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Linkin Park: Every album ranked from worst to best

by John Paul
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Origination:               Agoura Hills, California.

Founding Members: Mike Shinoda (vocalist, rhythm guitarist, keyboard player); Brad Delson (Lead guitarist); Dave Farrell (bassist); Joe Hahn (DJ/turntablist); Rob Bourdon (drummer); Mark Wakefield (Vocalist) and Late Chester Bennington (Lead vocalist, songwriter).

Active years:              1996-2017

Setting aside the basic credential of the American rock band, 21st century did not see any other band go bigger than Linkin Park. Unfortunately, they did not have the pioneering cachet of Deftones or Korn. The early critics churlishly labeled them a nu metal “boy band.” However, the public found their sound irresistible, which drew on rock, hip hop, and even industrial music. As a result, they sold 70 million records and played countless massive headlining shows.

They experimented with several styles in the second half of their career, with some more successful than others; nonetheless, the terrible death of co-vocalist Chester Bennington in 2017 put an end to everything.

Since the rest of the bandmates showed no desire to reactivate the band without their late colleague, Linkin Park’s catalog currently sits at six studio albums and a high-profile collaboration with rapper Jay-Z. This content ranks their albums from worst to greatest.

ALBUM REVIEW: Linkin Park - 'One More Light' - SYN Media

Image Courtesy: SYN Media

  1. One More Light

Year: 2017

Sales: 270000 in the US

Unfortunately, their final album is also their most disjointed one. The band opted to go full pop after returning to the nu-metal sound of their earlier albums on their previous album, The Hunting Party. The songs were given a pop sheen with the help of outside songwriters who had previously collaborated with artists like Kelly Clarkson, Sia, and 5 Seconds of Summer, relegating the guitars to the background. While the production values of One More Light are high, the album lacks the passion and intensity of the band’s earlier efforts. In addition, their collaborative effort with rappers Stormzy and Pusha T, titled Only Good Goodbye, goes against the grain.

A Thousand Suns - Widescreen Edit Wallpaper (2533x1425) : r/LinkinPark

Image Courtesy: Reddit

  1. A Thousand Suns

Year: 2010

Sales: 906000 in the US

With their fourth studio album, Linkin Park dramatically departed from their previous sound, trading in the distorted guitars and heavy drums for an expansive, electronic-led sound. A sudden desire for political hand-wringing was also reflected by samples of speeches from US activist Mario Savio and Martin Luther King. Artists shouldn’t be stagnant, but channeling U2 and Peter Gabriel on songs like “Wretches and Kings” and “The Catalyst” was a bit too much. The album became the result of an unsuccessful experiment.

Linkin Park - LIVING THINGS Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Image Courtesy: Genius

  1. Living Things

Year: 2012

Sales: 681000 in the US

Although One More Light was Linkin Park’s first foray into electropop, the band’s 2012 album Living Things was far more successful in fusing electropop with their nu-metal sound. This album, the band’s second with producer Rick Rubin, toned down the experimentation and expansiveness of A Thousand Suns without completely abandoning it. The first two songs, “Burn It Down” and “Lost in The Echo,” have a traditional stomping sound, and “Castle of Glass” is a properly eerie ballad. Yet, despite its flaws and uneven quality, it has its share of memorable moments.

The Hunting Party - Plugged In

Image Courtesy: Plugged In

  1. The Hunting Party

Year: 2014

Sales: 231150 in the US

After the experimental nature of Living Things and A Thousand Suns, the band has returned to nu metal, taking inspiration from their own breakthrough album, Hybrid Theory. Guilty All the Same and the blazing Daron Malakian duet Rebellion are the music of a band rolling back the time and having fun while doing it, even if it could never match the youthful power of those early songs.

The Legacy Of Chester Bennington & Linkin Park | by Sheldon Rocha Leal, PhD | Medium

Image Courtesy: Medium

  1. Collision Course with Jay-Z

Year: 2004

Sales: 1934000

It was produced for the show MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups, which featured collaborations between musicians from different genres, as the name suggests. Jay-Z, a rapper, made a special request of Linkin Park, and the band enthusiastically agreed to collaborate. The chemistry between the two artists was so strong that a two-song plan quickly grew into a six-song EP, with the band re-recording their songs to complement Jay-Z’s. This is especially clear on the Numb/Encore and Jigga What/Faint tracks when the two methods work together flawlessly.

Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Image Courtesy: Genius

  1. Minutes to Midnight

Year: 2007

Sales: 3300000

Minutes To Midnight was a stepping stone between Linkin Park’s nu-metal roots and their future as a more experimental, electronic group. The result was a strong concoction that displayed some spectacular moments, most notably the searing Bleed It Out and two lighters-aloft anthems, What I’ve Done and Leave Out All the Rest, that display the versatility of Bennington’s vocals. It has some flaws, but the pluses much outweigh the minuses.

How Linkin Park's Meteora fought the odds and won | Kerrang!

Image Courtesy: Kerrang!

  1. Meteora

Year: 2003

Sales: 6200000

Once the jagged riff that drives the opening single Don’t Stay on Meteora kicked in, all concerns about Linkin Park’s ability to repeat the massive popularity of 2003’s Hybrid Theory were put to rest. With producer Don Gilmore back on board and the album clocking in at just under 37 minutes, the band kept true to the blueprint they’d set out for themselves on their debut. Admittedly, it may not have as many chart-topping singles as Hybrid Theory. Still, songs like “Faint,” “Numb,” “From the Inside,” “Breaking the Habit,” and “Somewhere I Belong” remained constant hits in the band’s live performance throughout their career.

Revisiting Linkin Park's Debut Album 'Hybrid Theory' (2000) | Retrospective Tribute

Image Courtesy: Retrospective Tribute

  1. Hybrid Theory

Year: 2000

Sales: 10500000 in the US

With any other band, you can argue which album is their best, but with Linkin Park, there’s no contest. Their “Hybrid Theory” is undoubtedly their best. The band’s debut album was released in 2000 and has since sold 27 million copies (12 million sold in the first year). The album’s 37-minute length is completely utilized, from the raw strength of Papercut and the grandiose At the End to the thunderous riffage of One Step Closer and the doomy ballad Crawling. Even now, over two decades after its release, Hybrid Theory remains a classic 21st-century modern rock. Of course, Linkin Park could not top it, but after all, only a handful of bands have been able to do it.



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