Linkin Park is an outlier. The band’s risky creative choices—swinging wildly from song to song, album to album—are a hallmark of their career. Few artists effortlessly blend genres, emotions, and ideas with a voice as signature as Linkin Park's. They are, after all, the architects of the inimitable “Hybrid Theory,” the only band proven to be as at-home on stage with Jay-Z as with Metallica, Steve Aoki, and Paul McCartney.
For any career artist, making new material matter can be the biggest challenge. Inspiration is a fickle thing, and past success often draws a bar that is hard to overcome. But once in a while, unexpectedly, lightning strikes—and an artist we think we know goes somewhere we didn’t know was possible.
Miraculously, Linkin Park’s seventh studio album One More Light does just that. And it doesn’t achieve it by being louder or bigger, more avant garde or more dramatic.
It achieves it by being more human.
One More Light is a moment in time. It’s built on personal stories, sweat-stained and reeling from injuries—the product of six voices, each coming clean about their lives and struggles, as if it were the first time. We get an unobstructed view into what makes the band tick as people, fathers, husbands, musicians, and friends.
“In the beginning, we wanted to challenge ourselves musically…but then it became more about our lives,” explains vocalist Chester Bennington. “I sang things in the lyrics of this album that only my wife and closest friends know. I did it because I know there are other people out there who have gone through the stuff I have, and it feels better to know you’re not alone.”
Looking back, there were signs of One More Light in Linkin Park’s earlier releases. There has always been a catharsis in the lyrics, and genre-bending in the sounds. One More Light continues that tradition, but with a perspective and craftsmanship that only a band of this caliber could command.
Vocalist / producer Mike Shinoda recalls, “Normally, our songs will start with a riff or a beat. But these songs started with a conversation. We’d say, ‘what do I feel like singing about today? What’s on my mind?’ Starting with the concept and lyrics was the complete chronological opposite of our normal writing process. It turned the whole writing process on its head, starting with words. Once vocals and chords were written, we got to do the fun part, which was making each song sound cool.”
“We can’t wait to take these new songs on the road,” guitarist / producer Brad Delson says with a smile. “Our fans know how much love we put into our live show already, and how much we enjoy the connection when we play a fan-favorite on stage. The emotional and sonic content of this new batch of songs is going to bring a whole new dimension to the show.”
If time has proven anything, Linkin Park’s creative output is, like the six human beings in the band, connected, complex, adaptable, and full of life. As they’ve grown, so have their ideas, their families, and their stories—all of which have been channeled into One More Light.