I know, I know, long time Linkin Park fans, the title of this post is borderline blasphemy, but I assure you, it isn’t click bait. Meteora is a better album than Hybrid Theory and it’s time you all accept this simple truth. This post was initially planned out around the 15th anniversary of Meteora, but I had other things going on. Why drop it now? Well, Mike Shinoda has a new album dropping, Friday June 15 and I figure I might as well get you all to open your eyes before then.
I will admit, I came aboard the LP fan train way later than most (around 2008), but that alone is what qualifies me to make this statement. I am not blinded by the nostalgia you felt when the (then) groundbreaking debut album of Linkin Park dropped. I have had friends and former bandmates threaten to fight me over this opinion but I will not budge. I decided sometime in my sojourn from hiphop into other genres to go back into LP’s discography, which at the time, was only 3 albums and a classic mash-up with the GOAT. I went in reverse order, starting with Minutes To Midnight, to Meteora, to Hybrid Theory. When I was finished with Hybrid Theory, as amazing as it was, it just felt like the warm up to Meteora.
I know, Hybrid Theory has hits like “In The End”, “One Step Closer”, “Papercuts”, etc., but this isn’t about those hits, it’s about the music itself. Meteora is the perfected version of Hybrid Theory. One is Kaio Ken, the other is Super Saiyan. Literally everything about the album, it’s composition, the lyrics, the interplay between Mike and Chester (RIP!) and even the album sequencing were done better on Meteora. In fact, LP will probably tell you that after Meteora, there was nothing left for them to accomplish that sound. They were so bored with it, the follow up was a contemporary rock album co-produced by Rick Rubin (MTM has probably aged the best out of all of their albums btw).
If you don’t believe me, just go back and listen. Take the nostalgia blinders off and listen to the albums in their entirety, back to back. When you’re done, tell me one of these albums doesn’t sound like the perfected version of the other. There’s no arguing that Meteora didn’t have near the impact that Hybrid Theory did, but it was never going to. The sequel rarely gets the love the original does. Which is why I’m not mad that LP has changed styles every album since. Why give you an album you’ll just chop down in favor of it’s less polished predecessor simply because the singles were bigger?
I’m sure very few of you will actually admit that I’m right, and that’s fine. You and I both know that I am and that’s what’s important here. Somewhere in your mind, you know Meteora is the far superior album and when you realize this, I’ll be back telling you why neither one of these is their best album.