15 years ago, Linkin Park were gods of the alternative scene. Today, every member of this band should be fucking embarrassed of what they’ve become. I’ve really got no issue with a band changing genres so long as the music remains good and the band care about what they’re releasing, but its impossible not to see One More Light as a shameless attempt to cash in on the success of Twenty One Pilots and other such pop artists.
Let’s start with the good then; despite its lack of decent lyrics or instrumentation I actually find album opener ‘Nobody Can Save Me’ catchy in a good way, and ‘Heavy’ would be a decent song if guest vocalist Kiiara was the sole voice on the track.
Moving on, my main problem with this album ties back to what I said before; this album is cheap and unoriginal. It’s not even that Linkin Park can’t do pop – Living Things’ ‘Lost in the Echo’ and ‘Burn It Down’ showed they have it in them – it’s that they don’t care enough about making unique music to release songs like that anymore. Over half the songs on this album have a slow verse followed by an understated chorus that then transitions into the same chorus but with louder instruments in the background. Some of these are completely boring (‘Invisible’) but most are just outright shit (‘Talking to Myself’).
Another absolute howler is ‘Battle Symphony’. I stopped properly caring about Linkin Park after how bad A Thousand Suns was, but this song makes ‘The Catalyst’ sound like ‘Purple Rain’ by comparison. The melody of the refrain sounds like ‘Now I Know My ABCs’ and the lyrics are fucking laughable (“Battle Symphony // Please just don’t give up on me”). If we’re talking lyrics however, the UK’s very own Grime Jesus Stormzy steals the show on his guest verse on ‘Good Goodbye’ with the beautiful “Mandem we’re linking tings in parks // Now I got a tune with Linkin Park”. I don’t know if this is supposed to be tongue in cheek or if Stormzy is just retarded but the fact Linkin Park kept this on the album shows they either don’t care or are just too deluded to realise that featuring your black mates on a track doesn’t make you cool and edgy. Aside from that lyric, Stormzy’s verse is still not great – although Pusha T’s is much better – and it really makes me question why he was kept on at all given Mike Shinoda’s decent track record with his rap group Fort Minor. I can only imagine this was just another attempt at hopping on the mainstream bandwagon.
Despite this, I actually think the second half of the album is by far the worst. ‘Sorry For Now’ is yet another example of sheer unoriginality, as Chester’s vocals give way to that god-awful baby shriek shit that just about every chart song seems to have these days (you’ll know what I mean when you hear it). ‘Halfway Right’ sounds like something a music teacher would write for the school musical and the title track is so unfathomably boring that I can’t even call it that bad because my brain can’t focus in on any aspect of it enough to make a judgement. Curveball of the album is closer ‘Sharp Edges’ though, which sounds like a Hollister song so terrible that Hollister themselves would refuse to play it in their stores. Chester yelps stupid shit like “Mama always told me don’t you run // Don’t you run with scissors, son // You’re gonna hurt someone” over some super basic jangly Venice Beach style guitars for just under three minutes, ensuring the album ends in the worst possible way.
All in all, this is a poor imitation of a poor era of pop music, made by deluded 40-year-olds with no concept of who they are anymore and no passion for what they do. I thought this album was bad yesterday but I listened to it again today for this review and it is so much worse. Amazingly, this isn’t even the best Linkin Park album this year thanks to Dangerkids’ Hybrid Theory rip off Blacklist, which is boring, devoid of creativity and still twice the album that One More Light is.
In the words of the band themselves, say goodbye and hit the road, Linkin Park. Pack it up and disappear. Good goodbye.
Check: ‘Nobody Can Save Me’, ‘Heavy’. Also check ‘Sharp Edges’ for the sheer bants.