And Linkin Park dived into the ocean of contemporary pop

And Linkin Park dived into the ocean of contemporary pop

On May 19, 2017 when i Linkin Park released their seventh studio album, “One More Light” they could not imagine that just two months later, on 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington he would take his own life at the age of 41. “One More Light” it remains to date the last album of unreleased songs released by the American band. On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of its release we re-propose the review he wrote for us Andrea Valentini.

The name Linkin Park, after 17 years of an honored career and despite a strong aptitude for experimenting, is in some ways closely linked to the concept of the nu metal genre. Well, with this seventh album the Copernican revolution was completely accomplished: Chester Bennington and his colleagues have… erased metal from nu metal. Or, at least, they tried.

It's true, the band after the more canonical debuts really played to surprise their audience in every possible way – rap? Done. Electro? Idem. Electro rock? Ready. DJ remixes? We don't miss anything – but with “One More Light” he dives head first, and without hesitation not even for an instant, into the ocean of contemporary pop. It does so with conviction and dedication, let it be clear, so much so that it is practically unrecognizable: it is really difficult, hearing one of these songs casually, to imagine that you are in front of new Linkin Park music.

Now the guitars and rock (more or less hard) are just a memory. Because it plays on the terrain of high-profile contemporary pop, with shades of electro, EDM, rap, grime and hip-hop… synths and airy radio-friendly melodies reign supreme. A truly risky move, which at times sounds almost liberating, as if Linkin Park perceived the unquestionable need to radically change: a sort of farewell to the past, with a clear break, so clear as to leave one stunned. Like a lover who leaves you during the birthday party he threw for you, to use a pop simile.

We therefore reward the courage of the band, without a doubt. The point is that a pop album capable of competing with the contemporary giants of the genre that dominate the charts would still seem – at least at the moment – ​​out of reach for Bennington & co. Furthermore, if we want to dig even further, the problem is not simply that this is a 100% pop record – quite the opposite. What leaves this feeling of incompleteness is a widespread lack of emotion and catharsis, two elements that in Linkin Park's music, despite the various experiments, have never been missing.

It won't be easy for fans to digest such a choice. And even the specialized critics, at the moment, aren't reacting very well, with somewhat amusing, if sharp, comments – “This stuff makes Ed Sheeran look like Extreme Noise Terror” (“Classic Rock”), “A record that's sometimes flat like a table” (“Kerrang!”), “A weak and artificial commercial move” (“NME”)… and we also don't feel like entirely blaming those who expressed these opinions.

Mention for the courage and feeling of liberation that the album exudes. But Linkin Park will probably still need a little while to produce a pop album that lives up to their ambitions. Which maybe will change direction in the meantime…