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Past Linkin Park albums have been met with some skepticism. For all their rave reviews, no album has touched the greatness of ‘Hybrid Theory’ from 2000. Besides the predicted but thankfully prevented computer crash of Y2K, ‘Hybrid Theory’ is one of the most celebrated rock albums of an entire generation. Fans however, have argued over the albums that have come since then and many say that recent songs have been too melodic or lacked emotional depth in addition to sounding very main stream.
What made ‘Hybrid Theory’ was that it brought a new and exciting sound to rock music. The first single “One Step Closer” is the most known song for Linkin Park concert goers since the band plays this at nearly every single concert, usually as the closing number. This particular single featured Chester Bennington in his dual role as a screaming head banger style lead vocalist rather than the more haunting slow vocals he is known for. Bennington is truly a talented and versatile vocalist, especially when combined with the deliberately paced style of Mike Shinoda.
One of the best singles off ‘Hybrid Theory’, “In the End,” mixed together Mike Shinoda’s rap styles and Chester Bennington’s haunting vocals. Both vocalists are so versatile that new listeners were taken aback whenever songs changed from one singer to the other, usually with overlaps. It is their fluid rap style combined with hard hitting vocals that first drew the notice of new listeners. No matter the vocal style though, fans were drawn to the lyrical truths that Linkin Park sang in their music, imbuing authenticity from the very start of the first songs.
Most fans will agree that the lyrics are the most important aspect of Linkin Park songs because they have this fantastic ability to connect with listeners in a way that many other bands fail to achieve. Their lyrics say: ‘we understand, we’re here with you’. It gives the lost and confused, the angry and upset, a place to call home. The early songs from Linkin Park sheltered the hurt in all of us and gave voice to the fears that listeners couldn’t vocalize on their own. More than ten years after the album was released, the songs still sound as fresh and relevant as ever.
After ‘Hybrid Theory’, ‘Reanimation’ from 2002 was something of an anomaly since it mixed different styles of music together with songs from ‘Hybrid Theory’. This was not a studio released album but many fans still felt as if they received a new album given how different some of the original songs were from the first Linkin Park album. Remixing a lot of new elements into the unofficial album, Linkin Park used violins, electronic notes as well as remixing the pace of the songs. This was an experimental album where they took plenty of risks, leading some fans to regard this album as early dubstep remixing.
The following studio album ‘Meteora’ was a huge hit in 2003, selling more than 3 million copies alone in the first year of its release but still not a huge as the 4.5 million first year release of ‘Hybrid theory’. This album was so well received that nearly ten years after its release, more than 12 million copies have been sold. Many singles both matched and broke the mould that Linkin Park had set for itself with songs like “Numb”, “Breaking the Habit” and “Somewhere I belong.” These joined songs from ‘Hybrid Theory’ on any Linkin Park fans permanent playlist.
2005 saw the rise of Fort Minor, the hip-hop side project for Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda. As a side project separate from Linkin Park, it did not quite garner as much fan attention but was still an integral part of the progression for Linkin Park. It confirms the band’s urge to experiment and keep things as fresh as possible. Fort Minor released in 2005 an album titled ‘The Rising Tied’ featuring singles such as “Remember the Name”, used in sports games and events while “Where’d you go” reached international success. This project was produced by both Mike Shinoda and rapper Jay-Z.
Image Courtesy of NRK P3