"Rather than a fascinating document of Linkin Park’s movements over the years, Papercuts is little more than a playlist set to shuffle." Linkin Park's first greatest hits album is a disappointing missed opportunity

A minimal amount of effort leaves Papercuts severely lacking to anyone but the most casual of Linkin Park fans

Linkin Park - Meteora
(Image: © Press)

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One of the great many ‘what ifs’ left in the wake of the tragic events of July 20, 2017 comes in the shape of Linkin Park’s evolutionary journey. One More Light, the final album released before the death by suicide of frontman Chester Bennington, marked perhaps the most surprising about-turn in the career of a band who, for all their nu metal pigeonholing, have never been afraid to spread their creative wings. In forgoing bruising alt rock for deft electro-pop, it pointed towards a more diverse, nuanced future direction: an intriguing latest chapter in one of modern metal’s most interesting stories.

Friendly Fire, a One More Light-era cutting-room discovery given life here for the first time, marks the undoubted highlight of Papercuts, the first ‘greatest hits’ compilation to appear under the LP banner. Hearing Chester’s voice come to life once more on the lyrics ‘Staring right into the darkness / Through an empty open door’ is a moment of true poignancy in a package that otherwise falls disappointingly short.

Sure, this open-top bus ride through the Linkin Park catalogue serves up all the big hitters you’d expect. Save for 2014’s stodgy The Hunting Party, every album is reflected in its 20 tracks. But recent tendencies to reissue classic records with exhaustive extras, as the band have done superbly with Hybrid Theory and Meteora, highlights the paucity of must-have bonuses on offer here. Friendly Fire aside, 2006 archival rarity QWERTY gets a first official release, but even that track is no stranger to diehards. Do we really need Numb in both its original and Jay-Z mash-up forms?

Favouring a scattergun track listing above a chronological one only serves to weaken the offering further. Rather than becoming a fascinating document of Linkin Park’s movements through the stylistic gears over the passing years, it reduces Papercuts to being little more than a playlist set to shuffle. A missed opportunity.

Sam Coare

Sam is a writer, editor and music industry consultant who has been covering all things loud for the better part of two decades. The former editor-in-chief of Kerrang! and managing director of Alternative Press, he’s hopped on tour with Metallica in South America, joined Black Sabbath in the studio, followed Guns N’ Roses around the world, and had Frank Iero write a song about him (well, sort of). His debut book, celebrating the first 20 years of the Download festival, arrives in 2024.