Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has been speaking out regarding the backlash the band have been facing over the direction of their new album, “One More Light“, which seems largely tailored to the pop genre. Last week Bennington tweeted:
Someone asked why I don’t sing scream about teen angst anymore?….. I said ” because I’m 41″
— Chester Bennington (@ChesterBe) March 15, 2017
Meanwhile, Bennington has told Rock Sound of the origins of the writing for “One More Light“:
“We actually started writing some really interesting pop music before we wrote ‘The Hunting Party’. We started down a pretty clear path of writing some pretty serious pop music.
Mike was giving me litmus tests like, ‘Hey, what would you say if I said… let’s do a collaboration with Katy Perry or Kelly Clarkson?’ and I was like, ‘Fuck yeah! I actually really like pop music.’
It was just a test to see if I’d go, ‘Absolutely not, that makes me want to puke’ or if I’d be open to the idea, and I’m pretty much open to anything.”
He later said of the band taking risks:
“Starting from ‘Minutes To Midnight’ on, it’s like, ‘Let’s take some fucking risks’. If the songs are great, that should be all that matters.
We feel like we’re pushing ourselves creatively. If we write a bunch of pop songs that suck, we’ve definitely taken a wrong turn, if we write a bunch of metal songs that suck, we’ve taken a wrong turn.
It doesn’t matter what style we write in, as long as it comes from a pure place and it’s something that we pour our hearts and souls into, we can deal with what happens from that point forward and we’re pretty confident that even if it may be shocking to some people – or even everybody at first – sometimes for us it was like, ‘We know we’re going to make a lot of people go, ‘What the heck is this? Who is this?’ and we also know we’re gonna make a lot of people go, ‘What the fuck happened to my band?’.
I think for us, creativity is way too big to be put in a box, and for us we’re not a one trick pony. We like to really play with our palette and expand our abilities as songwriters and performers, and that’s what we did on this record.”
He also spoke of the band originally being pigeonholed in the nü metal genre:
“We don’t want to be bound by a genre. It’s not like we hate nu metal music. What we hated was being branded as something. If it’s just hard rock, we’d be like, ‘are these people listening to the record?’ but we could equally be called a hip hop group, an electronic group, an alternative band. There are so many different parts to what we’re doing. That’s why we called it ‘Hybrid Theory’…”
It turns out a number of personal issues and situations with friends and family led to him being quite unhappy a few years prior, as he in part stated:
“…Where I’m at right now in 2017 is as far on the opposite side of the scale to where I was at this time in 2015. I literally hated life and I was like, ‘I don’t want to have feelings. I want to be a sociopath. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to care what other people feel like. I want to feel nothing’.
“And now I’m like, ‘Bring it on!’ I hated living at this time in 2015, and I absolutely love it right now, and I don’t feel like it’s some manic back and forth. I feel like it was a legitimate breakdown of me as a human being and then going through all of the effort and hard work it takes to rebuild it and reaping the rewards. A huge part of that is being able to be open and honest and real with the people in my life, and that means my band members and being able to put it down in music and get it out…”
For more from Bennington on how they wrote this latest album differently and the personal struggles behind it, head to Rock Sound. “One More Light” will be released on May 19th.