Linkin Park, "One More Light Live" (Warner Bros.)
It's unescapably heartbreaking to listen to Linkin Park's new album. The reason is right there in the title: Live.
Five months after singer Chester Bennington hanged himself, the band has released "One More Light Live," an album to cherish even if some fans disliked the pop direction the group had recently taken.
Here, we get to hear again that unmistakable voice, both delicate and ferocious. Here, we get to celebrate a unique talent, even as we say goodbye.
"Who cares if one more light goes out?/In the sky of a million stars," Bennington sings in the fragile song "One More Light." He answers: "Well, I do." It's hard not to get emotional hearing him reaching out to someone in trouble and knowing his light would go out soon.
Recorded earlier this summer during the band's tour through South America and Europe, the album is naturally top-heavy with songs from the latest album, with seven of the 16 tracks pulled from "One More Light."
So it's not a greatest hits, but it still has essential Linkin Park tunes like "Crawling," "Numb," "In the End," "What I've Done" and "Burn It Down." (The only guest is Stormzy, who reprises his rap on "Good Goodbye.")
Yes, the editing is ragged, with some songs cutting off abruptly, weird extraneous stuff lingering in the mix and intros sometimes attached to previous songs. But the instruments are clear and the crowd noise is well balanced. As the band says in the liner notes, the album is a "glimpse into how magical these shows were for the six of us."
The L.A.-based metal-rap genre-benders often dealt with depression, anguish and alienation in their lyrics and those words haunt the album as the band pushes through its set.
"I don't like my mind right now," Bennington sings on "Heavy." On the song "Battle Symphony," he begs: "Please just don't give up on me." One song from the new album — "Nobody Can Save Me" — talks of storm clouds and "darkness inside." Bennington's voice sounds torn in the ominous "Leave Out All the Rest," a song about someone looking back from their own death.
Whether by design or happenstance, the album ends with "Bleed It Out" from the CD "Minutes to Midnight" — and a sonic punch of horror. That's the song with the lyrics: "Find a new place to hang this noose/String me up from atop these roofs/Knot it tight so I won't get loose."
The last things were hear on the album are cheering crowds and feedback. The sorrow we add ourselves.