Linkin Park's second album 'Meteora' was released 16 years ago today (March 25). But is it their best album?
Rock Sound staffer Jack Rogers is adament. Here's his argument for 'Meteora' being held above everything else Linkin Park have ever made.
As illustrious, varied and legendary as Linkin Park's career has been, one debate always comes to the forefront. What exactly is the best LP album? Despite every record exuding genius in its own unique way, it always seems to come down to the band's raging debut 'Hybrid Theory' or its acclaimed follow-up 'Meteora'.
Well I'm here to tell you that the debate is null, because the answer is 'Meteora'. And this is why.
Sure 'Hybrid Theory' will always be the purist's answer. It was the beginning of their journey. The shape of nu-metal to come. The crossover classic that sent ripples through the whole music world, not just the dingy rock clubs. It was the collection of songs that changed absolutely everything. Though it wasn't until 'Meteora' kicked down the door that LP really went into the stratosphere.
The beauty of the album lies into its universal accessibility. It takes everything that made the band so exciting and unique at the birth of nu-metal, ironed out the creases, added a lick of mainstream sensibility and crisp production and became a record that ripped hard and fast but also wouldn't sound out of place on daytime radio.
These 13 songs possessed the ability to incite raging moshpits anywhere they were blasted but could get the average music fan singing along as well. It introduced a group of people to an ocean of sound they would never have even dared to dip their toes in to previously.
Very few bands perfect that, but Linkin Park managed it without breaking a sweat.
The band also demonstrated that they knew exactly what they were doing as well. They could tell that nu-metal was coming to a head. It wasn't 2001 anymore. Red hair and cargo pants weren't going to cut it. They knew that if they didn't adapt to the times then they would sink and be nothing more than a flash in the pan.
And we haven't even scratched the surface of the record musically. From the pulsing industrial electronics of 'Don't Stay' through to the ravenous pace of 'Faint' right through the emotionally iconic 'Numb', every single element of this record is near perfect in execution and direction. The way that it leaps between savage riffing and heartfelt balladry. The fact that it features some of the hardest bars that Mike Shinoda had ever spat and some of the most soulful and devestating vocals Chester Bennington had committed to tape. Not to mention that it incorparated sampling and scratching techniques in a way that no-one else had even attemped. Every small detail works in perfect harmony to create a sound that has been imitated but never truly matched.
The band certainly didn't hold back lyrically either. Where 'Hybird Theory' was heavily fuelled on anger, 'Meteora' was much more introspective and personal. Below the musical experiementation, it delved into subjects such as depression, anxiety and the subsequent recovery in a totally transparent and raw manner. The fragility of 'Breaking The Habit' and 'Somewhere I Belong' gave those who couldn't find the words for how they were feeling something to hold on to. It let them know more than anything that they weren't alone in what they were going through. The power of music in full effect.
Don't forget that this is the record that caught the attention of Jay-Z and inspired one of the greatest collaborations of all time.
'Hybird Theory' may have loosened the foundations, but it was 'Meteora' that solidfied Linkin Park's legacy and carved it into the walls of history.
As fresh, fierce and fantastic today as it was when it was released, may its influence continue to resonate for decades to come.