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hahninator

One More Light Album

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My review:

 

Linkin Park has been known for toying with their sound since 2007's Minutes To Midnight flipped the script completely and the nu-metal rockers delved into alternative rock territory. Since then, we've gotten an electronic concept album, a record that mixes their old sound with their recent experimentation and a hard rock throwback. Now, they've dived headfirst into mainstream pop with a mixed reception. Some love and accept the change, some wish for nothing more than the sound of Hybrid Theory to make a comeback and a bit of everything in between. Their first true foray into pop music was a resounding success, with the band managing to stick to most of the conventions of modern pop but with a fair amount of experimentation here and there to keep it refreshing, all backed by the most personal and honest lyrics the group have ever penned.

 

Opening the album with the revealing and haunting vibes of "Nobody Can Save Me" sets the tone for what's to come very well, with Chester Bennington singing about "chasing out the darkness inside" and how only he can save himself. It's a far cry from the defeatist attitude that plagued the group's earlier albums, instead opting for a more hopeful, optimistic train of thought. This sentiment is echoed in the lead single "Heavy", which features an incredible verse from pop singer Kiiara, who actually outshines Bennington on the track. As the duo discuss how them holding on to the problem is the root of it, they admit and accept that the issue is solvable, and it is up to them to do so, though the former does so much more successfully than the latter.

 

Bennington tells the story of his past on the Broadway-esque "Halfway Right", talking about "getting high with the dead-end kids" and how he "burned too bright", talking about his days of addiction and turmoil as an adolescent. It very much plays out as a discussion between the Bennington of new and old, with the wiser of the two warning the younger of what will become of him if he continues down this path of destruction. It is rather touching, and it's presentation is unlike one Linkin Park has ever attempted. Bennington is not the only one who gets to tell his own stories through this record, though, as Mike Shinoda steps up to lead vocals on the tracks "Invisible" and "Sorry For Now", both of which were written to his children. The former is a song for their future, teenage years, ensuring that, despite conflict and arguments between the two, Shinoda still loves them and never wants them to feel otherwise. The latter, though, is more tongue and cheek, "halfway apologizing" for his frequent absence due to being in Linkin Park. Shinoda has a stellar vocal presence on both tracks, though the latter is far more impressive, with the final chorus being more in line with something Bennington would usually take over for. Instead, though, Bennington raps during the bridge of the track with an interesting filter placed over his voice, all strung together by a fantastic electronic breakdown with guitar layering all over it. It is far and away the most experimental track on the album, and it is done incredibly well.

 

The album reaches its peak, though, with the title track: "One More Light". Written for a close friend of the band who passed away, the track is truly chilling, with the crux of the song being weirdly optimistic instead of dark like many songs of this subject are. As Bennington sings about how unfair this situation is and little things in life that remind you of those who have passed, he ensures the listener that, even if everyone else says one death does not matter in the grand scheme of things, he does care. It is a heartbreaking message that gets more emotional as the song ends, with Bennington's voice cracking akin to the first verse of "Valentine's Day". It is the most human moment on the record, and it is one that exceeded all expectations.

 

One More Light may not be the most technically proficient record to come from the group, and it is not without its little bumps in the road, but it is far and away the most emotional and honest. From the more abstract songs like "Good Goodbye", which features verses from Pusha T and Stormzy, and "Nobody Can Save Me" to the honest stories of "Halfway Right", the album perfectly encapsulates Linkin Park's emotional state during the process: saddened, yet hopeful.

 

 

Favorite Tracks: One More Light, Sorry For Now, Nobody Can Save Me, Halfway Right

Least Favorite Track: Heavy

 

OVERALL: 9.5/10

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To the people saying they "love it", what other bands do you listen to? Do you like pop music in general? Because anyone who leans toward rock, or harder music, can't possibly like this crap.

System Of A Down, Muse (hyped for their new song tomorrow), Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, The Killers, Slipknot, Royal Blood, you name it. Why should I stick to one genre only?

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Why should I stick to one genre only?

He never said that. He's only asking what peoples preferences are.

Edited by Projektion

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To the people saying they "love it", what other bands do you listen to? Do you like pop music in general? Because anyone who leans toward rock, or harder music, can't possibly like this crap.

Linkin Park, Muse and Radiohead are my favorite bands.

 

I like bands that try new things on each new album, so I d'ont really care about LP doing '' pop ''.

 

Edited by drackslayer

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I just listened through it. It's not a "bad" album like in "the songs are bad". I enjoy some of the songs. The real problem I have is, it's music from Linkin Park. Many of the songs sound like all the songs running at radio stations since three years, and that's not what I expect from Linkin Park. In past times, mainstream radio musicians were copying the music LP did. With this album, I think the opposite is the case.

 

For me, it's the worst album by Linkin Park, by far. It has some decent songs, some bad songs, and a really bad song (Heavy). But nothing is exciting. This is going to be the first album which I don't buy.

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He never said that. He's only asking what peoples preferences are.

He assumed people who listen to heavy music would trash this album, so yeah he did say that in other words.

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Wasn't overly enthusiastic to download the leak but thought I'd give it a go, spent around 10 minutes trying to download the album but achieved nothing other than being bombarded by ads. I'm getting old... I'll listen tomorrow and keep my almost certainly negative opinions to myself I guess. Bring on the next album! (kidding... not really)

Edited by hellomoto170

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I didn't assume anything. I asked a simple question. I like all types of music myself, I was just wondering what people who like this were also listening to.

If I want to listen to heavier music, I'll look for a heavier band. What's the problem?

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The album is pretty much like the singles and released songs.

 

On the lyrics, there are quite a bit of corny bits on this album, like staple pop "terms" like 'sky is falling' 'fall wide awake' ect...

 

I really laugh at their story about best lyrical album.

 

Overall, I won't listen to this again probably, which is a shame as them doing pop appeals to me as I have grown out of their nu-metal stuff. This is just not the type of pop i can stomach. It's just so average and generic.

 

I might be completely wrong, but One More Light reminds me a lot of TLTGYA lyrically and musically.

OML feels kind of smug to me though, "Oh look at me so caring while no one else is".

Might just be me though.

Edited by GraDoN

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My problem with it, is that it's bad. Simple as that. Generic, boring, very little reason to listen again, pop music. If they want to explore different things, cool, just keep it interesting. This is radio friendly garbage. They can say what they want, but this is a blatant attempt to get back on top 40 radio stations, and make a bunch of money again.

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I didn't assume anything. I asked a simple question. I like all types of music myself, I was just wondering what people who like this were also listening to.

 

I can go from Bathory - Reaper to this album with no problem

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This band needs to disband.

 

Chester is much better with STP or DBS.

 

Mike is much better with FM.

 

The others don't really do shit on this album. I hate it. I think/hope this is the end of LP.

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This band needs to disband.

 

Chester is much better with STP or DBS.

 

Mike is much better with FM.

 

The others don't really do shit on this album. I hate it. I think/hope this is the end of LP.

LOL....I thought I was down on them....

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I just heard the album, but for me it's very mellow, for me it's like this album is aimed at new generations of teenagers, I've heard pop music before, but this is the kind of pop that I hate. This album didn't leave me with that desire to play it again, I love MTM, ATS, THP, I like LT but this? Most of the songs were not my taste of music, only a few songs I think maybe the last 4 songs. There are some annoying things like too much "clap" sample, too much "chipmunk" voice in the songs or some effect on some vocals or something like that, most of the songs have that, even I think Sorry For Now would be good without that "Alvin's" effect that has the song. FOR ME This is an album that didn't leave me wanting to play it again, maybe from here in a long time to listen to it in full, but it will not be the ones that I can put in my playlist, probably the last four songs, but in general this is not the kind of pop that I like to listen to.

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This band needs to disband.

 

Chester is much better with STP or DBS.

 

Mike is much better with FM.

 

The others don't really do shit on this album. I hate it. I think/hope this is the end of LP.

I hope now the album does well just because of your comment

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I already said it the album is laidback.

As much how i love the band, i won't play this album alot.

 

The mix on "Talking To Myself" sounds flat (Listening on KRK Rokit 5 monitors).

I love the drum sound on "Nobody Can Save Me" but this sounds like they programmed the drums with a Native Instruments Kontakt 5 patch.

 

Drums can make or break your song!!

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I like Sorry For Now, and Mike hits astounding new highs at the end of the song (during the "understand" and "around"), and I've grown accustomed to the Chainsmokers-esque breakdown in the middle of the song but it still feels really disruptive with the flow.

The demo also has that very LP-soul all previous albums have but this version sounds quite overproduced.

I really appreciate it and think it's the best song in the entire album but was much more looking forward to the previous incarnation to be featured instead.

 

Sharp Edges is a HUGE surprise, Chester has an entirely different way of singing here and the fast-paced acoustic guitar is a style they have never done before. I love it.

 

Halfway Right and Nobody Can Save Me are somewhat good tracks, HR more than NCSM, but don't truly feature a good melody like all of their other songs, I feel as if they don't accomplish their objective. On the other hand, in HR Chester uses lyrics in a way seldom seen by them, by describing the atmosphere and what he was actually doing instead of feelings or emotions. That stood out to me.

 

For me, the best songs are undoubtedly Sorry For Now, Sharp Edges and Invisible. If I were to rate the album, I'd give it a 6/10.

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After sitting on One More Light, here is what I think about the album.


This is the first album I did not preorder from the band since I became a fan well before Meteora because of how shockingly weak Heavy was for me for months.


Before I go through the songs, I want to point out that there is guitar all over the album, used in different ways which seems much more up Brad's alley compared to The Hunting Party and Living Things. I like the loud explosive guitar sound by the band but I can understand that gets old to write/play for so long. It’s a semi-new way of using guitar on an album for LP, using it as more of a background accessory instrument instead of a prominent instrument on the songs. We see this on the Sorry For Now breakdown, the Invisible piano ending, before the chorus starts on Halfway Right, the One More Light bridge, etc. It’s actually everywhere. So Brad might have been the most creative on this album actually, just plugging in overall good sounding guitar into the pop songs.


A quick run down of it top to bottom… Nobody Can Save Me has some cool MTM-esque lyrics that remind me of Valentine’s Day in a way. Dark lyrics with a poppy beat and the clash between the two is actually good. Chester sounds super “clean”, and I don’t know anyone that can complain about his vocals honestly...it just proves what we already know - that he’s a great singer that can sing in any genre of music.


Sadly, the songs are overloaded with clapping samples, excessively sampled drums, and generic pop noises. Good Goodbye is a pre-release song that we know and I think it was a total waste to put two guest rappers on it when Mike could have had three verses to himself. The live verse he does is already better than both of the guest verses to me. Not a fan of the chipmunk on the track.


My friend Parth (musician inspired by LP) pointed out to me that Talking To Myself is a song that would have been overplayed hourly by KROQ in 2012...and I agree. The description that it is a “The Killers”-esque song is pretty accurate with the guitar and bass. For this album, Talking To Myself is a highlight. Is it organ samples chopped and thrown together for the intro?


So there's “doing pop” and there's “overdoing an attempt at pop”, and Battle Symphony is the latter. It sounds like the biggest attempt at creating a purely top 40 pop song in the band's catalogue and easily is the worst song on the album to me - no comparison. Invisible is the first attempt we hear at Mike singing a song by himself in a few albums. I’m not a big fan of the mid-tempo upbeat-sounding poppy songs in general so Invisible doesn’t go anywhere for me. Two pretty weak songs in a row.


One thing interesting about Heavy is after listening to it a million times, I’ve noticed how much stuff is really going on in the instrumental of the song. Where some songs seem instrumentally weak, Heavy actually has a ton of layers in it. I’m not a fan of the track but you can tell they spent some time layering and layering the Shinoda sounds on that one.


The biggest highlight on the album is Sorry For Now. If Mike wants to sing on One More Light (album), then a song written to his kids with soaring vocals over quality pop samples is the way to do it. While Invisible is more mid-tempo and Mike’s vocals don’t go anywhere, they really shine on Sorry For Now. The band completely flips the script and lets Chester rap the bridge where before the entire delivery pattern would be switched. Everything from the start to the end of the song is great to me. I’m a big fan of pop that is GOOD - some examples are Backstreet Boys’ Millenium/Black & Blue albums and Taylor Swift’s Speak Now/Red/1989 albums. Everything on Sorry For Now is done like a truly well-written pop song. That breakdown comes out of nowhere, in a great way, and is awesome. And then there’s Brad just throwing guitar over it...I dig it. A+ job. Why the hell couldn’t we get more “oh shit” moments and creative pop songs on this album like Sorry For Now? This song is leagues above the rest on the album.


With Halfway Right, we really confirm the vocal melodies become really repetitive as it’s also a pretty forgettable track. The most intimate part of the album is One More Light, which the album is named after. It’s a very natural delivery for Chester and it’s a fantastic acoustic/soft song. To me it is much better song than a comparable stripped down track, The Messenger. For once I think this would be a good slower song live and that comes from someone criticizing all these piano songs and soft songs in the setlist for a decade now. The lyrics and soft approach to the song are both great.


With a good chance to finish the album off with a strong closer, the band falls very short with Sharp Edges. LP has released three “epic” closers out of the last four albums - The Little Things Give You Away, Powerless, and A Line in the Sand. A Thousand Suns would be included in that too if the album ended with The Catalyst. Sharp Edges goes nowhere...maybe the album should have ended with the title track. If this song was on Minutes To Midnight instead of In Between I don’t think we’d be complaining, though.


The bottom line for me is - music was an obvious afterthought on this album. Did Phoenix, Rob, or Joe write anything *at all* for the album? The problem with pop is that it utilizes such small numbers of people from the band. Overwhelmingly we see a reliance on computer beats and noises, inevitably from the database of “Shinoda sounds” (or the chipmunk gallery). The lyrics are not inherently better than any previous efforts… specifically let’s reference the Minutes To Midnight and A Thousand Suns eras where lyrics were being delivered in their prime. Even the laughable Living Things had good lyrics at points. Most importantly, the melodies get old, fast. This album was an experiment but one they did not necessarily succeed at for a cohesive effort… this makes three albums in a row cohesively weak when home runs, erm, grand slams were hit with MTM and ATS which I consider the prime of the band creatively. Three albums in a row have been full of filler content (remember Until It Breaks, Skin To Bone and Until It’s Gone?). Creative parts of the album like Sorry For Now are minimal and hard to find outside of that song. Imagine if the music had been approached first - we’d see many more creative moments like Sorry For Now and maybe would have ended up with a good pop album. Remember Leave Out All The Rest? That’s a signature pop song (probably the best in the LP catalogue) that would fit into this genre perfectly, and the band nailed it.


It’s a bad album but it’s even worse when LP throws their name on it. While Linkin Park is not held down to one genre or style specifically, there are elements missing from One More Light, specifically more rapping from Mike. In the one song where it could be showcased (Good Goodbye), unnecessary and unfitting guests were shoved into the song into what can be called the greatest wasted opportunity of the album. But doesn’t that sum up the album in one sentence?


The Good: Sorry For Now, Talking To Myself, Nobody Can Save Me, One More Light

The Bad: Battle Symphony, Good Goodbye, Sharp Edges, an attempt at putting chipmunks into a song

Recommendations: Drop Battle Symphony from the live show ASAP (which Joe has messed up already 3x) and replace it with Nobody Can Save Me.


Final score: 4/10 because I’d keep these 4 songs I enjoy and rewrite the rest of the album. Someone call Ryan Tedder, Max Martin, etc for some pop advice.

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