On ‘Reanimation’, Linkin Park proved that a remix album could pay tribute to underground hip-hop as well

One of my favorite musical fun facts is that only three remix albums have sold more copies than Linkin Park’s Reanimation – and they were released by Michael Jackson, Madonna, and The Beatles. Pretty elite company, to be sure. That accolade isn’t without merit, either.

Reanimation served as a bridge of sorts between the band’s Diamond-selling debut Hybrid Theory and its follow up, Meteora. On the surface, it might seem like a fairly typical remix album, but just a few seconds in, and you realize that Reanimation is also a tribute to some of underground hip-hop’s finest – and DJ culture as a whole.

Considering it’s a remix album, one might expect many of the songs to not necessarily differentiate themselves from the originals too much. Reanimation isn’t your typical phoned-in remix album, however. In fact, many of the tracks feel like completely brand-new creations, cut up and spliced together with major electronic and hip-hop influences that helped the band reach a wider audience.

“One Step Closer” is a good example of this. More than doubling the original song’s runtime, the song also adds Korn’s Jonathan Davis (and acclaimed duo The Humble Brothers, who played a huge part in remixing the track) and introduces ambient, industrial, and prominent electronic influences into the mix. It also still retains the thumping guitar riffs and Chester Bennington’s vocals, which made it an iconic track. There’s also the remix of “Forgotten”, which takes on a life of its own. Featuring in-demand producer Alchemist and Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na, the remixed song channels hip-hop influences that feature none of the sharp guitar riffs of the original.

There’s also plenty more examples of how Linkin Park pay tribute to hip-hop and DJ culture. Rappers as diverse as Aceyalone and Pharoahe Monch appear throughout Reanimation, while “X-ecutioner Style” in particular is neat because it features Roc Raida (RIP) of turntablist legends X-ecutioners, as well as Black Thought of The Roots. There’s even the remix for “Cure For The Itch”, which doesn’t differ much from its original source material, but the video for it does indeed show love for breakdancing culture – just another way Linkin Park were able to bring disparate genres and motifs from the streets to the biggest stages.

Of course, the remix album isn’t perfect. The remixes of “In The End” and “Runaway” often feel too far removed from the originals, with ideas and beats that don’t necessarily work as well as some of the other standout tracks here. Even these tracks, however, still have some merits, and certainly aren’t awful or even bad. And on the more positive side again, we haven’t even discussed the remix of “Points Of Authority”, where Orgy’s Jay Gordon adds more industrial influences (and a sick music video to boot), as well as Taproot’s Stephen Richards appearing on the remix of “Pushing Me Away” (also a remix that was a live staple for the band).

Reanimation also signaled the direction Linkin Park would travel in the future. While future records didn’t necessarily all travel the same path Reanimation did, LP’s collaboration with Jay-Z on Collison Course likely wouldn’t have ever come to fruition without it. Tracks like “When They Come For Me” and “Wretches And Kings”, off A Thousand Suns, retain the same sense of genre mashing that you’ll find on Reanimation. And given the love and care that was put into this album, much of Reanimation really does feel like a new creation – that’s not a small thing.

Using the waves of sound.
A true master paralyzes his opponent
Leaving him vulnerable to attack.

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