Despite a fan base somewhat polarized by the more pop-flavored sound of its new album, Linkin Park has scored its sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.
The new One More Light sold 111,000 copies in its first week, 100,000 of which were "traditional album sales" according to Nielsen Music. The achievement puts the group in rare company; Billboard reports that only eight other bands have had six No. 1 albums or more, including Metallica, Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, U2, Bon Jovi, the Eagles and the Dave Matthews Band.
The group's Mike Shinoda tells us that despite the fan reaction he got a sense that the album was headed for success just from the strong reaction to the first single, "Heavy," when it was released during February:
"The excitement around it has been kind of crazy...We put out a lot of first singles, and this is one where I'm actually kind of taken aback by the amount of excitement over the song and everything...Why we chose 'Heavy' as the first single is it is really the core sound of the album. This isn't a scenario where the whole album sounds one way and the single sounds different. This is how the album sounds. So we wanted to go out with a song like that, where everybody can kind of get a sense of the direction of this body of work."
Linkin Park begins a North American July 27 in Mansfield, Mass. The group will also perform on ABC's Good Morning America concert series on August 4 in New York City.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.