With their 2014 album, ‘The Hunting Party’, Linkin Park promised a return to the rap-rock sound that made them a multi-million-selling band they became with ‘Hybrid Theory’. Three years later, the band are singing a very much different tune.
First of all, there are the much-publicised comments of vocalist Chester Bennington telling fans to “move the fuck on” from their 2000 debut. Then there’s ‘One More Light’, Linkin Park’s seventh studio outing. While they have always been a band to experiment with dance, hip-hop and electro elements, ‘One More Light’ is a step too far with disastrous results.
It’s a painful 35 minutes with the only highlight coming in the form of the admirable-yet-blatantly breezy pop lead single, ‘Heavy’, which sees Bennington share vocal duties with Kiiara. A short, well-crafted song that puts both singers in a strong light with an addictive hook. Unfortunately, the remainder of the record is a stomach-turning, dull set of songs that scream of desperation to be relevant.
With ‘One More Light’, Linkin Park have taken any redeeming quality they had and flushed it down the toilet. Even Bennington’s reliable vocals suffer. His smooth, often impressive, voice sounds soulless throughout, most notably on ‘Talking To Myself’, ‘Battle Symphony’ and ‘Nobody Can Save Me’.
The title track is the lowest point. Its painfully slow tempo completely fails in its attempt at being a powerful ballad of redemption. ‘Sorry For Now’ is a close second with its tropical drums, twisting chipmunk-esque effects and Bennington’s god awful mid-eighth “rap”. ‘Invisible’ is just that; forgettable and unnoticeable. Twinking acoustics on ‘Sharp Edges’ thankfully brings the album to a close. Part ‘Wake Me Up’ (Avicii), part Mumford & Sons, it’s a sickly conclusion.
I’m all for bands expanding and evolving their sound, but blatantly abandoning what you represented is offensive to fans. Linkin Park wanted to challenge fans with ‘One More Light’. Yet the only thing they are challenging is their patience.
‘One More Light’ by Linkin Park is out now on Warner Bros. / Machine Shop.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)