Linkin Park returns with a 20th anniversary edition of ‘Meteora’


Stefan Branding

Linkin Park performing in Germany in 2014

by Eddie Slavin, Reporter

Linkin Park is one of the most popular bands of the early 2000’s, quickly taking off after their debut album, “Hybrid Theory.” Just three years later, the band put out another album, “Meteora.”

In the 20 years “Meteora” has been out, it has continued to be the favorite album among fans. In spite of its popularity, band member Mike Shinoda did not originally have plans to revisit the album and look for lost tracks with the late lead singer, Chester Bennington.

One of the reasons “Meteora” was not originally going to be revisited was because a few short years prior in 2020, Shinoda and the band revisited “Hybrid Theory,” and the likelihood of finding brand new demos was low.

Shinoda’s plans changed when he found a lost song on an old hard drive aptly named “Lost.” It was an incredible stroke of luck that Shinoda found Lost, as in the subsequent search, band members would uncover multiple great demos and unheard songs.

Lost” was released in February to the surprise and excitement of fans. Quickly after the release, “Lost” became the #1 alternative rock song in the United States.

“Lost” is a stunning song; the vocals of Bennington are strikingly beautiful, and the vocals hit very hard with the added knowledge it has been almost seven years since Bennington tragically took his own life.

Even better than the music and vocals of “Lost” is its meaning. “Lost” is about the pain that life has, trying to break free from the pain, and the difficulty of growing and changing as a person.

Similar to many Linkin Park songs, the meaningful lyrics stem from Bennington’s past and the horrible sexual abuse he went through when he was young. “Lost” is about growing from past events and being lost in the memories of the past, a parallel to Bennington’s early life.

Aside from “Lost,” there were five other previously unheard songs released. Another one of those songs released in late March was “Fighting Myself.” This song was another work of art. Similar to “Lost” and most of Linkin Park’s songs, “Fighting Myself” is just what it seems: a song about fighting with the thoughts within one’s head.

Some of the new songs could have been very early versions of songs that would be later released by the band. Although no one from the band has explicitly said this, the song “More the Victim” is very similar to Linkin Park’s song “VICTIMIZED,” a song that was a part of the 2012 album “LIVING THINGS.”

The entire 20th-anniversary version of the “Metora” album is extremely strong. The first few songs are remasters of the original songs of “Meteora,” followed by live recordings and demos. All of the demos are great; it is so incredible fans get to hear the early versions of songs they have come to love.

There is only one track that falls a little flat, that being “I Sold My Soul to Yo Mama.” Of course, the title is absolutely incredible, but that might be one of the only things the song has going for it. While the melody is nice, it is still a jarringly unfinished song, with only background vocals and very unpolished music.

Out of all the demos that do not have lyrics, “Cumulus – 2002 Demo” is the best one. The melody is absolutely addictive. It is truly a shame that it was never finished.

According to Shinoda, the band tried many times to make the song work, but it didn’t match the sound they wanted, Shinoda described it as leaning too far away from the hip-hop and hard rock mix that Linkin Park is known for.

Although never finished, “Cumulus – 2002 Demo” is the base of the background music of the aforementioned “More the Victim.” While this background music of “More the Victim” is almost identical to “Cumulus – 2002 Demo,” the two have their differences, because just like Shinoda said, it just never fully worked out.

In addition to hearing previously unreleased songs, there were a number of demos of early versions of songs in the album. A great example of this is the song “Faint,” quite possibly the best Linkin Park song. In the album, there is the remastered version of “Faint” fans know and love, but there are also two more. The first is “Faint – Demo 2002,” and as the name implies, it is a demo of “Faint” from 2002. The last  is “Faint – Meteora|20 Demo.” This demo consists of a combination of the initial version of “Faint” and the modern version.

Overall, “Meteora 20th Anniversary Edition” is an incredible album, and Linkin Park will most definitely be remembered as one of the greatest bands of all time. The iconic hybrid of hip-hop and hard rock is one that is instantly recognizable, and the wonderfully addictive songs of this album and many of their others will leave people unable to stop listening once they press start.