Just two days ago, it was suddenly revealed to the world that Linkin Park vocalist, Chester Bennington, had tragically committed suicide at his home in Los Angeles, California, two months after releasing their comeback studio album One More Light. Despite no further information regarding the bands future or endeavours, I decided to conduct this list as a tribute to one of the best, most beloved and progressive bands of the 21st century. I think it’s wise to say that every 90s/80s kid knew who Linkin Park was; whether they liked them or not, they’re vulnerable lyrical content and dynamic metal style really changed the music landscape, and brought a whole new dimension within it’s genre. Now, the list I’ve conducted are my own personal favourites, but a lot of theme are recognisable to the days, so I’ll say no more and discuss my favourite Linkin Park tracks.
Breaking the Habit
Probably one of the most beloved tracks in their entire discography, the electronica-driven number “Breaking the Habit” completely swept me off my feet when it was originally released back in June 2004. The intensity of it’s lyrical content, with lead singer Chester singing the track consistently, was blended so exquisitely with a more subtle composition, in comparison to the rest of the material from their second studio album Meteora. And let’s not forget the anime-esque music video, which features the band in a sci-li dystopia. An absolute classic that completely edified the group from their typical nu-metal style.
In the End
Wow, this track brings me back to the child-years of Mr. Liam. “In the End” was a pretty calm rock number that was recognized for it’s memorable piano riffs and heavy-hearted chorus, which had Chester and band mate, Mike Shinoda, blending their dynamic rapping and screamo techniques to harmonize a rather iconic end-result. This heavily reminds me when I was younger and would often watch rock bands on MTV performing the SHIT out of their songs (I’m talking like early 2000s era). A remarkable song with a straightforward yet harrowing message.
Linkin Park worked on the Transformers movie numerous times, hitting off their collaboration with the international hit “What I’ve Done”. But after the second film came out, so did Linkin Park, and the electronic-driven rock tune “New Divide” did not disappoint. This was the beginning of the electronic era of the group, who channelled this route with their future releases including A Thousand Suns and Living Things, but as usual, Linkin Park new how to convey their originality into a song like “New Divide” and completely SLAY the track.
Linkin Park, in the past, have exposed their softer side to the audiences, which has shifted a mixed response over the years. Nevertheless, their ballads have stood out in my opinion, mainly due to the complex songwriting, experimental production and Chester’s signature raspy vocals. “Not Alone”, a touching pop-rock ballad that has Chester singing throughout the entire song, was used as a promotional release for the tragic Haiti earthquake that occured back in 2010. This was yet another example of Linkin Park’s versatility as artists, and their generous nature towards a project like Music for Relief.
Probably their most iconic single, “Numb” conveyed many remarkable traits that has become timeless and absolutely recognizable since its release. The songwriting has always been one of their stronger suits, and their straightforward message with this song comes off extremely touching, melancholic yet somewhat empowering and understandable. Again, their particular instrumentation and production has aged like fine wine over the years, and listening to a song like “Numb” sends chills down my spine. And their beast-of-a-chorus holds one of their most treasured lines, “I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there,”.
One Step Closer
Ahhhhhhhh, the memories of a child. This is where it all started, the underground rock-filled instrumentation of “One Step Closer”. What’s funny about this track—particularly the msuic video—is that it started that complete brat-pack trend; dyed spiky hair, loose-as-F clothing, piercings, tattoos, etc. Uggghhh, you name it. But this is an absolute classic in my eyes; the chorus is still F-ing memorable after all these years, and the production of the track still sounds crisp as ever. If only artists would be as more inventive and different like Linkin Park these days (no tea no shade…).
Oh my god, this is my F-ing jam! Every single time this song comes on, this makes me head-bang, rap the damn lyrics like my bloody life was depending on it, and scream it with all the air in my lounges. It absolutely adore the production and composition of the track so much that I even have the instrumental mix to get me going on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, it didn’t fair the same fate as the likes of “In the End” or “Crawling”—all three tracks homed to the infamous record Hybrid Theory—but if none of y’all have heard this song… you NEED to literally jam to this song. You will not be disappointed.
Shadow of the Day
“Shadow of the Day”, to me, saw a more lean towards the contemporary pop wave that kinda infected many musicians during the mid 2000s period. Whether it was R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock, or Classical music, the pop element sure lingered on many musicians. One of them were Linkin Park of course, and their experimentation of the genre conveyed perfectly well on the well-rounded anthem “Shadow of the Day”. It’s one of their more light-hearted numbers, and definitely a track that deserved A LOT better than what it got.
Somewhere I Belong
The lead single from their critically acclaimed follow-up Meteora in 2003, “Somewhere I Belong” saw a slight well-executed shift to a radio-friendly metal sound. And yet again, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda’s abilities to blend rap and screamo-and-singing techniques became ever more stronger with “Somewhere I Belong”, and even the instrumentation of the band moulded the track to pure perfection. Fun fact, but this single was Linkin Park’s only number one charting number in my home country of New Zealand, which shows that they were COVERED with a wave of die-hard fans everywhere.
What I’ve Done
Another immaculate number that is easily recognized for a simple instrument riff at the start. Linkin Park were one of the only bands post-2000s to consistently offer memorable key sections and get us all OVER IT! “What I’ve Done” was used as the theme song for the Transformers film back in 2007, and to this day, it still stands amongst one of the most instantly memorable tracks of the 2000s. I don’t think any person would be able to listen to this track and NOT KNOW who sings it. It’s just an inevitable masterpiece in my opinion.
- Battle Symphony
- Leave Out All the Rest
- Waiting for the End
- Burn it Down
- With You
To conclude my list, I would like to personally thank Linkin Park, as a fan, for all the years of glorious music you’ve put out. You’ve touched many with your music and your songwriting, and have continued with versatility and unity to provide us fans with dynamic changes in sound and blown expectations out of the water. Sending prayers to Linkin Park, Mr. Bennington’s family and children,
Heaven just only got louder. Rest in peace Chester Bennington, you will be missed.