Linkin Park returns with its seventh studio album, ‘One More Light.’ Unfortunately, fans wanting more bite will get more pop instead.
Linkin Park are back – in name only. Returning with their seventh studio album, One More Light, clearly Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda and company aren’t trying to rock as much as they did on The Hunting Party (2014). Taking that a step further, they don’t look to rock nearly as much as any of their past work. So, what is the modus operandi on One More Light? Maturity, reflection, empowerment – grown-folk/adult matters. Yes, Linkin Park has grown up – “for better or for worse.”
“Nobody Can Save Me”
“Nobody Can Save Me” establishes the pop-oriented tone of the album from the onset. From the start, it’s clear Chester Bennington needs a fix, and he is the only proponent of such a fix. “Good Goodbye” brings Stormzy and Pusha T into the mix. First, following the chorus delivered by Bennington, Mike Shinoda steps to the mic, making his first appearance of the album. Given the appearance of rappers, “Good Goodbye” embraces a more hip-hop oriented sound, contrasting the opener. Pusha T takes the second verse, delivering fire as always. Stormzy handles rhyming duties on the third verse.
“Talking to Myself” once more has pop elements, but does incorporate rock, specifically on the chorus. Bennington doesn’t reveal much with his self-conversation, much like the song itself. “Battle Symphony” is about showing incredible resolve, despite adversity. Bennington reflects on his deficiencies. By the chorus, he’s determined he’ll overcome everything that’s holding him back. It’s merely okay at best.
“Invisible” tackles parenting! There are lots of angles to examine “Invisible” from. The band deserves some credit for their maturity, yet, this doesn’t sound like the Linkin Park fans are accustomed to. It does feature a catchy chorus at least.
Promo single “Heavy,” featuring up-and-coming artist Kiiara, arrives as the sixth track on One More Light. Ultimately, it plays better in the context of the album compared to its run as a single. Still, this is a big pop single as opposed to alt-rock or metal. As he does throughout the course of the album, Bennington holds back as opposed to pushing. Give Linkin Park credit for the poetic lyrics and heavy subject matter. The song itself may lack a big, anthemic quality, but it at least tackles weight. As for Kiiara, she’s much more respectable here compared to her own singles, namely “Gold.”
“Sorry for Now”
Mike Shinoda handles the vocal reins on “Sorry for Now.” Once more, the focus is on parenting. The production work is slick, employing the full bag of tricks. On “Halfway Right,” Bennington is in full-on reflective mode. Ultimately, the record is all about internal struggles. Still, “Halfway Right” is no gem.
“One More Light” comres off morbid. There’s no angst, but the song is by far the saddest of the album. Reflective, the big rub is the lack of development. One More Light concludes successfully with “Sharp Edges,” which has more bite, but still doesn’t sizzle.
Ultimately, One More Light is a flawed effort. Linkin Park shouldn’t be bullied because they don’t plan on making another Hybrid Theory, but still, it’s clear Bennington and company need a reboot – a refresh. One More Light isn’t it.
Gems: “Good Goodbye,” “Heavy” & “Sorry for Now”
Linkin Park • One More Light • Warner Bros. • Release: 5.19.17
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.