Linkin Park

Songs from the Underground

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Consisting of songs initially available exclusively for the Linkin Park fan club, Songs from the Underground is nothing more than a collector's item, although it showcases an interesting picture of the band. Some tracks are independent cuts, such as the opener, which sounds typical for latter-day Linkin Park, all polished, focused, and gloomy (maybe a tad overly streamlined too); the band's "lost" classic ballad "My December"; and the surprisingly raw "Qwerty" and "And One," which are nice throwbacks to the band's pre-debut days, although "Qwerty" doesn't benefit from encroaching on Slipknot's turf by one riff too many. The rest is padded out by remixes and covers, which are able to stand as independent tunes, not mangled rehashes that make you reach for the originals: "Sold My Soul to Yo Mama" (maiden name "Papercut") is given a great reggae/dub treatment, which works wonders with LP's heavy riffs and Mike Shinoda's table-scratching, and the live version of Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike," done with Chris Cornell, is bound to be a winner -- the man really gels with rap-based rock bands. The long droning gimmick at the end of the record is perfunctory, but helps to highlight the EP's most intriguing point: the band abandons its chart-oriented focus and brevity for a more meandering approach, and kicks out some versatile, if not as immediately gripping, music in the process. But this is only a small experiment done with old material, and so Songs from the Underground remains of cursory interest for people outside of the band's fan circle.

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