Love them or hate them, Linkin Park changed the face of music back in 2000, with the release of the ground-breaking Hybrid Theory rock music became a big deal again, the record went on to sell millions of copies and to this day is one of the highest selling albums of all time, whilst being a gateway album for many people to discover heavy music. The follow up, Meteora, was also a great album stacked full of hits. It’s been slim pickings since then sadly, however 2014’s The Hunting Party seemed like a step in the right direction to getting somewhere close to past glories.
One More Light, marks the moment where we (rock fans) have to admit that Linkin Park are no longer a rock band. If making pop music is what they want to do, then so be it. But that’s not where the problem with this album lies, it is simply a collection of dull, bland faceless songs which do little to nothing to catch the imagination. As a fan of heavier music, it is often easy to be somewhat snobby towards pop music, and although it isn’t necessarily something I would listen to, I can appreciate when it is done well. Linkin Park here on this album, do not do it well, not even slightly. I would go as far as to say this album does not have a single redeeming moment in the entirety of its thirty-five-minute run time.
The minimal approach that plagues this album means there are passages that are surplus to requirements and leave you wondering what exactly you are listening to, the structuring of the songs is both basic and nonsensical in tandem. Linkin Park are blessed with one of the most recognisable vocalist of recent years, Chester Bennington has a truly unique voice. Which, when used correctly can complement a track no end. In Mike Shinoda, they also have a very talented song writer, pianist/keyboardist and rapper. But both men seem to have recorded this album whilst half asleep, Chester sounds uninterested, whilst Shinoda’s raps have little to no impact at all. Real sounding Bass, drums and guitars are null and void on this record, so one can only presume Brad Delson, Rob Bourdon and Dave Farrell sat twiddling their thumbs as this album was being made.
Sorry for Now is a perfect summarisation of One More Light, the track includes just about every cliché of unimaginative modern day pop music, including that strange squeaky voice that is in just about every song in the charts right now, (see Fall Out Boy’s Young and Menace). Sharp Edges on the other hand sounds like a throwaway B-Side that Ed Sheeran wrote in ten minutes to satisfy a record labels demands.
Time will tell whether this album does well in a mainstream scenario, the band have reached the size where they can get by on name alone, and One More Light will most likely sell many copies, but one listen should make people realise that this is an unbearably bad offering from a band who can do some much better. It seems like a bit of a kick in the teeth for long-time fans of the band who, with every album released are being pushed ‘one step closer’ to disowning Linkin Park forever.