Remixes are like squeezing an orange twice. They’re usually an amalgamation of guest artists that were not included in the original, and they’re spiked with different lyrical or melodic arrangements. We listeners get to decide and debate whether the original or the remix is worse. Linkin Park, rap-rock hit makers from Southern California, have taken a second turn at the remixing trend with their latest LP Recharged. This album revamps 10 songs from their 2012 album Living Things (3 of those songs are remixed twice) along with two versions of a new song titled, “A Light That Never Comes.” Their first fling with remixing was their 2002 album Reanimation which transformed the songs from their major label debut in 2000’s Hybrid Theory. The Recharged conversion from nu metal to dubstep includes elongated arrangements, tempo changes, extreme electronic shenanigans, virtually no guitars and lots of drum machine. The signature Linkin Park screaming and rapping are intact, but this is like driving to a mosh pit and crashing into a rave.
Strangely enough, this bass and drum makeover works. From head banging to head bopping this EDM translation captivates. Produced by the peerless visionary uber producer Rick Rubin, Recharged employs a prescription of guest DJs and arrangers which include Steve Aoki, Pusha T, Tom Swoon, Bun B, Dirtyphonics, and Money Mark. But the best remixes were done by Mike Shinoda, Linking Park’s rapper-vocalist and principal songwriter. The punk aesthetic of Living Things‘ “Victimize,” yields to a frantic, juiced, urgency in Shinoda’s hands. Likewise, he changes “Castle of Glass,” from an upbeat, minor key blast to a gallant, compelling composition. “Lost In The Echo,” is rhythmic utopia in the do over of dubstep duo Killsonic. The album’s first single, the funky stomper “A Light That Never Comes,” remixed by Steve Aoki was premiered on the “Recharged” Facebook game.
If milking music for every drop of artistic extract is the goal then this Linkin Park effort is what’s up. This is not a fusion treatment but a total change of genres. Is electronic rock the result of a natural progression from nu metal? Probably not, but, when intelligently administered as in Recharged the change can be seamless.