Linkin Park have always been much more than a nu-metal band fuelled by teenage angst.
Label: Warner Bros
Released: 19th May 2017
Leave your expectations at the door. We know Linkin Park have gone pop with ‘One More Light’ but there’s really no need to brace yourself. The usual trappings of a move like this are nowhere to be found. Yes, the record snaps, crackles and pops but there’s so much more to it than a new sound.
From the bubbly and buoyant album opener, ‘Nobody Can Save Me’, Linkin Park get straight to the point. Album number seven sees them as confused and frustrated as ever, still beating themselves up over things out of their control, but there’s acceptance to it. Across the record, Linkin Park are bright with the realisation that the world isn’t going to change, so maybe they need to.
It’s a new outlook on an old enemy. ‘Battle Symphony’ is a heads held high refusal to give in, ‘Heavy’ is sage in its simplicity and ‘Good Goodbye’ allows the band to indulge in some rare self-celebration. Mike’s, “I’ve been here killing it longer than you’ve been alive, you idiot,” a grinning sideswipe at everyone telling him what his band should be doing.
And he’s got a point. There’s not a moment of ‘One More Light’ that feels forced. At no point do Linkin Park feel like they don’t belong or they’ve overstepped their reach. There’s authenticity to every glimmering rise, a reason behind every decision. Excitement is king throughout.
There’s no token heavy song, pandering to a certain group or a softening of the jubilant blows this time around. Linkin Park know this record is going to cause division and they let it go. It’s wickedly smart and quietly confident. Seventeen years after their debut, the band have redefined themselves and have done so with honesty and class. And as different as it is, there are familiar patterns in the new colours.
‘Talking To Myself’ wrestles with the idea of escape, ‘Invisible’ blends the ominous with the hopeful and ‘Halfway Right’ sees the band taking a moment to reflect on the reckless. It gives the closing one-two an amplified gravity. The album’s title track is caring, giving Linkin Park’s age-old community a direct connection before ‘Sharp Edges’ comes fizzing with the realisation that the journey is more important than the destination. The pain matters. This band have made a history on hurtling forward but ‘One More Light’ is calm, collected and toys with the space this gifts them. It’s a record that needed to be made.
There’s a newfound energy and an overwhelming vibrancy to the whole glittering affair. At times it’s surprising, throughout it’s entertaining and what’s more, it somehow still feels like Linkin Park. This is the band who have built their entire musical image on conflict, contrast and then somehow marrying those two opposing ideas. The expectations have altered, and the rules have changed, of course, Linkin Park were going to shape shift accordingly.
They’ve always been much more than a nu-metal band fuelled by teenage angst. They’ve never come close to being a parody, instead following the paths of undiscovered and enjoyable. ‘One More Light’ is just the next step. Love it or hate it, that’s not really the point. It’s never boring, and that’s what drives them forward. Ali Shutler