Release Date: May 19, 2017
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Post-Grunge, Rap-Rock
The sin of pop. In reviewing One More Light, I feel like a public defender who is assigned to someone too poor and obviously guilty to assemble their own legal team. Alas, since nobody else has the courage to speak up amidst the mutiny that has risen in opposition to Linkin Park's full throttle pop expedition, I stand alone. I'm not asking you to embrace One More Light with me, though, so much as understand it.
There's not an ounce of nu metal in sight. Linkin Park don't give a fuck what you, us or anyone else thinks of this, their seventh album in close to 20 years. Why should they? Since providing the soundtrack to a generation and an era in 2000's 'Hybrid Theory', the Californian six-piece have had nothing to prove; but even considering their subsequent string of curveballs, 'One More Light' is bold.
One More Light, Linkin Park's seventh set, is a divisive and brazen statement from a band that already does not shy away from fearless experimental leaps. From the rap focus on Collision Course and the Fort Minor side project to the electronic A Thousand Suns and their remix albums, Linkin Park have balanced an empire built upon pain and angst with an admirable dose of cross-genre dabbling. Which is why One More Light shouldn't come as such a surprise.
The version of Linkin Park heard on One More Light, the band's seventh album, is entirely unrecognizable. After a 10-year journey that began with collaborating with Rick Rubin for 2007's Minutes to Midnight, the band no longer resembles the nu-metal/rap hybrid who helped define a chunk of the early ’00s in any form. The band flirted with EDM and pop before, notably on 2010's A Thousand Suns, but the sugary hooks, booming synths, and vaguely inspirational lyrics mark a drastic reinvention for a band who, even at their nadir, always retained their identity.
Since their debut album Hybrid Theory turned them into overnight superstars, Linkin Park have bounced from style to style like a pissed tramp staggering between park bins. They love guitars! They hate guitars! They think they're Depeche Mode! They've made an album of Ukranian arse flute music! One More Light is their latest career flip-flop: a gleaming, featherweight 21st-century pop album. They've stripped away the guitars to the point where only trace elements remain.
Linkin Park have always leapt between genres throughout their 17-year career, and on electro-rap albums like 2010's 'A Thousand Suns' their sound drifted far from the classic nu-metal of 2000 debut 'Hybrid Theory'. It's worked for them so far, but everyone's luck runs out. From opening track 'Nobody Can Save Me' onwards, Linkin Park are unrecognisable on 'One More Light', and Chester Bennington's cloying vocals grate.