After a long-spanning career at the top of rock music, Linkin Park have chosen a new direction for their new album. Turning away from 2014’s fantastic The Hunting Party, they have embraced a poppier sound, which was met with divided views from fans and critics alike. I have been a fan of everything Linkin Park have created so far, even 2010’s polarising A Thousand Suns, so I still held out hope for this album. But has it been a change too far?
The album actually starts pretty well, as ‘Nobody Can Save Me’. The song lacks the intensity of the last album, but this new style suits singer Chester Bennington’s voice. ‘Good Goodbye’ is also a great song, with an excellent verse from Mike Shinoda, along with featured artists Pusha T and UK grime superstar Stormzy. It’s nice to hear Shinoda’s voice, as it is actually something of a rarity on this album. A nice bit of subtle guitar opens up third track ‘Talking To Myself’, and it continues to be a really pleasant listen. This is followed by ‘Battle Symphony’, one of the strongest songs on the album. A few years ago I would have hated Linkin Park using so many synth sounds on a song, but I love it now. I can imagine this song being a massive singalong on their upcoming tour. First single ‘Heavy’ sounds a lot better than when I first listened to it, proving that opinions shouldn’t be formed on the first listen. Guest vocals from pop singer Kiiara are also greatly appreciated. The title song is another highlight, a slow song that shows the sheer number of styles the band are capable of. But they’re not done there – they close with at least the second bet song on the album, ‘Sharp Edges’. It takes the style of the album, and adds an almost country feel to it. This sounds weird, I’m aware, but it really does work!
In conclusion, One More Light is a large step out for Linkin Park. It shows a well-established rock band stepping into the pop world. And where other bands have failed, they succeed. This album is a success – of course it’s not the Linkin Park we’re used to hearing, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The genre of the music doesn’t matter, it’s the execution of the music itself. And they pull it off extremely well. This album is a triumph for Linkin Park, and a must listen for fans of pop or rock music.
Best Song: Sharp Edges