Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Linkin Park – One More Light

A eulogy…


Hannah Jocelyn: That Chester Bennington’s death prompted re-evaluation of Linkin Park makes a lot of sense. As simple and overblown as their music was, Chester and Mike Shinoda traded verses about real things; their songs, especially early in their career, often depicted abuse, repression, and yes, death with raw emotion. Often, it was drawn from real-life experience. With almost any band, it’s hard to tell how much is real and how much is “just songwriting” — even in the weeks leading up to his death, Chester was laughing in interviews and was planning to get his old band back together. The lyrics of “One More Light” certainly do feel intimate, though Chester didn’t write it (the song is credited to Mike, who also wrote “Breaking The Habit”). Seeing Bennington sing the lyrics to a near-literal sky of a million stars, the arms of the crowd covering him, is a beautiful image, but among the sadder parts of the parent album. Unlike Blackstar, there are no “clues” to uncover, no grand final statement; just the occasional throwaway line that becomes chilling in hindsight. “One More Light” also feels distant — Chester’s voice sounds frustratingly glossed-up and thin, even as he’s clearly giving it his all. Even a moment like the scream at 3:18 was meant more as a distant tribute to their past than an ethereal cry. Yet as anyone who loved them would know, the sentiments remain real, even at their broadest. It’s telling that the same song was about a band member’s friend, then a tribute to Chris Cornell, then, harrowingly, to Chester himself. 

Will Adams: A moving farewell, if mainly for the heartbreaking implication that said light had to be dimmed to something this quiet so as to be taken seriously instead of cast aside as another joke about edginess. But Chester will always be remembered for his moments of raw catharsis, not for Coldplay-style balladry.

Tim de Reuse: They could have gone big, building up to slam into an arena rock firework show of glitz and buzz and power chords to try for some cathartic chant-along anthem in the song’s third act — and they didn’t. For all the bad decisions that Linkin Park made in abandoning their established shtick for a style that they’ve got nothing interesting to add to, they had the good sense to stay quiet long enough to sound genuinely vulnerable.

Alfred Soto: The guitar figure has a simple lucidity, and the chorus, drenched in fatalism, has more pathos than expected. A strong eulogy to Chester Bennington. 

Edward Okulicz: Yep, the chorus gave me a lump in my throat, casting a person as a mere dot in the sky to some, but everything to Chester Bennington’s narrator. I’m generally pro-gloop when done well, and Eg White’s a pretty good go-to person for quality gloop. And Bennington excelled at hurt like few male vocalists. With a little time passed since his death — not that hearing about death from someone who killed himself isn’t excruciating — I’m comfortable saying that this is one of Linkin Park’s best singles on its own merits.

Alex Clifton: Funny how a song’s meaning can shift so quickly. If I’d heard this before mid-July, I’d find it moving and kind of sad; now, in a world without Chester Bennington, I’m heartbroken. Chester always had the ability to tap into some deeper animal sorrow in a way that I’ve heard few others accomplish. Here, his vocal delivery is more vulnerable and delicate than I remember. I think back to all the times I turned to Linkin Park as a 12-year-old, playing my copy of Meteora in my Walkman as I stormed through my neighbourhood, feeling the weight of the world settling into my bones. I never once doubted that Linkin Park and Chester cared about me. They could put words to the intangible feelings I had and make them into something real, rather than just brain chemicals gone awry. Chester knew what it meant to need a place to belong or how it felt to lose yourself, scrabbling desperately to reach the person you knew you once were. Listening to “One More Light,” I’m met with that same sense of acknowledgement and recognition, even after all these years. Thank you for caring, Chester. It meant the world.

Reader average: [8.85] (7 votes)

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