Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington has defended the band against the backlash caused by the pop direction of its new album, One More Light. Speaking with Rock Sound, Bennington said that the group began writing pop songs even before recording its heavy 2014 album, The Hunting Party. He explained, “We started down a pretty clear path of writing some pretty serious pop music. Mike (Shinoda, co-vocalist) 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 continued, “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.”

  • Bennington added that the group started taking risks as far as back as its third CD, Minutes To Midnight, saying, “If the songs are great, that should be all that matters. We feel like we’re pushing ourselves creatively . . . 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.”
  • The singer also revealed that he went through a number of personal and family issues over the last couple of years that inspired the lyrics on the new disc, saying, “I literally hated life . . . 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.”
  • Bennington told us a while back that he has often thrived as an artist on drama and turmoil: [“For some reason, I feel comfortable being in uncomfortable situation(s). I don’t like it, I don’t like being tormented, so to speak, but for some reason, I’m drawn to — I feel more comfortable as a person being in chaos or being in a crappy situation because I’m used to that. Ever since I was really young, it’s always been chaotic and always been crazy, there’s always some kind of drama, and so I’ve just become accustomed to that.”]
  • One More Light is due out May 19th. The band has released two songs so far from the record, “Heavy” and “Battle Symphony.”
  • “Heavy” features guest vocals from Kiara Saulters, and was co-written with pop songwriter Emily Wright, who has worked with artists like Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.
  • Linkin Park has already started booking dates in Latin America, Europe and Asia, but has yet to announce North American tour plans.