Linkin Park

One More Light

Written by: PP on 06/09/2017 22:50:49

Linkin Park released their seventh and what might be their final album, "One More Light", in May this year. Panned by critics and fans alike, the record took most by surprise given its radical departure from a mainstream rock platform into the realm of electronics and pop with little, if any, relevance to the band's original fans. Bottled at Hellfest and surrounded by a stream of negativity online, the months following its release certainly weren't easy for the band. But virtually no-one saw it coming: singer Chester Bennington tragically committed suicide in July after a lengthy struggle with depression and loneliness.

What's even more tragic is that maybe we should've seen it coming. "One More Light" is essentially song after song of cries for help. When they were originally released, little did we know that songs like "Nobody Can Save Me" and title track "One More Light" had such literal meaning. The latter in particular is a painful post-mortem listen given its soothing lyrics of "Who cares if one more light goes out...well I do", but the album as a whole is surrounded by suicidal thematics and cries for help that simply weren't heard.

But putting that aside for a moment, how is "One More Light" as a record? It's obviously a shock for any previous Linkin Park fans given its head first dive into the realm of pop: "Good Goodbye" features hip hop cameos by Pusha T and Stormzy that sound like something you wouldn't be surprised to hear in a R'n'B club: samples and the whole lot with a pop chorus. There's no denying it's a decent mainstream pop song but it's not exactly something a rock fan is likely to put on.

That said, if you're looking for a little more depth, songs like "Battle Symphony" offer just that with a more grandiose and dramatic soundscape, albeit still a far cry from rock music. Similarly, "Invisible" feels introspective and contemplative thanks to its softly sung verses and minimalistic electronics. Yes, it's still pop music, but compare it to the likes of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift and all of a sudden you can use terms like depth-laden and complex to describe the melodies.

So in that sense "One More Light" is a fairly good pop record aimed at those who find regular pop music too shallow and manufactured to digest. There's some real effort here to transcend genres and to avoid formulaic songwriting - even during the more simplistic parts of the album. But from a rock fan's perspective, we gotta be honest: there's just no way "Heavy" (featuring Kiiara) would be next in queue after a couple of Foo Fighters and Motörhead songs. To completely disregard the scratchy vocals, metallic guitars, and the DJ scratch effects in favour of this understandably draws a critical reaction from the band's fans. After all, pop isn't what we're after when we're checking out a new Linkin Park record. Alas, the rating reflects the sell-out vibe arising by them fully ignoring their rock heritage, but also the fact that for a pop album, it is surprisingly enjoyable.

Download: Halfway Right, Good Goodbye, Battle Symphony, Invisible
For the fans of: Coldplay, Band Of Horses
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.05.2017
Warner Bros

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