Linkin Park
One More Light


3.7
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
May 26th, 2017 | 707 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sin of pop.

In reviewing One More Light, I feel like a public defender who is assigned to someone too guilty to assemble his or her 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. Because with the level of flat out hatred being shown towards the band right now, you’d think they had just murdered an entire litter of puppies and then gone on tour to support Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. This album isn’t the worst thing in the world – in fact it is quite a bit better than the material they’ve been peddling over the course of the last several years.

Let’s get one thing straight first: Linkin Park is – and has always been – a pop band. I know the thirteen year old in all of us is screaming in adamant disbelief at that statement, including the teenager in me, but it’s true. Everything about Hybrid Theory and Meteora was designed to trick you into thinking you were listening to metal, but in reality those earworm melodies were the mainstay infrastructure holding it all together. They were tailor made to sell, and we ate that shit up like the naïve, hurt little bastards we were. And that’s okay, because all music has a target audience. That’s where I fail to understand the backlash against a group of now 40-something year old musicians who have created everything from nu-metal/rap-rock to elaborately symphonic, pop-rock concept albums – and everything in between. I’m guessing (and based on the painfully forced sound of Livings Things, less guessing and more knowingly asserting) that at this point in Bennington’s and Shinoda’s lives, it just no longer makes sense to wail on about betrayal, breakups, and general teen angst. Even though it’s what we all want from them, that’s not really Linkin Park’s problem.

There’s something about hearing a band you grew up with change that blinds you to the qualities of their new music. It’s human nature to relate to music, and to want to have the same level of connection with all subsequent releases from an artist or album that at one point made you feel something in a strong way. In the case of Linkin Park, it all started with Minutes to Midnight, which was borderline career suicide when it was released. ‘Shadow of the Day’ sounded like Bennington ripped out Bono’s vocal chords, and Shinoda was basically an afterthought over the course of the entire record. Even though time has been good to that album (perhaps just because their career since then has been a dumpster fire), I still believe One More Light poses less of a departure than Minutes to Midnight did in its time. There’s nothing about A Thousand Suns or especially Living Things that suggested Linkin Park was on anything other than a collision course with a straight-up pop record. To pretend that the band hasn’t been peddling this exact brand of pop ever since they unceremoniously divorced their nu-metal fan base feels conveniently ignorant, especially with tracks like ‘Leave Out All the Rest’, ‘Iridescent’, and ‘Castle of Glass’ staring us in the face. You’re free to enjoy these newer songs less, but the signs that this was on its way have been there for almost a decade. One More Light merely drops the pretenses of feigning a heavier sound (like the grating ‘Victimized’, or all of The Hunting Party) and embraces LP’s melodic demeanor without making excuses.

With all of that said, One More Light is pretty much a ten song collection of all-out pop melodies that, had they been spread across the next three or four albums as token ballads, would probably have been warmly received. The fact that they’re jumbled together within the same roughly forty minute experience is most likely what eats away at fans, who are so beside themselves with the idea of a soft, radio-pop version of Linkin Park that they forgot to actually listen to the record without a negative predisposition. Anyone who approaches One More Light without being determined to despise it in advance will find some of the group’s strongest hooks to date, from the irresistible chorus of ‘Good Goodbye’ to the beautifully integrated guest vocals of Kiiara on ‘Heavy.’ The lyrics on ‘Halfway Right’ do justice to those looking for depth behind an obviously shallow mask, and ‘Sharp Edges’ does just enough differently to offer a glimmer of hope that – perhaps – Linkin Park can continue branching out and growing within the pop sphere. I’m not going to defend the album’s lack of appropriate instrumentation, or its basic posturing. However, that sort of comes with the whole pop interface that the band has now accepted as its fate.

As I said before, I’m not asking you to take something important away from this album, to have some sort of cathartic realization, or to respect and admire the musicianship that went into this album’s creation. The goals of pop forego the standards typically sought in most musical genres – the focus is generally on the melodies, hooks, and lyrics…basically how much you enjoy the damn thing. In a sense, that makes pop just as easy to love or hate – with little wiggle room in between – depending on your taste. All I’m asking is that you give this record a fair and unbiased listen in the same way you would approach an Ariana Grande or Harry Styles record. It may be sad for many listeners to have to stoop to that level of expectation, which is fair, but the time has come to accept that this is what Linkin Park is at this point in their career – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a pop record for what it is. One More Light sees the band embracing its melodic core , and offering no apologies as they expound upon it.



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user ratings (927)
1.8
poor
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
May 26th 2017


32422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Only did this out of popular demand. I typed the whole thing up in 30 minutes rant-style, so forgive the general shittiness of the review itself. Album isn't the best thing ever but there's definitely an over-sensationalized hatred towards this thing born double fold from disappointed fans and a hatred/lack of acceptance for pop music.



Enjoy, and have fun not being able to neg this monstrosity.

Digging: Jimmy Eat World - Surviving

DivergentThinking
May 26th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh shit, someone's playing devil's avocado over here



Honestly, I never really liked Linkin Park much from the beginning, so I'm completely indifferent to all the hatred surrounding this album. I just see it as another Linkin Park record and that's about it, lol

Corney
May 26th 2017


188 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I'm going to listen to this thing right now. I popping my Linkin Park cherry. I heard the two singles which blew hard. Well written review.

EvoHavok
May 26th 2017


7701 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Cool read nonetheless, Sowing. I obviously don't agree on certain views, but I guess it's good to have a positive outlook on this that doesn't come from some random fanboy/girl.

Digging: Lacuna Coil - Black Anima

TVC15
May 26th 2017


10232 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

oh shit

Digging: Lycia - A Day in the Stark Corner

Masochist
May 26th 2017


8889 Comments


Similar Bands: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Twenty One Pilots

Corney
May 26th 2017


188 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I am not a Linkin Park fan but I think fans are more mad at this album because it is terrible. This is just lazy pop music. Halfway right is the only halfway (pun) tolerable song on here. Somewhat catchy hook.

AsleepInTheBack
May 26th 2017


6006 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"in fact it is quite a bit better than the material they’ve been peddling over the course of the last several years"



Error, does not compute

letsgofishing
May 26th 2017


1424 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

My God Sowing. Not only is it hilarious that you actually like this album, but you're kind of a hero for so stalwartly defending it.



And you know what, I'll give it to you, Nobody Can Save Me is a pretty decent song.



And then



"If my armor breaks

I’ll fuse it back together."



Gulp.



"If I cannot break your fall

I'll pick you up right off the ground

If you felt invisible, I won't let you feel that now."



Oh, Jesus Christ.



"We all fall down

We live somehow

We learn what doesn't kill us makes us stronger"



No. No. No. it's the worst Avici song of all time. MAKE IT STOP. MAKE IT STOP. MAKE IT STOP. MAKE IT STOP.



So, yeah, that's kind of my abbreviated experience of this particularly horrendous album. I mean, yes Linkin Park has always been a pop band. I don't know if they've ever been a great pop band. But this is the dullest, most insipid, most ambitionless, least visionary pop of Linkin Park's long and rocky career.





To sum it all up: What the hell is wrong with your ears? And good on you.

Ikarus14
May 26th 2017


1363 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Can't say I agree, but hey, kudos again for sticking to your points in a well written review at least.

TVC15
May 26th 2017


10232 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Even in my Linkin Park phase I always knew they were a pop entity



I agree, like I do in my review, that this record would actually be the most logical progression of the band's sound; however, coming right after The Hunting Party and the album/band's campaign of being outright anti-pop makes this release rather confusing.

Faraudo
May 26th 2017


3181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Really well written review, unfortunately this album stinks and it deserves that average rating.

Digging: Scalene - Respiro

hobblepot
May 26th 2017


2355 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm so glad someone wrote a positive review for this, and a staff member at that. I don't like the album, it was made to balance the bad sales of The Hunting Party, and it just bores me to death, but it's always good to hear a differing opinion.

Digging: Waterparks - Fandom

xtrole
May 26th 2017


71 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad you did this review. I liked the album, and was surprised by just how much negative reception it's been getting. And you made an excellent point that most of the songs on here would have probably been received pretty well if they were on another album that wasn't made up completely of this style of music. The backlash is understandable, but I would argue it's also pretty unfair.

Faraudo
May 26th 2017


3181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

And no, Harry Styles has way more punch than this.

Mongi123
May 26th 2017


20565 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"hatred/lack of acceptance for pop music."



No it's not this dude. I've heard good pop before, but this is not it. This is just a boring, tepid, meaningless cash grab.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 26th 2017


32422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Most pop is a cash grab, and the rest is opinion/speculating

TVC15
May 26th 2017


10232 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"Most pop is a cash grab, and the rest is opinion/speculating"



I mean... so is most other music. That's like 90+ percent of hip hop right now too

Rigma
May 26th 2017


862 Comments


What the hell is wrong with your ears? And good on you. [2]

avery14th
May 27th 2017


73 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

In the years before of just lurking on this site, I always appreciated how their almost always was a review, and usually a staff review, that just goes completely against everyone else's opinion on the album. its just cool to see, because you don't really see it so often anywhere else.



With that said I completely disagree with everything said about the album itself. Lyrics are somehow the worst I've heard from them and this is just all so... bad. Just not enjoyable for me. Ah well



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