Linkin Park fans have been at ends over the band’s pop direction on One More Light as evident by the two singles “Heavy” and “Battle Symphony.” But the group has a history of exploring new musical territory and Chester Bennington has offered a detailed account of their change in style.
Speaking with RockSound, the singer explained Linkin Park’s willingness to try new things and that the band “actually started writing some really interesting pop music” before The Hunting Party. “Mike [Shinoda] 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, ‘F–k yeah! I actually really like pop music,’” Bennington recalled. “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 added.
While the new material and direction have caught fans off guard, Bennington stated the band decided to “take some f–king risks” on Minutes to Midnight in 2007. “If the songs are great, that should be all that matters,” he affirmed. “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.”
Continuing this notion, the frontman elaborated, “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.”
Understanding there can be some backlash, he said, “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 f–k happened to my band?’”
One More Light will be out on May 19 and pre-orders can be placed at the Linkin Park webstore.