Single Slam – Heavy by Linkin Park (One More Light)
Linkin Park are back with a new single called Heavy. That single is the first bit of music released from their new album, One More Light. One More Light is due to be released on May 19th via Warner Bros Records. It follows up from the band’s 2014 release The Hunting Party. Linkin Park are renowned for experimenting with their sound. Having made a name for themselves in nu-metal and rap metal with their famous debut album Hybrid Theory, they then followed it up with the similar but more complex Meteora.
After the first two 2 “metal” albums, they started experimenting with their sound. They collaborated with Jay Z on an EP called Collision Course, and released a remix album called Reanimation. Their third studio album, Minutes to Midnight, was a rock album (at best), pop rock is probably fairer though. A Thousand Suns was a melodramatic, arty political statement that doesn’t work musically and Living Things added a bit more angst and a lot more electronica. The Hunting Party returned, slightly, to a heavier rock sound and that leads us to One More Light.
Basically, you never know what you are going to get with Linkin Park. They forged a career for themselves in rock and metal and are therefore often judged musically on how close they stay to that genre. Is that fair? Well, I think so yes. I am all for experimentation within the genre, as you can see by my review of Suicide Silence’ Doris, but I do not like bands, yep, I mean you Jonathon Davis, making their name and money in metal before turning their back on it.
Linkin Park’s new song Heavy, is not in any way, shape or form a metal, rock, indie or pop rock song. It is most definitely not “Heavy” but to be fair it probably wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Am I surprised? Well, no. Not really. As an artist, they have every right to do whatever they want. As an artist who made a name for themselves in metal, they also deserve to have their music judged by the metal community.
So on to the song itself, Heavy. It is a short song, thankfully, being just 2 minutes and 50 seconds long, and features a singer called Kiiara. Kiiara is an electronic pop singer/songwriter so alarm bells should be ringing instantly. As a song, Heavy is best described as R ‘n’ B or maybe electro pop or some other rubbish. It is a slow paced, boring song with sad lyrics about how heavy all their problems are. Vocally, Chester Bennington and Kiiara have nice voices but the song is so dull. It is blatantly made for the radio and will probably do very well outside of rock and metal. Trust me, pop can have this song. We don’t want it.
The resounding thought I have while listening to this is how bored the rest of the band must be. I am sure Mike Shinoda is behind a mixing desk. He certainly isn’t rapping here as even that would have increased the heaviness of Heavy a thousand fold. There is a drum beat but I am certain I could play it with one hand so am sure Rob Bourdon is asleep, playing with a drumstick between his toes or something to increase the challenge. As for guitars, they make a small appearance with a few seconds left in the track. If they are there beforehand, I can’t hear them over the noise. This isn’t for me at all.
Mike Shinoda had the following to say – “One thing that I am super excited about – I really want to make the riskiest songs now. I feel we’re at the point where we’ve handled so many things, and risky can be a lot of different kinds of risky. Risky can be the weirdest things – weirdest chord progressions or whatever – or it can be the poppiest thing that comes to mind that we just made work and sound very cool. I wanna make some songs that make you go, ‘Holy shit!’. We gotta find that.”
I can appreciate the fact that both singers here are good singers. They have nice voices and the lyrical content works with their voices. I can also appreciate that it is just a single and may not be representative of the whole album. Having said that, it is the lead single so this is probably what to expect from the album as a whole. Now, with that appreciation aside I can honestly tell you that I really don’t like this song. It is musically dull and lacks depth and creativity. It is bad pop music from a good rock band and I don’t get it. I really think Mike Shinoda needs to consider his definition of risky.
As always, these are just the opinions of GBHBL writers so we would always suggest you try the song out for yourself. You can check it out here. Let me know what you think of it. Heavy is available now on all the normal streaming sites like Apple Music and Spotify. If you like what you hear, why not pre order the album from here. Check out Linkin Park at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up to date information on further releases and all other information.
Heavy by Linkin Park (One More Light)
The Final Score - 2/10