(2003) Linkin Park – Meteora: Anniversary Special


There are success stories that revolve around lineup changes and then there are success stories that revolve around certain albums or even songs. In LINKIN PARK’s case, it had to do with dealing and matching (if not even surpassing) the massive success of their debut album, 2000’s “Hybrid Theory,” which practically made them overnight rock stars. Is not easy for any band to have this much riding on their sophomore album, but somehow LINKIN PARK rose to the challenge with “Meteora.” The album was released on March 25th, 2003, via Warner Bros. Records, and today we are celebrating its 20-year anniversary.

Not tampering much with a formula that worked extremely well the first time around, “Meteora” sees the American band delivering more of their already iconic angsty lyrics to the masses while the vocal interplay between Chester Bennington (RIP) and Mike Shinoda was once again implemented to perfection. With a sound similar to a refined version of “Hybrid Theory,” “Meteora” sold over 20 million copies worldwide, thus cementing LINKIN PARK’s status as a band with a relatable message for teens (and adults) everywhere. Even today, listening back to not just these thirteen songs but to most of their discography, it feels like their message is as universal as it is atemporal, since I, for one, still relate to many of their lyrics. These are themes that don’t go away or become irrelevant just because you grow up; on the contrary, they stay with you because these verses reflect real-life situations and deep-seated emotions. The fact that they tapped into that psychological well of emotions (as much their own as everybody else’s) coupled with Chester Bennington‘s emotional vocal delivery was LINKIN PARK‘s golden ticket beyond the sonic gimmicks they employed that indeed helped them establish a unique identity.

Pushed into mainstream popularity by the strength of singles “Somewhere I Belong,” “Breaking the Habit,” “Faint,” and “Numb,” the album proved to be just as strong and powerful as its predecessor. While “Faint” could have easily found a home on the tracklist of “Hybrid Theory,” the other three singles mentioned showcased a certain sonic evolution and a lyrical sophistication, thus confirming that their debut wasn’t just a one-off success story. Things were more layered and had more depth than that as LINKIN PARK polished their sound and image on “Meteora.” They knew what they wanted to achieve and took working on this album very seriously and maturely. They also just went for it, writing almost eighty songs, from which they selected thirteen. In this respect, “Meteora” represented the fulfillment of their collective vision while also satiating their need to experiment and play around with riffs, vocal melodies, and sounds that started with the remix album “Reanimation” (2002).

Apart from these all too well-known titles, the rest of the tracks on “Meteora” are not exactly fillers either, as the band continued to blend everything from hip-hop and metal to electronica and pop into their own brand of nu-metal. “Lying From You” was a major radio hit single, boasting viola samples and even the sounds of a car burning out, while heavy “From the Inside” featured screamed vocals from Chester Bennington that contrast with Mike Shinoda’s calmer, almost whispery, vocal delivery. In between such tracks as anguish-laden “Don’t Stay” and “Hit the Floor,” it’s easy to understand why this album was viewed as a continuation of “Hybrid Theory,” which it was… up to a point. Nonetheless, “Meteora” held much more depth and was bigger in scope than their debut ever was, as evidenced by such emotional numbers as “Easier to Run” and “Nobody’s Listening.”  

 The weirdest thing about this album, however, is the fact that, out of everything, it was instrumental piece “Session” – which features samples, turntables scratches, and a variety of electronic sounds from Joe Hahn – that received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance… though it didn’t win. The Grammy win would come in 2006 for the “Numb/Encore” collaboration between the band and American rapper Jay-Z, taken from the 6-track EP “Collision Course” (2004). The subsequent performance with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney has become an iconic moment in mainstream culture on its own.

All-in-all, “Hybrid Theory” put LINKIN PARK on the proverbial map, but it was “Meteora” that gave them lasting recognition. Though many still gravitate to this album because it holds sentimental value or because they find peace and solace in the lyrics, or in Chester Bennington’s delivery, “Meteora” still offers a cathartic experience to the listeners. Regardless of your thoughts on the band and their songs, the fact of the matter is that LINKIN PARK – through these two albums – played a huge part in shaping the musical landscape of the early 2000s. That is, in itself, a success story that few can touch, not to mention match. I don’t think we will see a cultural phenomenon like LINKIN PARK again in this lifetime.  

I’ll leave you with the recently released “Lost,” an outtake from the “Meteora” recording sessions that didn’t make the cut for the album’s final tracklist…

Written by Andrea Crow


  • Foreword
  • Don’t Stay
  • Somewhere I Belong
  • Lying from You
  • Hit the Floor
  • Easier to Run
  • Faint
  • Figure.09
  • Breaking the Habit
  • From the Inside
  • Nobody’s Listening
  • Session
  • Numb


  • Chester Bennington – vocals
  • Rob Bourdon – drums, backing vocals
  • Brad Delson – guitar, backing vocals
  • Dave Farrell – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Joe Hahn – turntables, samples, backing vocals
  • Mike Shinoda – rap vocals, vocals, samples, strings arrangement


Warner Bros. Records


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