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Linkin Park: Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) – A Personal Retrospective

Linkin Park Meteora
Bands: Linkin Park
Release: Meteora
Genre: Nu Metal
Country: USA (California)
Release Date:25th of March, 2003 / 7th of April, 2023
Released viaWarner Brothers Records
Cover ArtworkLinkin Park

In early February, Twitter flushed something down my timeline. I still don’t know why, because I don’t follow this band on Twitter. In general, I’ve had a hard time with them for years. It was a 30 second preview of a song that was not released 20 years ago. But now the song should be heard in the run-up to the anniversary and the associated anniversary edition in March. First thought was, of course: cash-cow. The band was also never squeamish with unpublished things to throw on the market again. Nevertheless, a click on the play button. I heard the first riffs, the first vocals. Woosh, the feeling of 20 years ago ran through my veins, just because I heard a snippet of the song “Lost” by Linkin Park.

I reached for my bookshelf. During my last move, many CDs did not make it along. The medium had become largely obsolete for my use. But I could not bring myself to leave Meteora behind. The first album I had consciously bought in the supermarket from my pocket money. An album that has shaped me extremely and I probably owe all the musical experience I had, made in all the years to this. The cover is pretty worn, the CD a bit scratched, but still it brought back all the memories, from the first portable CD player, to the first 256 MB MP3 player. Since the full release of “Lost” was still a few days away, why not throw Meteora in there again? For the sake of the good old days.

What I like so much about Meteora to this day, apart from the good memories, is how rough it is. Everyone was allowed to let off steam in some form, the mix that Nu-Metal at that time exuded in its purest form. Even if I think Hybrid Theory is a bit better overall as an album, because it’s more thorough, Meteora has the slightly better songs. Of course the absolute classic from Hybrid TheoryIn The End” is beyond suspicion, “Crawling” is still a huge hit to this day, but in my opinion one of the strongest songs is “Pushing Me Away” and it is only performed or recognized rarely. But as I said, Meteora is better positioned here. Probably the song on the album that unites everything “Somewhere I Belong” is still a banger for me. “Faint” is a much heavier riff-heavy song that has been able to draw many to his attention in recent years. The somewhat overlooked “Breaking The Habit“, which along with “Numb” probably has the best lyrics on the album.

Numb”. What can I say about this song? For me even a tad better than “In The End“. Everything is just right for me here. Chester’s voice, the riffs, Shinoda’s vocals and musical accompaniment, the hard and soft phases. A wonderful song that will forever have a special place in my heart.

In the meantime, I listened to the 30-second snippet more often and imagined how the song would be. As in the past? After all, it was written in the period of Meteora. Also the Internet became already quite hyped, the anticipation rose. Even after the death of Chester Bennington in the summer of 2017, which had also taken me, this was one of the few real signs of life of the band. Two days before release I discovered a 2:30 min fanmade “Lost” song from the snippets that were released in advance, that was listened in its entirety a few times. On February 10th the time had come, “Lost” was released on all streaming-platforms.

I’m lost in these memories
Living behind my own illusion
Lost all my dignity
Living inside my own confusion


The chorus gave me goosebumps for the first time, despite the teasers. Is this the Linkin Park that I missed so long? Everything after Minutes to Midnight marked the end for me with the band: too much Rock, radio-suitable, suddenly those people liked the band whho would never have touched Linkin Park the years before. I couldn’t do anything with the album Hunting Party, even if the critics said it was a small step back to the beginnings, I didn’t feel it. But (at the latest) the chorus of “Lost” brought me back exactly there.

I try to keep this pain inside
But I will never be alright


These lines always hurt to listen to. The song has been a staple in my daily rotation since release. I still find myself nodding my head, wanting to play along with the drums or join in with Chester Bennington’s vocals. The lyrics of the song hit you all over again since his suicide.

With the second single “Fighting Myself” from the archives of the Meteora workshops Linkin Park could not pick me up at all shortly before the release of the Anniversary version. On average it sounds like the rest of the Meteora songs and has strong similarities with the song “Fighting.09”. The song also sounds unfinishedto my ears, possibly this is also due to the female voice in the song, which is strongly consumed or one built the trick to be played backwards. I could not completely recognize this gimmick. Even after listening to the song several times, it is only logical that “Fighting Myself” did not make it on Meteora.

When the promo landed in my mailbox I started it right away. Even if it is certainly interesting to hear the demo versions of the Meteora songs, so are in my opinion the songs that have not made it or only after strong changes. With “Pretty Bird” there is an instrumental proto-version of “Somewhere I Belong” which I find absolutely listenable. The unfinished state suits the song really well. For fans of classic hip hop, “Standing In The Middle” is definitely a recommendation, a great song. It is quite logical that the song genrebeding not found the way to the album, but still a pity that it was only released here. I have to say that I really like many of the instrumentals, they would still find their place on instrumental rock/post-rock playlists very well today and testify to the fact that the band had a lot of craftsmanship, which also justifies all the praise for individual members that you can still read here and there. Too bad that this path has often been abandoned by moving further and further into the mainstream. Songs like “Cumulus”, “Soundtrack”, “Ominou”, “Rhioncerous”, “Attached” and “Pepper” I will listen to more often in the near future and I would already say that at least one will end up on my playlists.

As I prepared and wrote this text in my mind, I always had one question in the back of my head. What remains of the band in me now? I don’t mean the songs in the playlists, but my opinion on the band as a whole. The joy of being one of the most important bands in my musical development, the disappointment that the band had decided to follow very different musical paths that I have walked through in the course of my life.

I don’t want to blame the band for the success they had from Collision Course or Minutes to Midnight on. But it wasn’t my musical path. Have I made peace after all the grumbling about the musical ways after Minutes to Midnight? No, not that. I always have the feeling that the satisfaction of the fans was always followed by any kind of content – also – the years of statements “we could do something like Hybrid Theory at any time” instead of simply admitting that you don’t feel like it.

This 20th anniversary version also has an aftertaste. Was it really necessary? With all the additions that were added? The same thing already happened with the Hybrid Theory anniversary. “Lost” clears those doubts to a certain extent, though. Even if it’s not one of the strongest LP songs of all time, it clearly has Linkin Park‘s typical weaknesses from the later phase. Still, I would place this song in the ranks of the stronger Meteora songs. Even if among the unreleased demos there is a lot of decorative work where you ask yourself “do you need this as a fan?” so there are some songs that I really enjoyed listening to and also better understand the developmental process for the final compilation. Overall, for me “Lost” is enough as a great “new” song as well as the possibility to have heard some alternative ideas.

On the whole I see it as a form of approach to the older fans. As a “Are we good with each other again?” from Shinoda & Co. From my side, it’s a “Yes, we are. Thanks for everything.”

And a special thank you to you Chester, R.I.P.


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