When a band evolves it can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes be a bad thing for its fans. Hearing a young band become more and more mature of the years is a good thing. Hearing a band completely change their sound over the years though can be disheartening. Remember the change that silverchair went through other years? From the hard-edge grunge rock of Frogstomp through to their latter albums where electronic had nearly taken over, that for many fans was a bitter pill to the swallow.
The same has been happening over the years for fans of Linkin Park over the years as well. Linkin Park exploded onto the scene way back in the year 2000 with their Hybrid Theory album. Their brand of nu-metal quickly one of many fans of bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit. Their follow-up Meteora was in a similar vein but then when their third album, Minutes To Midnight, dropped fans were beginning to notice a very big change in sound. The harshness and aggression that fuelled the first two albums were dissipating quickly, the band was now doing more radio-friendly styles of rock, and it seems many of their fans were not willing to follow that new sound.
Now some seventeen years after the release of Hybrid Theory and Linkin Park deliver One More Light. The two albums couldn’t be further apart. The music on One More Light does not fit into the metal genre at all, at best this could be considered pop rock. Linkin Park has always been a band that have been fascinated with electronica and hip-hop, remix albums and a collaboration with Jay-Z have attested to that over the years.
The influences of both those genres of music have pretty eroded any of Linkin Park’s past metal sounds here on One More Light. For the most part this is an album full of smooth pop rock with an infusion of electronic (included electronic sampled voices) – tracks like Nobody Can Save Me, Battle Symphony, Invisible, Heavy and Sharp Edges all fit that description well. Talking To Myself and Halfway Right see Linkin Park’s rock grunt bubble right below the surface, but it is well reigned in and kept at bay by a band that seem to be happy to have completely morphed their sound into something new.
The heartfelt lyrics of the title track, One More Light, which poetically explores the theory of death and the pain of losing a loved one shows that as songwriters Linkin Park still know had to tug at the heart strings. That same song-writing also shows that the band know how to write a catchy single with Good Goodbye that is completely taken over by rappers Pusha T and Stormzy.
It seems that old Linkin Park nu-metal sound has been dead and buried forever. Maybe the band will find a new group of fans with their new sound on One More Light, but is highly unlikely that the same people that revelled in tracks like In The End and Breaking The Habit from the early days will be fans of this new material.