The second single to be lifted from Meteora, Faint was released on June 9, 2003, and became their third number-one hit on the US Modern Rock chart. One of their most high-tempo tracks, the song layers a string section (featuring a real life orchestra) over a pacey beat washed in electronics and warm riffs.
Drownedinsound said of the song that it proves Linkin Park “know all the knobs and levers to pull, know when to go slow, and when to put their foot down,”while the BBC described it as the first song on the album “to really break sweat and get your head shaking.”
The video, now at over 190 million views on YouTube, shows the band backlit in front of an ecstatic crowd, and was directed by Mark Romanek. Chester Bennington said in an interview with O Globo in 2012 that Faint is one of the Linkin Park songs “that we can not stop playing,” with the track listed as the band’s most-played live outside of Hybrid Theory material.
The song that introduced Linkin Park to the world, Papercut is the opening track from Hybrid Theory and was described in 2013 by Chester Bennington as his very favourite Linkin Park song.
“When we got to that song, the chorus was so dope and the words behind it were so cool, that I didn’t need to do much melodically until we flipped it up at the end,” he noted. “That was a lot of fun.”
Brad Delson backed this claim right back in 2000, noting: “I think it best integrates all our influences into one song and does it in a way that’s tasteful and cohesive. In other words, one criticism that people have leveled at existing bands is that their songs don’t always sound organic, that some of the songs might sound forced.”
The second single to be released from Hybrid Theory, Crawling won Linkin Park a Grammy in 2002 in the Best Hard Rock Performance category. Rolling Stone describe the anthem as “claustrophobic” and “burbling”, listing it as one of Linkin Park’s most essential songs.
Speaking to Spin about the song in 2009, Chester says the song “is about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol. That feeling, being able to write about it, sing about it, that song, those words sold millions of records, I won a Grammy, I made a lot of money.”
Live, Crawling has featured guest appearances from the likes of Aaron Lewis, Chris Cornell and Fred Durst. The video, starring model Katelyn Rosaasen, centred on a young girl seemingly suffering abuse, and was filmed in Los Angeles. Katelyn, who had also appeared in videos by The Offspring and N*Sync amongst others, claimed it was her favourite starring role in any music video.
The video, which stars the band performing in a spooky house, has notched up over 100 million views on YouTube, and the track itself has currently claimed a cool 89 million streams on Spotify.
The final track from Meteora was released as Linkin Park’s third single on September 8, 2003, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard 100. Musically, the song is a typically polished mix of scattershot scratching, samples and soft guitars, all giving away to an impassioned vocal line from Chester. Its video, filmed by band DJ Joe Hahn, was filmed in LA and Prague, and depicts the story of a young girl who has become an outcast at school and is shunned by her classmates.
Arguably, the song’s most definitive version comes in the form of the Numb/Encore mash-up featured on Linkin Park’s collaboration with Jay Z, Collision Course, which was released on November 30, 2004. RapReviews labelled Numb/Encore as “the best of the mash-ups” on the EP, and since release the remixed version of the track has gone triple-platinum in the US alone.
That said, the song still holds up beautifully in an ‘unplugged’ format. In 2016, someone posted Chester’s a capella vocals for Numb, sounding even more powerful than the original song, unaffected by the super-polished studio nu metal.
“In the earliest years of this century, there were plenty who questioned Linkin Park’s staying power,” said TeamRock, “and insisted the LA band would disappear after the ‘fluke’ success of Hybrid Theory: Numb dispelled all that talk in just a blush over three minutes.”
1) In The End
Chester Bennington originally wasn’t keen to include In The End on Hybrid Theory. In 2012, he told V music: “I didn’t even want it to be on the record, honestly. How wrong could I have possibly been?”
Eschewing most of the album’s tropes with a slower pace and a piano-driven intro though still featuring the kind of power chorus that became the band’s biggest asset, TeamRock describes In The End as “another stunning showcase for Chester, who absolutely slays the chorus and rips his heart out of chest on the song’s middle eight.
“Kept from topping the US Billboard chart by a frankly rubbish J. Lo/Ja Rule collaboration, In The End has sold over 2.5 million copies on its own in the States alone: tidy.”
Upon release, it topped the US Billboard Chart and hit the top ten in over ten countries worldwide. Despite being released years before YouTube arrived, the video, set in a fantasy world and featuring, amongst other things, flying whales, has now racked up over half a billion views on the channel. The song remains both their most played across all their live shows, and their most streamed, with over 360 million listens and counting on Spotify.