Disclaimer: the download came through less than an hour ago. These are early thoughts. (I wrote this late Monday night.)
“CASTLE OF GLASS (M. Shinoda Remix)” – This is an interesting reimagining of the original. I like that the intensity of the chorus was kept in there, because the original song was awesome. I think the vocals suffered a little as the instrumentals clearly took priority in this remix. The beat is pretty cool; I dig this song. Like most of M. Shinoda’s remix tracks, it has an almost retro feel. Picks up pace as it goes; I love the use of percussion and beat changes later in the song.
“LOST IN THE ECHO (Killsonik Remix)” – Again, this was an incredibly strong track on the original album, and I think that’s been done justice here. There are places in this song where the beat is hard. The first drop is nicely paralleled with Bennington’s scream; I think this song does a very good job, all the way through, of blending the original vocals with the new instrumentals. It has a varying genre feel throughout, but is ultimately a dubstep/dance song, like the rest of the album, but since it comes from Linkin Park it has a harder edge. Gotta love it.
“VICTIMIZED (M. Shinoda Remix)” – This was a fairly weird track on the original album, and I think M. Shinoda has done a good job of pulling the song together a bit. The instrumentals and beat are more intense and driving now, and it seems to fit the tone of the chorus better. The song is very high tempo, almost out of control. It has a very desperate, angry feel now, which I think fits the message much better than the original. The vocals lose out a bit to the instrumentals, but I think the chorus is well-respected.
“I’LL BE GONE (Vice Remix) [feat. Pusha T]” – Finally, the first feature! This is a good song to introduce a rap feature on, as the original song was good but lacking a little in lyrics and vocals. The remix worked that issue out very well with the addition of the featured rapper, who sounds awesome. The background instrumentals are executed well and don’t distract too much from the rap lyrics, which are really well-written on first listen. The chorus is respected – Bennington’s vocals are top-notch and energetic as usual. The beat on the chorus is much more dubstep/dance, which creates a terrifically laid-back feel.
“LIES GREED MISERY (Dirtyphonics Remix)” – I don’t really remember this song being that good from the original album, and the remix doesn’t impress me too much either. The early bit of the song sounds a bit confusing; it does pick up a bit at the chorus, where there’s a pretty fantastic drop.
“ROADS UNTRAVELED (Rad Omen Remix) [feat. Bun. B]” – I loved this song on the original album. It was soft, sweet, and the vocals were amazing, as well as the creative instrumentation. I like that the simple sound of the vocals was fairly well-respected in this song, and the harmonies were kept in. (The harmonies on this song between Shinoda and Bennington are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Band chemistry, I guess.) The feature sounds great; there’s a really strong rhythm going on between Bun. B and the instrumentals. And back come the harmonies! This is a pretty terrific remix.
“POWERLESS (Enferno Remix)” – I don’t remember liking the original song all that much, but the remix is kind of epic. The vocals sound amazing with electro-dance-instrumentals behind them, and just… you have to listen to this one to believe it, but it is really incredibly epic. Has a very pop-dance tone to it, that whole “this is the last night of our lives, so live it up!” feel. Worth many listens!
“BURN IT DOWN (Tom Swoon Remix)” – This was a pretty good track from the original album, so I had fairly high expectations. Boy, were they met. This remix manages to pay lots of tributes to the original while also doing its own thing; the theme from the original song finds itself retro’d and dance-instrumental’d around throughout the song, and a lot of the sounds from the original make their way in here at just the right times. The vocals are a bit hidden behind all the instrumental noise, but the effect is good.
“UNTIL IT BREAKS (Datsik Remix)” – This sounds like a completely different song. It’s got a killer beat as early as the intro, and honestly sounds way more like a rap song than anything else until maybe 45 seconds in, when the build to the drop starts up. The drop is passable – nothing special, but it sounds pretty good. The instrumentation is cool, and heavy on the bass which I always enjoy. M. Shinoda’s part is worked in and edited nicely, although it gets a little repetitive because the same lines are repeated a lot. Instrumentals great, vocals passable because of too much repetition.
“SKIN TO BONE (Nick Catchdubs Remix) [feat. Cody B. Ware & Ryu]” – No doubt, from the first second, that this is a remix. The first verse is a remix, with the original instrumentation in the background mixed with new dance sounds. The chorus vocals are kept in, but edited to sound darker. It sounds really cool. The rap verses are pretty good, with lots of pop culture references thrown in throughout. Bennington’s chorus sounds amazing. Overall, this one comes off as pretty good, but not great.
“I’LL BE GONE (Schoolboy Remix)” – A competing remix for I’LL BE GONE. This one is heavy on the bass but true to the original vocals. Good build to a powerful, driving drop. The second drop is slightly different, and sounds really cool as well. Not sure which remix is better, but they both seemed really solid.
“UNTIL IT BREAKS (Money Mark Headphone Remix)” – This remix is, like, really bass-heavy. It’s also not completely a dance remix – in fact, it almost sounds more like a grunge rock remix blended with an electronic remix… okay, and apparently there’s sort of a Beck thing going on later in the song. Lots of weird instrumentation, but it all blends somehow. Sounds really cool. Give this one a listen for sure. Someone clearly had a lot of fun with this remix.
“A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES (Rick Rubin Reboot)” – I don’t know if I’m feeling this. It’s a cool idea to remix the song into a light, pitched-percussion-driven feel, but I loved the original so much and it was so powerful. This just sounds kind of weird. The end gets even odder. I’m not down with this… but I did love…
“A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES” – Linkin Park & Steve Aoki – Welcome to the land of pure awesome. Driving beat. Solid lyrics from M. Shinoda. That sweet, soft piano in the background. Chester’s vocal beauty. God, Chester’s vocal beauty. I mean, come on. Dat chorus doe. And then the drop! And then more vocals from everybody! This song rocks. Rockstep feel, lots of power and a damn good beat. Did I mention the vocal beauty of one Chester Bennington?
As always, thanks for reading!