So three years after The Hunting Party, Linkin Park have released their new album called One More Light, released via Warner Bros Records and Machine Shop Records. Machine Shop Records is a label that was formed by Linkin Park members Brad Delson and Mike Shinoda and is under the parent company Warner Bros.
The band produced the new record themselves, but mainly headed by Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson, who both helped produce previous albums from Linkin Park and Cypress Hill’s 2010 album called Rise Up. Linkin Park have always changed their sound with each new album and One More Light is no exception.
With this latest album, Linkin Park is entering into the pop territory and using more electronic sounds rather than straight out guitars, it appears they’ve headed more toward an Owl City and Coldplay style of pop. It’s a big change for Linkin Park and in parts of the album, it pays off, but it doesn’t really take any risks and plays it safe for the most part.
The album starts off with “Nobody Can Save Me” with a simple synth intro, Chester Bennington vocals, and with a simple kick drum, and clicks in the background, it really isn’t anything special.
When the guitars kicks in on the second verse however, the track comes alive and becomes a solid opening with Chester Bennington chorus line “You tell me it’s alright, Tell me I’m forgiven, tonight, But nobody can save me now” making it more meaningful and surprisingly enjoyable.
This leads to “Good Goodbye” with the Chester Bennington vocal line, “So say goodbye and hit the road, Pack it up and disappear, You better have some place to go, ‘Cause you can’t come back around here, Good goodbye” taking centre stage, backed by synth arrangements in the background.
As well as Chester’s vocals, Mike Shinoda, Pusha T and Stormzy all rap in this song and it works well. Even if the structure repeats itself and get a little boring at times, the simple layout of the music works in the track’s favor and helps the rapping stand out more.
With the third track “Talking To Myself“, we get another synth melody that progresses into a straight out driven guitar lead, which is pretty good but nothing special. There is a back and forth format throughout this song. Overall it isn’t a bad track and the line “Talking to myself” sang in the chorus will get stuck in your head.
The same can be said for “Battle Symphony“, it has a simple structure with more guitar arrangements, but still isn’t used enough in my opinion. However, chorus line “I hear my battle symphony, All the world in front of me” works well and is another catchy line sure to get stuck in your head.
“Invisible” starts off with nice simple synths and just a kick drum keeping the beat, with Mike singing throughout. This doesn’t change until the chorus that repeats ‘Invisible’. The track has a nice calming feel to it overall but nothing exciting.
“Heavy“, which features guest vocals Kiiara, doesn’t break any new ground in the album, despite it being the first single from the album. Chester and Kiiara’s vocals work really well together and are most notable in the last chorus where their harmonies sound really good.
The next two tracks stay very much within the new pop territory with “Sorry For Now” using a simple synth line with vocals again. It also includes a pitch vocal in the breakdown that doesn’t really fit, feeling out of place which throws you off a little.
“Halfway Right” has a similar layout in tone and sound to “Battle Symphony”, with some nice piano work thrown in there. Unfortunately it’s not a very memorable track, but the album does finish on a high.
“One More Light” is a nice calming track that is totally synth and picked guitar driven, the slow pace of the track leaves you feeling relaxed. The album ends with “Sharp Edges“, which is an Ed Sheeran style acoustic track that has a pleasing melody, which works with Chester’s vocals.
To sum up, One More Light is certainly not the greatest Linkin Park album, in fact I would go as far to say it is their weakest album to date with no single track really standing out among the rest. They seem to be playing it safe with both the structure and instrumentation but it does have its moments, and for a pop album, it’s certainly not the worst album out there. “Nobody Can Save Me”, “Good Goodbye” and “Sharp Edges” are among the best in the bunch.
Purchase Linkin Park’s One More Light on iTunes here.
Words by Stuart Irvine