This is my first album review and what better could it be. Linkin Park (my childhood heroes) dropped their 7th studio album titled “One More Light” yesterday, and in one sentence: it’s a brilliant piece of art. But before I come to that, we’ll talk about Linkin Park and their genre-departure album to album.
They’ve done it all: nu-metal, rap-rock, alt-rock, alt-metal, electronic and pop-rock. Let’s face it: the angry sounding Linkin Park is gone. The heavy hard nu-metal is gone. The sooner people realize this, the better it is because LP doesn’t give a french toast about that. As Mike Shinoda once stated in an interview, “It needed to be visceral. We’re not 18-year-old kids making a loud record – we’re 37-year-old adults making a loud record. And what makes a 37-year-old angry is different than what made us angry back in the day.” they have evolved. Some fans who say that they want the old Linkin Park back are not the real fans. Rather than appreciating the shift in their musical sense, style and personality, they just complain that they want the band as it was in 2001. Ill break it down for you guys. The difference between that Linkin Park and today’s LP: they are rich, can afford to self-produce an album and do whatever the shiznit they want to because it will sell. They made what we wanted, we made them rich and now they do what they want to do.
One More Light according to me is probably the band’s oldest material and it sounds like what Mike has always wanted to release. This album is bold in the way, that they are absolutely not looking for radio-play or starring in charts (unlike “sell-out” music these days), but they just wanted to get their real genre into the world. Right after their first single “Heavy” was released, they faced a lot of flak for making music similar to The Chainsmokers, but Shinoda addressed this issue (to Billboard) in the most “renegade” way possible: “One of the reasons why we chose ‘Heavy’ as the first single is because it is really the core sound of the album. This wasn’t a scenario where the whole album sounds one way and the single sounds different. This is how the album sounds. So we wanted to go out with a song like that, where everybody can get a sense of the direction of this body of work.” They won’t make music how we want. This is the principle that sets LP apart from all the other artists around these days.
That brings us to the singles. The band released four promotional singles and each of these songs are not only different than the rest, but are so musically and lyrically different from any of their past songs that LP has threw on us. LP this time has collaborated with some new kids in the block unlike the past when they made songs with industry giants like JayZ, Busta Rhymes, Page Hamilton, Tom Morello and Steve Aoki. This time they’ve kept it subtle and included new talent like Kiara for “Heavy” and new-age rappers Pusha T and Stormzy for “Good Goodbye“. While Heavy is a smooth rock ballad dealing with probably an ex-partner who you can’t let go off, Good Goodbye is about leaving a place or an emotional state you never want to come back to.
But my personal favorite song in this group is the second single “Battle Symphony” released on March 16. This one is structured as an electronic pop-rock song with a beautiful tune but with a hard twist: it’s in a major chord. That’s something we have never seen in the entire 17-year-old Linkin Park discography but, that doesn’t really matter. The mind-blowing lyrics and exquisite vocals by Chester Bennington proved that this guy is capable of everything: be it growling, screaming or delivering ravishing clean melodies like in this one. the studio version sounds like an entire mixture of keyboard, Launchpad and programmed drum kits, the live version sounded a little different with Brad Delson (the lead guitarist) and Chester trying to put some distortion in the chorus. Nevertheless, a magnificent song with the feel-good factor that I last had with The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars! Another personal favorite of mine: “Sorry for Now” is a thoroughly thought arrangement with amazing lyrics and irresistible guitars! I relate to these lyrics more than anyone else, and that’s why I absolutely love it. Here it is:
And I’ll be sorry for now that I couldn’t be around
Sometimes things refuse to go the way we planned
Oh I’ll be sorry for now, that I couldn’t be around
There will be a day that you will understand!
As surprising as this album is, the songs “Invisible” and the title track “One More Light” took me aback like nothing else. Invisible is one of the few songs with Mike singing the lyrics in its entirety. The last time that happened was in the album MTM. This fast tempo song has elements of electro-soft-rock, looped piano samples and a normal four/four drum beat with no real bass guitar (except for the looped electronic one). One More Light is musically similar to their older song The Messenger (it is without any drums) and is beautifully put amidst a soothing solo by Brad (a real rarity). It is an emotional song about losing a close friend and how every life matters in the sea of millions. They performed One More Light at Jimmy Kimmel Live and Chester dedicated it for his late friend Chris Cornell. It was so apt and emotionally charged, that Chester broke down in the end barely completing the song. It was so beautiful, that I too probably shed a tear or two with those harmonies put right on point by the singing duo.
The only disappointment that I felt was with the opening song of the record: “Nobody Can Save Me“. Seeing songs like Papercut, The Requiem and Lost in the Echo, I can certify that Linkin Park knows how to open an album. But this one, with music very similar to Battle Symphony and something from Owl City, could have been better.
Other songs from the record “Talking To Myself“, “Halfway Right” and “Sharp Edges” are avant-garde and pieces of innovative groundbreaking pieces of art.
Final Stance: I give the record a 9.5/10. Even though I think the drummer and the bassy took a sabbatical during the production, the producers, writers and especially the vocalist have done an insane job. They could’ve put more rap, or some growls here and there for a genuinely complete Linkin Park record. But overall, the album is definitely worth the wait.
Make sure you give it a listen.
Until next time.
Featured image is owned by http://abcnews.go.com.