When Linkin Park came back with their first new single “Heavy” featuring young songstress Kiiara, everyone was shocked. The band did a complete U-Turn and changed up their style: instead of heavy guitars, the new track was a pure pop song. Since then every promo single release off their upcoming album One More Light was accompanied by a heated discussion by fans who love the new style vs. fans who feel like their favorite band has betrayed them. Linkin Park themselves repeatedly stressed in interviews that One More Light is a deeply emotional record which isn’t intended to fit into a box.
Tomorrow is the big day: One More Light will finally be released! It has ten tracks of which five have already been released as singles or promo singles:
01. Nobody Can Save Me
02. Good Goodbye – 2nd single
03. Talking to Myself
04. Battle Symphony – Promo single
05. Invisible – Promo single
06. Heavy – 1st single
07. Sorry for Now – Promo single
08. Halfway Right
09. One More Light
10. Sharp Edges
In case you’re wondering if the criticism is true, that Linkin Park have made a pop album, let me tell you this: yes, it’s true. One More Light is pure pop music. “Heavy” was a great first single as it represents the style of the whole album. Still, we aren’t listening to the selling out of Linkin Park, but to the evolution of Linkin Park. Why? Let me explain:
Rock music has this weird self-conception that it is the one true authentic genre of music: real people need real skills to play real instruments while the vocals are live and raw. Pop music on the other hand is said to be fabricated, fake, dishonest and written in 5 minutes by song writers who vomit one track after the other onto fake singer’s albums. When has the rock world become so arrogant? Music is a form of art that changes with the people who create it. Just because someone picked up a guitar at some point in their life, it doesn’t mean they’ll play it for the rest of their lives. What matters is that the musical piece has a heart and soul.
And this is where we come back to Linkin Park’s One More Light. This album has so much heart and soul it’s almost pumping blood on its own. “Nobody Can Save Me” opens the record with a mellow beat to which Chester Bennington sings the lyrics:
“I wanna fall wide awake now/You tell me it’s alright/Tell me I’m forgiven, tonight/But nobody can save me now/I’m holding up a light/I’m chasing up the darkness inside/’Cause nobody can save me. “
This song sets the tone of the whole album: the lyrics are extremely emotional, often depressing. Similarly to “Battle Symphony”, the sound is poppy – a mid-tempo song with some electro elements and an R&B vibe. Musically they remind me of their track “Final Masquerade”.
The next two tracks are quite different to the rest of the album. While “Good Goodbye” is a hip hop firecracker featuring Pusha T. and Stromzy, “Talking To Myself” is the only song on One More Light which has some sort of rock vibe. Chester’s vocals are more aggressive on the dynamic track than on the other songs. Listening to the song makes me wanna see it performed live. Lets hope they’ll add it to the set list.
The songs “Sorry For Now” and “Invisible” feature the strongest vocal performances of Mike Shinoda since the ground breaking bonus track “No Roads Left” off Minutes To Midnight. Musically they are similar to “Nobody Can Safe Me”. Same goes for “Halfway Right”. This is pretty much the only negative point I have about the record: some of the songs just sound too similar. They are beautiful on their own, but when listening to the whole album front to back, a little more variety would have been nice.
The last two tracks on One More Light are ironically its highlights. “One More Light” is a very minimalistic and raw ballad. The stripped down instruments work so well with Chester’s vocals and the stunning lyrics:
“Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?/Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?/We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep/There are things that we can have, but can’t keep”.
The chorus then completely breaks our heart:
“If they say/Who cares if one more light goes out?/In a sky of a million stars/It flickers, flickers/Who cares when someone’s time runs out?/If a moment is all we are/We’re quicker, quicker/Who cares if one more light goes out?/Well I do”
The song was inspired by the passing of a friend and it seems sadly fitting today, when the news of Chris Cornell’s suicide have shocked us all.
If “One More Light” breaks our heart into a million pieces, “Sharp Edges” manages to pick up the pieces and put them together again. The song has a summery folk vibe, kind of similar to Vance Joy. The acoustic guitars make us wanna dance in a summery rain shower while clapping along to the song. A great last track of a record that is such an emotional ride!
In summary, One More Light is not for everyone. It’s definitely not for the “old Linkin Park” fans that are waiting for another Hybrid Theory. But that’s not the intention of this album. Linkin Park know rock music by heart, they have shown us their repertoire on the past six records. Now it’s time to play around a bit, branch out and just try some new shit. Hell, this album has 10 tracks. It is just one little piece of the jigsaw that is Linkin Park. The next record will be different again and the next one, and so forth. Why not dive in with them? If you don’t, you’re missing out, cause while the song writing might look simple on the first glance, there are deep emotions at play with the most personal lyrics on a Linkin Park record.
One More Light is available for purchase HERE and at every known streaming service on May 19.