan fiction in the written form). All the fan fiction I've read (or have heard about via word of mouth) has been in Raccoon City, how so and so discovered this secret Umbrella station, or Wesker was actually here when those characters were there, etc., etc., etc. . . . Other fan fiction deals with what fans want Resident Evil 7 to be about, and since Resident Evil 6 just came out, I'm not sure what fans are wanting in the next installment. I only know that CAPCOM listens to fans as well as a genuinely interested ninety-nine-year-old person will listen to their great grandchildren's Christmas present list; that's to say they hear fragments of the wishlist, but ultimately they'll give your parents the money to buy the presents for you. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and both the Wii's Chronicles--Darkside and Umbrella--are examples of this metaphor. ORC was an action, third-person shooter; both the Chronicles games were on-rails shooters. I consider that miscommunication between fans asking CAPCOM for remakes and CAPCOM trying to be risky (and misunderstanding what the fans are really asking for--they're asking for the same treatment CAPCOM did with the first game in the series [the GameCube remake] to also be applied to Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and I'm certain fans--me included--don't want "improved gameplay, they just want remastered graphics) about the remakes which they're for.
Partly I blame fans for this miscommunication as well--and now I'm getting into the realm of fan films. Fan films aren't like fan fiction because there are limits, there are materials needed, there are people needed. Fan films are usually terrible. Ninety-nine percent of Resident Evil fan films take place in the Raccoon City Forrest. Why? Because trees are common. And they're free. But I think CAPCOM had mistook this budgetary decision a lot of fan film filmmakers make as a WE LOVE RACCOON CITY statement. Maybe that is true, to some degree. But those fans . . . I won't say they're "not true fans," because that's cliché . . . so how should I say this? I don't think they're contributing to the solution. I think they're contributing to the problem. The problem: CAPCOM's further descent into mediocrity . . .
. . . but I think Resident Evil: Red Falls will set a new standard for fan films, and hopefully push CAPCOM to . . . well . . . start paying attention.
I wanted to take the critiques I had for CAPCOM's flailing, dwindling had-once-been-survival-horror franchise, and apply them to my story. Now, granted. RE: RF is not truly a horror film. But it definitely isn't The Matrix (Resident Evil 5), and it definitely isn't Final Destination with 28 Days Later zombies and not-zombies-not-ganados-not-majini super zombies with machine guns, blades, and intelligence to fly helicopters (Resident Evil 6); instead, RE: RF is rooted in realism. Two films had a lot of influence on the narrative structure and tone of the script: The Raid: Redemption and the scene in The Dark Knight when Batman is interrogating The Joker while Rachel and Harvey are tied up in warehouses full of explosives. If you combine the two of those and add Resident Evil moments, terminology (such as the B.S.A.A.), and history (for instance, Wesker's death is mentioned in the film), then you can sort of piece together what RE: RF will be like.
But enough about Strike to Burn Production's Resident Evil: Red Falls. The real reason I made this blog entry was to shine light on some other fan films that I find are really well made--or at least influential--or fun. (The following fan films are not in any particular order.)