Linkin Park’s “One More Light” darkens the music landscape

"One More Light" album cover from and used under fair use.

“But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.” What a perfect piece of foreshadowing from Linkin Park, or as they should now be called, Linkin Pop. Their May 19 release of “One More Light,” the seventh album of their illustrious career, devastatingly shows one of two possible fates in the current rock arena: sellout or irrelevance.

With the lead single “Heavy” featuring Kiiara, released Feb. 16, the band’s fanbase was immediately polarized over the new direction. The song’s name and chorus “why is everything so heavy” oxymoronically oppose the very nature of the song. In fact, it was common radio pop, far from the brand the band created 17 years ago with their diamond-status debut.

“Battle Symphony” does much of the same as “Heavy,” fitting as the two lead singles. Lead singer Chester Bennington croons hopefully “When they turn down the lights / I hear my battle symphony.” While Bennington is a skilled singer, his reserve throughout this record leaves much to be desired, as he is capable of so much more. Older fans will constantly be waiting for an apex that never comes.

The high point of the album comes with the Pusha T and Stormzy collaboration “Good Goodbye.” Rapper and lead instrumentalist Mike Shinoda puts together a song that in someway represents a shell of the old Linkin Park with this rap-infused piece. However, musically it only really harkens to the 2012 album “Living Things,” not pushing all the way back to 2000’s “Hybrid Theory.”

Any old fan of Linkin Park or rock in general will be appalled at the pure commercialization of the band’s latest effort. Each song is another cash grab as the band chases a new audience, with none of the substance of their older work. While the songs are not blatantly bad (subpar at best), they are not Linkin Park, and this group should rebrand themselves with a different name.