James Totton - Album Review
This is a terrible pop album. I can’t even consider it a rock album. Linkin Park sunk a new low whether it was done intentionally or not with their latest album, One More Light.
Linkin Park is a band once known for their nu-metal music fused with hip-hop. Their first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, were on repeat for me as a teenager. I listened to them religiously in my Sony CD player going to and from school on the bus. Make no mistake that they have changed their sound on every album. A Thousand Suns was their most experimental yet probably unappreciated album while Living Things was an album filled with glitchy breaks. Even though I may have not liked their last four albums prior to One More Light the same way I did with their first two, at the very least I respected that they were willing to challenge themselves at a time when nu-metal music in the mainstream scene was and is still considered obscure today.
It’s like everything that many Linkin Park fans hate about bland EDM flavored pop music (like drops that weren’t earned, mediocre lyrics, unnecessary chipmunk vocals, saturated reverb, and heavy percussion over melody) surfaced on this album. The band making pop music is not the problem, it’s that is a bland pop album devoid of lyrics that go beneath the surface or lyrics like on ‘Battle Symphony’ or ‘Invisible’ or that are either cliché or overused like on ‘Sharp Edges’ or ‘Talking To Myself’. Chester Bennington’s frail voice doesn’t flatter the already bland soundscape created (specifically on ‘Heavy’ and ‘Nobody Can Save Me’) whereas it was more of a complement when their previous music had more edge and texture. This is probably the only album where he doesn’t scream on any of the tracks. On ‘Halfway Right’ he even says that he is on the verge of screaming but he doesn’t do it. It wouldn’t have been an issue if he would have screamed at that moment. It’s not that big of a compromise.
One aspect of the album that I can say was alright was the message in ‘Sorry For Now’ where Mike Shinoda is talking to his kids about how much his absence from their daily life due to constant touring affects them and him. I just wish the writing was more detailed on that and on the other Mike assisted track ‘Invisible’ where he is disciplining his kids, as teenagers, because he cares. But the thought of doing that scares him because they might not see him as that friendly father that they could go to for anything. Also, the lyrics from Mike, Pusha T and Stormzy on ‘Good Goodbye’ are tolerable.
At least on The Hunting Party delivered a dynamic collective of tracks (not to mention that they even reintroduced the soundscape that Hybrid Theory fans enjoyed sixteen years ago). We just receive one formulaic tracks after another. I can only recommend this to Linkin Park fans that are curious as to what direction they are going in their music but I would argue that they may end up disappointed like I was.
Rating: Decent to Strong 4 out of 10