Linkin Park - One More Light

You are here

Share
 
Posted on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 6:07pm
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015
 

Release Type

Studio Album

Release Year

2017

Rate this release

You voted 3. Total votes: 49
 
 
 

Label

Warner Bros. Records/Machine Shop Recordings

 

Album Overview

One More Light is the seventh studio album by American rock band Linkin Park. It was released on May 19, 2017 through Warner Bros. Records and Machine Shop, following the 2014 album The Hunting Party. The album's first single, "Heavy" was released on February 16, 2017. It is their first album with a title track. In deciding on the title track, they felt that the song "One More Light" was the heart of the album. This was also the last album featuring Chester Bennington as lead vocalist before his death on July 20, 2017.

The album features guest vocal appearances from Pusha T, Stormzy, and Kiiara, and production and songwriting collaborations with Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Ross Golan, Andrew Goldstein, blackbear, and Eg White.

Tracks

TrackTitleDuration
1Nobody Can Save Me3:45
2Good Goodbye3:31
Notes

Featuring: Pusha T
Featuring: Stormzy

3Talking To Myself3:51
4Battle Symphony3:36
5Invisible3:34
6Heavy2:49
Notes

Featuring: Kiiara

7Sorry For Now3:23
8Halfway Right3:37
9One More Light4:15
10Sharp Edges2:58

Background

In 2014, Linkin Park released their sixth studio album The Hunting Party. The album, produced by Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson, marked a shift from the overall rock sound in their previous albums produced with help of Rick Rubin. The pre-production of One More Light began in mid-2015 during The Hunting Party Tour by Shinoda on his phone. The main production began as soon as the tour ended. In the process, the band decided to write songs with some external help. They worked with Zayed Hassan, which resulted in his song "Sailing Through the Clouds", Martin Garrix, Hot Karl, Mike Baczor of the band Her0, The Lonely Island, which resulted in "Things in My Jeep", and One Ok Rock. None of these collaborations, however, made the final version of the album. The album marks the second to be self-produced following The Hunting Party.

Composition

As a new concept to the band, all the songs featured on the album began with vocals being recorded first. They worked on the story first, then the hook, and finally the music. In an interview with Zane Lowe, Shinoda explained the composition as, "In terms of the style of the record, it's one of the most diverse stylistically, there's more genres mashed into this album than anything we've ever put out. You don't hear a lot of super heavy guitars. There isn't any screaming on the record." He adds, "To some extent it is a very polished record. Stylistically we wanted to blend all of the sound and genres together in a way you can’t tell them apart". As to why they chose "Heavy" to present the album to the world, he told Billboard, "One of the reasons why we chose 'Heavy' as the first single is because it is really the core sound of the album. This wasn't a scenario where the whole album sounds one way and the single sounds different. This is how the album sounds. So we wanted to go out with a song like that, where everybody can get a sense of the direction of this body of work." According to him, a lot of songs on the album can make the listener think of old songs by The Cure or Tears For Fears.

In an interview with MusicRadar Brad Delson explained,

I wound up putting a lot of guitar on this album. There’s a lot of layers and a lot of different guitars. The guitar work is nuanced and complementary to all of the other elements that we have put in there. I find guitar to be a dominant ingredient in any soup. The minute I put loud heavy guitars into an arrangement, I feel like it is a heavy colour. One of the goals of the production of this album was to do away with any notion of genre. We were looking at ways to juxtapose influences that we have in ways that you haven’t heard before. Building the guitar work into that was a fun challenge. I love the guitar work and tones that our engineer Ethan helped create with me and Mike [Shinoda] throughout this album. Even though you don’t hear guitar in the foreground in a heavy-handed way, there really is a ton of guitar on this album, and I’m really proud of it.

Further elaborating on his guitar work, Delson said, "I love the acoustic work on 'Sharp Edges'. I really like all of the layering of guitars on 'Invisible' as well. There's also a really unique presentation of the guitar in a way that I don’t think we’ve ever done on a song called 'Sorry For Now'. That was one of the things that we were really excited about - it is wildly different to anything else that we have been doing."

The albums features collaborations with songwriters and other artists. "Heavy" features vocals by pop singer Kiiara, and "Good Goodbye" features verses by rappers Pusha T and Stormzy. Genre-wise, the album has been described as pop, pop rock and electropop.

Recording

The band had been writing and recording mostly in Los Angeles but also had a few sessions in London and Canada where they worked with a few songwriters. In Los Angeles, the band started working at the Larrabee Studios where they had worked for their previous album. After noticing the band needed a bit more space they shifted to Sphere Studios. Starting in the early 2016 the band decided, for the first time, to open up their process to fans through social media by doing live streams, posting pictures and videos of their day by day in the studio, and sending studio updates to their mailing list.

In an interview with Billboard, Shinoda said "We've focused almost exclusively on songwriting, not on sound, not on genre, not on arrangement, on words and melodies. And that is something Rick [Rubin] has always told us to do years past and we never listened because we started always track first. Now we're writing songs and now we're just starting to get into the style of that." While working with Justin Parker in London, Mike also learned a different approach to songwriting: to write without any sound in mind and, instead, write with meaning in mind. Instead of writing tracks piece by piece, the band wouldn't leave a session without having a song. It would all start as a conversation, and out of those the songs would build progressively from a chord progression to lyrics.

In a promotional teaser, Shinoda said:

The one thing that I am super excited about, I really wanna like make the riskiest songs now, because I feel like we're at the point where it's like, "okay, we've handled so many things" and risky could be a lot of different kinds of risky. Risky could mean the most weirdest, the weirdest thing, weirdest chord progressions or whatever, or could be the poppiest thing that comes to mind. That we just got like we made that work like it sounds like us, it doesn't sound weird, it sounds like very cool, and I wanna make some songs where you go like "holy shit" That's where we gotta find that.

Artwork and packagingWhile most of the collaborators on the album were just songwriters, the band also brought in vocal producers because they wanted a different perspective on how to approach the vocals. Among the collaborators are Justin Parker, Conner Youngblood, Jon Green, Blackbear, Andrew Goldstein, Eg White, Emily Wright, Andrew Bolooki, Andrew Dawson, RAC, Corrin Roddick, and Ross Golan. American singer Kiiara also had a seven-hour session with Linkin Park to record her vocals for "Heavy", and rappers Stormzy and Pusha T contributed to the album with original verses. In the past the band had a different approach to collaborations, as explained by Mike: "Usually it means we’ve finished the song but we'll ask somebody to add something to the top of it." He added: "Generally, here's how it would work: we'd get in the room with someone, and start on something from scratch with them. We worked mostly in the same way we always write songs, but with extra firepower in the room."

In an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Shinoda explained that the children seen on the album cover are those of a friend of the band and represent what the band members feel when their respective families get together. The photo was shot at Venice Beach by Frank Maddocks, who has previously contributed to artworks for Deftones and Green Day's Revolution Radio.

The album was made available on Linkin Park's official website in five different packages: CD + LPU membership, vinyl + LPU Membership, CD bundle, vinyl bundle, and the "Just Give Me Everything" box set. All offers were accompanied by an LPU digital membership. Both the CD bundle and vinyl bundle include a One More Light T-shirt and a silver Linkin Park logo enamel pin. The box set was bound inside a special One More Light super deluxe box with a 48-page hardcover book featuring all the best photos from the album package and all the lyrics, a unique 2.4" × 1.8" instant photo of the band, and an gold enamel pin set featuring a Linkin Park pin, a LP Hex logo pin, and a "OML" logo pin. It also included both the CD and vinyl versions of the album as well as the One More Light T-shirt.

Promotion

The first single, "Heavy", was released via Los Angeles radio station KROQ on February 16, 2017. The track is a duet with American singer and songwriter Kiiara, marking the first time a Linkin Park song from a studio album has featured a female vocalist. The song was written by Linkin Park with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, while Emily Wright and Andrew Bolooki handled vocal production. The band released a second track from the album, "Battle Symphony", on March 16, 2017, with an accompanying lyric video. A third track from the album, "Good Goodbye", was released for download on April 13, 2017, along with an accompanying lyric video followed by a music video. The song features American rapper Pusha T and English hip hop artist Stormzy. On May 10, 2017, the band put out one final pre-release track, "Invisible", with an accompanying lyric video. "Talking to Myself" was sent to alternative radio July 25, 2017, as the album's second official single.

In early 2017, the band introduced Linkin Park Global Ambassadors, which were selected each for a country. The ambassadors would promote the Linkin Park updates in their respective countries. The Ambassadors were also given various tasks respective to the updates. For promotional purposes, a picture of TV color bars was uploaded to the Instagram by the Linkin Park Global Ambassadors and many other people related to the band such as Joe Hahn, Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington, Phoenix, Lorenzo Errico, Adam Ruehmer, Jim Digby, Christian Tachiera, Tobias Fance, Frank Maddocks, Tal Cooperman, and Warner Bros. Records' official account. The band also released a series of 8 videos on their official website showing fans their process of creating songs for the album. On February 13, Linkin Park tweeted a blank grid, and each of the Linkin Park Global Ambassadors tweeted a numbered image. When put together, the images formed the album cover. The lyrics of "Heavy" were unveiled on Genius on the same day.

Linkin Park did a stripped-down performance with Kiiara at NRG Studios, which was broadcast live on Facebook the same day "Heavy" was released along with its lyric video and the album pre-order. The stripped-down version of the song was performed on various occasions. Shinoda and Bennington played the song fourteen times at different venues for the promotion. The band played the song on The Late Late Show with James Corden and at the ECHO Awards 2017 with Kiiara.

Acoustic performances of the lead single by Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda helped promote One More Light. A few of them included performances with Kiiara, Waxx, and Sofia Karlberg.

The band is set to embark on a world tour in the promotion of the album, expected to begin in South America in May 2017. The tour includes stops at various festivals, including the Download Festival Paris, Aerodrome Festival, NovaRock, Impact Festival, I-Days Milano, Hellfest, Download Festival Madrid, Hurricane Festival, Southside Festival, Telekom VOLT Fesztivál, Bråvalla Festival, Rock Werchter, and many others.

Reception

Critical reception

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 46 out of 100 based on 7 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average" reviews. NME criticized the album's quality, giving it a 2/10 score and concluding that "It’s harsh to criticise a great band for trying something different, and it’s not an issue that this is a pop album. The issue is that it’s weak and contrived commercial move (perhaps to compete with the likes of Twenty One Pilots)". Neil Z. Yeung of AllMusic agreed, stating that "The issue isn't that it's a pop effort; indeed, they get points for a brave attempt so outside of their wheelhouse. The problem is that much of One More Light is devoid of that visceral charge that previously defined much of their catalog... there's no feral screaming from Chester Bennington, there are barely any riffs, and DJ Hahn has disappeared beneath the textured studio sheen." Team Rock criticized the move away from rock music, stating that the album "makes Ed Sheeran sound like Extreme Noise Terror...With One More Light, Linkin Park have waved goodbye to rock." Troy L. Smith at The Plain Dealer described "Invisible" and "Nobody Can Save Me" as "well-rounded pop songs," but also noting "That won't stop Linkin Park diehards from getting a sweet tooth from the whiny "Halfway Right" or the boring title track. Heck, even Skrillex-like EDM can't save "Sorry for Now" from corny territory." Consequence of Sound criticized the album for sounding like it was trying to "chase the trend of pop-EDM in an attempt to capitalize on its ubiquity" and sound "as if they were selected by committee", leading the album to sound like "a muddled mess of a record from a band that completely abandoned any sense of identity".

Newsday gave the album a B+ and praised the band's new direction, comparing it to the works of Coldplay and Owl City and concluding "One More Light shows how well Linkin Park has absorbed the current pop scene and applied it to their own music to genuinely reflect who they are today, not who some fans want them to be."

Band response

The band, specifically frontman Chester Bennington, have lashed out in response to the negative reception of One More Light's material. As documented through Spin magazine, in an interview with Music Week, Bennington, at the accusations that the band had "sold out", suggested that those people should "stab [themselves] in the face" and "move the fuck on" from the band's past sound. Similarly, in a separate interview with Kerrang, Bennington, in response to claims of selling out with the album, responded "I will punch you in your fucking mouth ... You're a fucking pussy." In the same interview, Mike Shinoda also rejected the claims that they had made the album "for monetary reasons", responding; "that's not how I operate." Bennington explained that the accusation of "selling out" angers him because he sees it as a personal attack, concluding that "when you make it personal, like a personal attack against who we are as people, like, dude, shut up. That means that I can actually have feelings about it and most of the time my feelings are 'I want to kill you.'"

In response to the comments, Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor stated that he understood Bennington's frustrations, but advised him to "be fortunate for what you have, be fortunate for that fact that people are still coming to see you to hear the music. Give it a little time, you have to give it a little time." Bennington later responded that he agreed with Taylor's statements, saying:

"...I agree with him. I do appreciate our fans... I'm human and sometimes take things too personally. Most of our fans have been very positive lately. Some... not so much. Either way... there is a lot of passion on both sides and I am grateful to all of our fans. Corey is a good dude and I appreciate him too… Time to recalibrate my perspective. So I say to all of our fans... Thank you and I love you all. Peace, love and happiness."

Personnel

  • Chester Bennington – lead vocals on tracks 1–4, 6 and 8–10, rhythm guitar on track 4, backing vocals on tracks 5 and 7
  • Rob Bourdon – drums, backing vocals
  • Brad Delson – guitar, backing vocals, production
  • Phoenix – bass, backing vocals
  • Joe Hahn – programming, backing vocals, creative direction
  • Mike Shinoda – keyboard, programming, rap vocals on track 2, lead vocals on tracks 5 and 7, creative direction, engineering, photography, production

Additional Musicians

  • Kiiara – vocals on track 6
  • Pusha T – rap vocals on track 2
  • Stormzy – rap vocals on track 2
  • Ilsey Juber – backing vocals on track 3, 10
  • Ross Golan – backing vocals on track 8
  • Eg White – guitar and piano on track 9
  • Jon Green – additional guitar, backing vocals and bass on track 1
  • Jesse Shatkin – additional keyboard and programming on track 5
  • Andrew Jackson – additional guitar on track 3, additional production

Credits

  • Alejandro Baima – engineering assistance
  • Andrew Bolooki – vocal production
  • Andrew Dawson – additional production
  • Ryan DeMarti – A&R coordination
  • Lorenzo Errico – photography
  • Fraser T Smith – vocal engineering
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • John Hanes – mixing engineering
  • Jerry Johnson – drum technician
  • Tom Kahre – vocal engineering
  • Michael Keenan – additional production
  • Peter J. Lee – art direction, creative direction, design, photography
  • Frank Maddocks – art direction, creative direction, design, photography
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing
  • Ethan Mates – engineering
  • Dan McCarroll – A&R
  • Josh Newell – engineering
  • Alexander Spit – additional production
  • Peter Standish – marketing
  • Christian Tachiera – photography
  • Jonna Terrasi – A&R
  • Warren Willis – studio assistance
  • Emily Wright – vocal production