By: Connor Glowacki
Was I a tad harsh in my review of 'Heavy', the lead single from alternative rock band Linkin Park's upcoming seventh album 'One More Light'?
But I stand by what I said a few weeks ago as the song being a big disappointment from the perspective of a long-time Linkin Park fan. And 'Heavy' accomplished what Linkin Park had sought out to do, which was to get the band back on the pop charts and into the mainstream consciousness.
'Heavy' has so far peaked at No. 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 and with its music video racking up millions of views so far, I could see it climbing even higher. Yet even though 'Heavy' still remains a bland pop cash-grab, it is undeniably catchy and does stick in your head, for better or worse.
I can't say the same thing about Linkin Park's latest single, 'Battle Symphony.'
From what starts out as a surprisingly layered, interesting and catchy synth-filled instrumental intro, everything plateaus from the first verse through the end of the song. The same beat repeats itself over and over throughout 'Battle Symphony' and I just don't hear a catchy enough melody here to keep me invested as a listener.
The lyrics focus on an inspirational theme of overcoming one's obstacles and it's a tried-and-true theme for rock bands to tackle. But the lyrical content is so bland on 'Battle Symphony' that limits the song from standing out on its own. There's nothing descriptive in the message and there has to be more energy from lead singer Chester Bennington's vocals to sell any impact of the lyrics and the emotion falls flat here. Linkin Park has done these types of songs MUCH better in the past ('What I've Done', 'Breaking The Habit', etc).
Again, I don't hear a band on this song, but it doubles-down that Linkin Park will make a 'poppy' kind of record for 'One More Light.' Pop is fine, but it still has to be interesting and aesthetically appeasing for it to be good.
There's really not much more to add about 'Battle Symphony.'
It's bland, sterile and ultimately forgettable. And it pains me to say that 'Heavy' is the better song of the two and ended up being the better lead single choice. The instrumentation isn't particularly interesting, the vocals are sweet but lack any urgency for this type of song template, and the lyrical content feels generic. I know Linkin Park can do better, but I'm afraid I'm not going to see those top-tier performances on 'One More Light.'
RATING: 2 Out Of 5 (**)
What did you think about 'Battle Symphony'? And with two songs now released off of 'One More Light', how do you feel about Linkin Park's upcoming seventh album? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or by letting me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.