Review: Rap-metal heroes Linkin Park take a U-turn into pop

AP News
Posted: May 15, 2017 12:06 PM
Review: Rap-metal heroes Linkin Park take a U-turn into pop

Linkin Park, "One More Light" (Warner Bros.)

Hold onto your tattoos, Linkin Park fans: The L.A.-based metal-rap genre-benders have followed up arguably their heaviest album — 2014's "The Hunting Party" — with something so different than that it may give listeners whiplash.

On the band's seventh studio album, the 10-song "One More Light," one of America's biggest alternative rock bands has turned unapologetically and positively pop.

Is that a guttural howl we hear from Linkin Park fans? Well, here's the thing: They're so good that they've created a very good, up-to-the-minute pop album. It might not be what you expect, but does that make it wrong?

An airy "Nobody Can Save Me" resembles something from Owl City. "Good Goodbye," featuring Pusha T and Stormzy, is reminiscent of 'NSync's "Bye Bye Bye," and "Sharp Edges" wouldn't sound out of place on a Shawn Mendes album.

The title of the first single, "Heavy," featuring Kiiara, might give fans of "Hybrid Theory" hope. But instead of pneumatic drumming and dark shards of screamed vocals, it's not hard at all — it's like listening to The Chainsmokers.

Linkin Park did warn us that this might be possible. The band's 2002 release "Reanimation" drifted into electronic sounds and 2012's "Living Things" had pop-friendly sensibilities.

All bands evolve — think of U2, Genesis, The Clash, Liz Phair or Taylor Swift — but this for Linkin Park fans may be more akin to Bob Dylan going electric. And then doing a disco album.

How will fans of the old Linkin Park handle it? This is an album that will test their loyalty. Is it skin deep?


Mark Kennedy is at