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Album Review

What a difference three years makes. When last we heard from Linkin Park on The Hunting Party back in 2014, the band’s six members were taking angry aim at everything in sight. At the time, I wrote that these guys sounded like they “revel in their alienation and despair as they carpet bomb fans with obscenities, self-righteous vitriol and aggressive despair.”

One More Light could hardly be more different. It represents a 180-degree turn from anger to introspection, from rage to reflection, from self-righteousness to humility. It sounds, in short, like a group of guys who are growing up.

This album doesn’t sound much like anything that Linkin Park has ever done. Guitars are few, while EDM flourishes and pop melodies abound. At times, this pioneering nu-metal band sounds more like, say, Owl City than its hard-rock peers. It’s a sonic change of direction as daring as the vulnerable lyrics that accompany those songs.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

The title track reflects on the value of every life: “Who cares when someone’s time runs out?/ … Who cares if one more life goes out?/Well, I do.” The song also talks about the difficult path walked by the family and friends of those who die prematurely: “In the kitchen, one more chair than you need, oh/And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair.”

On “Nobody Can Save Me,” we hear co-lead singer Chester Bennington’s longing to believe that he’s truly been forgiven: “You tell me it’s alright/Tell me I’m forgiven tonight.” He also seems to recognize an internal vacuum that nothing in the world can fill: “Been searching somewhere out there/For what’s been missing right here.” “Battle Symphony” treads similar territory. There’s a humble cry for help (“Please just don’t give up on me”); recognition of the importance of others’—perhaps a spouse’s—encouragement (“But the sound of your voice/Puts the pain in reverse/No surrender, no illusions/And for better or worse”); and determination to persevere (“If I fall, get knocked down/Pick myself up off the ground”).

“Talking to Myself” describes a man who’s trying to patch up holes in a failing relationship, including taking responsibility for his failures (“I admit I made mistakes”) exhorting the other person to do the same (“But yours might cost you everything”), and inviting that person back into relationship (“Can’t you hear me calling your name?”). Likewise, on “Invisible,” we hear a man expressing regret for failing someone by saying the wrong thing: “I was not mad at you/I was not trying to tear you down/The words that I could’ve used/I was scared to say out loud.” “Sorry for Now” also offers an apology for relational failures.

“Halfway Right” acknowledges wise counsel (“Told me, 'Kid, you’re going way too fast/You burn too bright, you know you’ll never last’”), something Bennington admits he rejected in his wild youth. Similarly, “Sharp Edges” revisits a mom’s homespun wisdom: “Mama always told me, ‘Don’t you run/Don’t you run with scissors, son.'” In the chorus, Bennington affirms her wisdom: “Sharp edges have consequences/Guess I had to find out for myself.” Still, the singer’s able to find a redemptive perspective on all his self-inflicted wounds: “Every scar is a story I can tell/ … But all the things I couldn’t understand/Never could’ve planned/They made me who I am.” The song also counsels listeners, “Put your nose in paperbacks/Instead of smoking cigarettes.”

Rapper Stormzy’s contribution to “Good Goodbye” includes these lines: “Let me say goodbye to my demons/Let me say goodbye to my past life/Let me say goodbye to the darkness/Tell ‘em I’d rather be here in the starlight.” “Heavy” also deals with the subject of mental health and the challenge of carrying weighty emotional burdens alone.

Objectionable Content

“Heavy” includes the album’s most glaring content concern, one use of the f-word by guest contributor Kiiara. Elsewhere, on the song “Halfway Right,” we hear the album’s only other profanity, one use of “bulls---.”

“Good Goodbye” is one of the very few places that anger seeps into One More Light. We hear co-lead singer Mike Shinoda tell someone, “I’ve been here killing it/Longer than you’ve been alive, you idiot.” Elsewhere on that track, Stormzy says, “Like goodbye to my old hoes.”

On “Nobody Can Save Me,” Chester Bennington realizes that no one outside of himself will be able to fill the hole in his heart—a good thing. But he still trusts himself to accomplish that task: “But only I can save me.” On one level, that realization is commendable. From a Christian perspective, though, there’s still a lack of understanding that none of us can save ourselves.

“Sorry for Now” includes a possible allusion to excessive drug or alcohol usage: “I just passed out by the time you wake up.”

Summary Advisory

One More Light has a handful of smudging flaws, most notably its two profanities listed above. But apart from those disappointments, this album brings to mind a word I’m pretty sure I’ve never used to describe Linkin Park: nice.

There’s wisdom and humility here, an admission that our choices come with consequences—and even a shout-out to the fact that mom was actually right! How un-rock-‘n’-roll is that? More than once, we hear almost a confessional, reflective spirit here as Bennington and Co. take responsibility for mistakes and ask others to forgive them … and help them grasp forgiveness, too.

I hope that this newfound maturity sticks as the band goes forward, as this more seasoned version of Linkin Park is delivering some legitimately redemptive messages … not just angst-filled and angry ones.

Plot Summary

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Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Debuted at No. 1.

Record Label

Warner Brothers




May 19, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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