I think that people use the term “sell-out” way too loosely. In my opinion, we should be judging music based on what the product is, rather than what it should of been. All musicians are creators, and each project that gets released needs at least some effort put into it.
It’s harsh to immediately say someone is simply playing to the crowds. For weeks now, Linkin Park’s seventh studio album One More Light has received negative energy from die-hard fans about their pop-style and electronic sound. As a result, many have labeled Chester Bennington and company sell-outs. Personally for me, while this project lacks lyrical prowess, I certainly would not call this selling out. If anything, it’s experimental, because they are moving away from their original sound.
Many people have also stated that this is a totally new form of music that Linkin Park is experimenting with on this album, which is untrue; Their 2010 album A Thousand Suns featured mainly electronic ballads. Heck, I’d go as far as to say they are the band equivalent of Kanye West. Each album they experimented with a new sound, and One More Light is no different. Now, as much as I appreciate the continuing exploration of each genre, the music was kind of shallow and forgettable. It was a better Chainsmokers album (that’s embarrassing Chainsmokers). The album reminded me of a light but mediocre summer movie that’s very short.
With ten songs on this album, each one contained a mixture of base drops and interesting vocal performances from Bennington. All of these singles are radio hits that people will definitely sing along too. Riddled with metaphors most of the time, tracks like “Nobody Can Save Me” and “Talking To Myself” are mediocre songs about self-awareness. Bennington’s corny lyrics about the sky falling on the latter track was quite cringe-worthy. The band tries its hand again with rappers with Pusha T and Stormzy on “Good Goodbye,” and although they don’t sound terrible, the lyrics are once again forgettable.
On “Invisible” and “Battle Symphony,” the band is really yearning for that summer anthem for the next few months. While it’s nothing memorable, I think it’s false to call it uninspiring. Linkin Park has gained a large enough following where they don’t need to try and acquire a crowd with cheap pop songs. “Heavy” with Kiiara will probably be their hit single from this project, and they officially address their movement away from nu-metal. Personally, I thought this wasn’t a bad track.
“Sorry For Now” is right in the middle of a Chainsmokers and Twenty One Pilots song. Lyrically it was a miss. My favorite single had to be “One More Light.” I like the softness to it, and I feel like Bennington opens up a little bit more, and I can definitely hear an feel the emotion in his voice. I’m not going to lie, I felt like “Sharp Edges” wasn’t the worst song about love, and I think it’s kind of an interesting end to the album. I received an alternative/singer-songwriter vibe from this track. Still, it won’t blow anyone away, even non die-hards.
I’m mixed about this LP. While I think calling them sell-outs is too harsh, I still don’t think they were up to par lyrically. They lost their legendary guitar riffs with the electronic production taking over as well. Like I said before, I appreciate everything that this band is doing. They are still experimenting, and if anything they aren’t playing to the crowds. If they were, then they would make something that their die-hards would love. Yes, I’ll probably forget about this project in a few days, but at least Bennington and company was pushing their boundaries. They were just adapting to the times. And for that, I commend them.