It goes without saying that Linkin Park, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut record Hybrid Theory this year, are one of the most important bands our generation has ever seen (well, heard). Instantly recognizable, the band have sold millions of records and ingrained themselves into the public consciousness with ease. The untimely and sad death of vocalist Chester Bennington has obviously put their future into question, that should not take away what the band has accomplished.
It’s only natural that one would attempt to rank the band’s expansive discography, which is much deeper than many critics give LP credit for. Without further ado, join us as we rank every Linkin Park album from worst to best.
One More Light (2017)
Let’s not get things twisted here. One More Light is easily the lowpoint of Linkin Park’s discography, as the band’s electronic and pop influences generally don’t do well fully extended over an entire full-length record. At least it’s a pretty short affair, thankfully – but the album isn’t without its share of intriguing tracks. The emotional centerpiece is the album’s title track, which carries on added significance when taking Chester Bennington’s untimely passing into account, and “Sorry For Now” inverts the typical Chester-Mike partnership with Mike doing the singing this time around.
Minutes To Midnight (2007)
It’s not that Minutes To Midnight is bad, necessarily. It just might not be all that exciting, especially the second half. That being said, Chester Bennington’s voice is still on point, and certain tracks like the hyper-aggressive “Given Up”, as well as the album’s final track “The Little Things Give You Away” are important listens.
Living Things (2012)
Linkin Park’s most electronically-driven record, “Lost In The Echo” and “In My Remains” are huge songs. And “Powerless” is a really overlooked finale in LP’s canon. The rest of the album is predictably solid, if a bit too mid-tempo. The album does have a host of huge choruses, though, and the stuttering electronics on standout track “Until It Breaks” displays some much-needed personality. Just forget that “Lies Greed Misery” exists and Living Things is much better than you’d think at first.
The Hunting Party (2014)
We call this the “comeback” record. Not that Living Things was bad or anything, but many wondered if the band would ever have a return to roots sort of album. Of course, the answer was yes – have you heard the hyper aggression of “Keys To The Kingdom”? These moments are countered by more atmospheric numbers like “Final Masquerade” and “Mark The Graves” (well, at least until the second half of the song), and closer “A Line In The Sand” is a Mike Shinoda-led stroke of brilliance that lives up to all expectations.
Following up a Diamond-selling record in Hybrid Theory was never going to be an easy task. However, what Linkin Park accomplished on Meteora shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s basically as good as Hybrid Theory but with a few more experimental numbers. Whether it’s the interesting use of the shakuhachi on “Nobody’s Listening” or the introspection heard on “Breaking The Habit”, Meteora is never boring. This isn’t even counting the explosive choruses on “Faint” and the underrated “From The Inside”.
A Thousand Suns (2010)
A Thousand Suns is nothing short of a bold departure for Linkin Park. A well-executed concept record that is meant to flow together, the Rick Rubin-produced album is electronically-driven in ways that make sense. In between catchy and huge songs like the dub-influenced “Wretches And Kings” and the emotionally-charged “Iridescent” are speeches from the likes of MLK. Apocalypse, indeed.
Hybrid Theory (2000)
Now one of the top 50 biggest-selling albums of all time, Hybrid Theory started it all for Linkin Park. Introducing the unique dynamic of Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda to the world, there’s a reason every song could have been a single. The real, human emotion behind it – as well as the band’s impressive resolve to not use profanity early on – also helped. Everyone has felt the rage on “One Step Closer” and possibly the pain of abuse on “Crawling”. An entire generation was raised on it. It’s the millenial’s Nevermind, more or less. That says it all.