Disclaimer: This song contains explicit language.
Since Linkin Park formed in 1996, the rock collective have become a global sensation with the release of six studio albums that spawned their world-conquering hits "In the End," "Numb," "Crawling," "Burn It Down," and others. But for their seventh record One More Light, the official follow-up to 2014's Hunting Party, forget everything you know about the band -- they're departing from their rock core to champion a new sound.
Linkin Park shelved their internal songwriting process for the new album and invited their favorite music wordsmiths to collaborate with, including Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey) and prolific Top 40 hitmaker Julia Michaels, who gained notoriety for penning radio-reigning singles including Justin Bieber's "Sorry," Hailee Steinfeld's "Love Myself," and her own debut single "Issues" via Republic Records.
"When we started this [band], we had always written all of our albums ourselves...It's the band writing every song, every note, every word," Mike Shinoda told On Air with Ryan Seacrest in-studio Thursday morning. "And so at the beginning of this album, I said, 'We've never tried writing with somebody else who we consider to be a good writer."
After Shinoda, Chester Bennington, and Brad Delson sat down for a temperature check with Parker and Michaels to discuss what they felt like writing about -- which Shinoda said "changed everything" and helped the "idea of the song" -- the group left the table with the album's defining centerpiece, "Heavy." "This is exactly what the album sounds like," Shinoda teased. "This is the indication of the new sound."
The cut, featuring "Gold" singer and Linkin Park fan Kiiara, is driven by subdued synthetic beats and lyrics inspired by the heavy burdens of everyday life. Shinoda further detailed: "It's that feeling of when it rains, it pours. The thing that we wanted to get across that's such an important line is, 'If I just let go, I'd be set free.' It's about how all this stuff will happen, but how do I react to it?"
Shinoda continued to emphasize that the album was a step into a new direction to challenge the band and create something "way different" that reflects their family influences: "We put the album cover up and it's basically this ocean seascape and six kids playing in the water. For us, the reason we gravitated towards that image is because the guys in the band are family guys," he said. "We all have kids and stuff, and a lot of the stuff from the album was inspired by a lot of things that happened in our family."
The 10-song One More Light album arrives May 19 and their new single is out now via Warner Bros. Record. For the younger generation who aren't familiar with the nearly two-decade-old band and want to do a Google search, Shinoda reminded: 'It's L-I-N-K-I-N P-A-R-K."