Left to right: Brad Delson, Mike Shinoda, Mr. Hahn, Chester Bennington, Rob Bourdon, Phoenix
A rock band from Agoura Hills, California. Since their formation in 1996, the band has sold more than fifty million albums and won two Grammy Awards. They achieved mainstream success in 2000 with their debut album Hybrid Theory, and continued it with the remix album Reanimation, the follow-up Meteora, and their collaboration with rapper Jay-Z, Collision Course.To some, they are known for blending the sounds of Nu Metal, rap, and rock together in an appealing fashion. To others, however, they are remembered for excessive screaming and lyrics that suggest the emotional range and maturity of any average 13 year old. As such, they have been the butt of many jokes on forums and are often criticized for introducing "emo" elements into the mainstream. Chances are, you've heard of them on an anime music video.The band eventually realized this and changed their sound with their third studio album, Minutes to Midnight. Upon release, flame wars were ignited in every faction of their fandom, splitting their fanbase permanently. Years after the fact, mentioning "New Sound vs. Old Sound" still produces a large backlash. The next time the band stepped into the studio, they made an effort to insulate themselves from public opinion, only intensifying the discord when they released that album, A Thousand Suns, which was an even more radical departure.They are a popular music source for anime music videos, inevitably featuring shonen series like Dragon Ball Z (and occasionally not-so-shonen series, namely Neon Genesis Evangelion.) Furthermore, their music video for "Points Of Authority" (remixed version) features CGI Humongous Mecha battling an army of alien invaders.Their song lyrics have inspired the trope name for The Walls Are Closing In.
Chester Bennington: lead singer and metal screamer. Can play guitar when needed. Has a side project named Dead by Sunrise (in collaboration with the members of Julien K); also currently the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots after the firing of Scott Weiland.
Mike Shinoda: co-founder, emcee, singer, rapper, pianist, second guitarist, graphic designer, producer, painter, and blogger. Used to playing several instruments during the same song. Has a side project named Fort Minor.
Brad Delson: co-founder, lead guitarist and lead afro. Occasionally plays the keyboard.
Rob Bourdon: the drummer, but can also play piano when the band is writing new songs.
Joe "Mr." Hahn: The DJ, synths and samples guy who also directs their music videos. Owns an art shop in Los Angeles called SURU.
Dave "Phoenix" Farrell: The bassist and backing singer. Nicknamed because another fan thought his name was boring. Also does string arrangements.
Hybrid Theorynote Debut EP, back before they changed their name (1999)
Album Filler: Mike Shinoda has said that "Runaway" was included on Hybrid Theory for this reason. They had given up on the song and wrote "One Step Closer" out of frustration. Because they couldn't use the planned song "She Couldn't" for sample reasons, nor did they want to include the rerecorded "High Voltage", they decided to go back to the Xero demo Stick N Move and reused some of the melody lines to finish off "Runaway". The band regard "Runaway" as the worst song they ever wrote, although fans tend to disagree. At times they've said they don't want to play it live again, but continue to do so anyway.
Lampshaded by Black Thought on "X-Ecutioner Style".
Animesque: The music video for "Breaking the Habit", though the "-esque" is questionable, as it was produced by KazutoNakazawa.
Ascended Extra: Mike Shinoda was the founder and original producer of the band, and was its primary vocalist during the underground years; Chester Bennington, despite being the last member to join, is now popularly recognized as the frontman. However, the songs are primarily written around Shinoda's programming and continue to be so.
The Atoner: "What I've Done" can be broadly interpreted as this.
As can "Breaking The Habit".
Audience Participation Song: During live performances of "Bleed it Out", there's a chance of Chester and Mike initiating a singing contest between each other with the audience's help, such as on Road to Revolution. The audience is also encouraged to sing with Chester on "In the End".
Berserk Button: According to the Fort Minor song "Get Me Gone", Mike's is the insinuation that the band was manufactured by their record label. According to him, he would have been kicked out if the execs had gotten their way.
As he makes clear in "When They Come For Me", he finds it really annoying that people always want them to go back to their old sound and don't appreciate their new music just because it's different.
Black Sheep: The song "Nobody's Listening" from Meteora, with its creepy Japanese flute, hip hop meets doom metal feel and seemingly random placing on the album. It's not surprising to know that the song was the last recorded and added to the album at the last minute. It would be rerecorded for Shinoda's solo project Fort Minor under the title Nobody's Listening (Green Lantern Remix), where it fit slightly better.
Black Sheep Hit: "Breaking The Habit", an electronic song without distorted guitars in it, and "Numb", a ballad. Both from their album Meteora, and both would substantially influence the direction they would take afterwards. Notably, neither song features Mike Shinoda on vocals, and it contributed to the perception of Chester as the frontman.
Boastful Rap: "Step Up", "High Voltage", "When They Come for Me", "I Have Not Begun" and if Fort Minor is to be counted, "Remember the Name".
Call Back: "When They Come for Me" has a few, being a boastful rap that calls to mind the band's earlier hiphop tracks "Reading My Eyes", "Step Up" and "High Voltage". He references "Points Of Authority" by saying he's not the same guy that 'forfeit the game'. He also refers to the band's first album "Hybrid Theory" in the line "Once you have a theory of how the thing works, everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first". Also, the Middle Eastern sounding vocals towards the end of the song are quite similar to those of the intro to the band's song "Carousel". The theme of the song is that Shinoda takes his own path and doesn't care what people say, and they can either keep up with him or be stuck behind.
Cluster F-Bomb: Mike and especially Chester swear like children out of their parents' earshot during concerts, which is rather jarring since they have stated in interviews early after getting big that they're averse to swearing in their music.
However, the band decided to be a little liberal with the word "motherfucker" on "When They Come for Me". With Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns, they resigned themselves to getting parental advisory labels.
Liberality or just for the hell of doing it? It seems like the seven motherfuckers on "When They Come for Me" is for fun.
The exact profanity count for each album; Minutes to Midnight has eight uses of fuck: two on "Bleed it Out", four on "Given Up" and two in "Hands Held High". A Thousand Suns has eight fuck (or fuck-related words): seven motherfuckers on "When They Come For Me", and one fuck in "Blackout". There is also three shits in "Wretches and Kings".
Combat Tentacles: In the animated music video for "Points of Authority", an alien race invades a highly technified human outpost defended by robotic soldiers. When the aliens breach the perimeter, the humans activate a machine that causes an entire underground installation to rise up out of the ground and destroy the enemy forces with energy tentacles.
Concept Album: A Thousand Suns, about war, corruption and the atom bomb.
Concept Video: The videos that aren't Dress Rehearsal/Performance Videos.
Contest Winner Cameo: NoBraiN, the winner of Linkin Park's remix contest, got his remix featured on A Thousand Suns. He also makes an appearance on the outro to "When They Come for Me".
Credits Gag: In the liner notes for Living Things: "Joe would like to thank whoever invented hot sauce. Also, to Heidi."
Dark Reprise: "Fallout" from A Thousand Suns is this to the album's third (technically first when not counting the preludes) track "Burning in the Skies", which features an ominous vocoded version of the chorus lyrics and serving as the prelude to "The Catalyst".
Demoted to Extra: Joe "Mr Hahn" Hahn was a key part of the band's appeal in the Hybrid Theory days, but since those days has stayed in the background. Part of the reason is his DJ scratching was a big thing in the Nu Metal days, but has gone out of fashion, and the band's musical style has generally moved to push it into the background as well. Hahn himself appears to have become more reclusive than he was, so this may be an intentional thing.
Determinator: Chester Bennington. He gets injured/ill so frequently he once wished to be put in a bubble. He's been bitten by a recluse spider, broken his wrists in the middle of a concert, injured his back and ankle, had surgeries because of mysterious illnesses, become allergic to his own sweat, had a tennis racquet go through his lip after he hit himself in the face with it while playing, and he ripped off one of his nipples just by getting in the shower. Nonetheless, totally badass for finishing the show where he broke his arm three songs in.
Bassist Phoenix played an entire show even after breaking his hand earlier in the tour.
Deliberately Monochrome: The band's behind-the-scenes videos, LPTV, were filmed in black-and-white during the A Thousand Suns touring cycle to reflect the theme of that album.
Averted. Members of the band have gone on record saying they really don't care if their songs are downloaded. When Minutes to Midnight was leaked, their only response was to advise people to listen to the tracks in order and ask that they buy the album anyway for all the non-musical stuff they put into it. Especially notable considering that their label is Warner, of all companies. The band themselves downloaded the Xero demo tape from a fansite so that they could relearn "Reading My Eyes" and play it live. In addition Shinoda acknowledged that "She Couldn't" leaked and whilst he said he couldn't legally talk about it, 'didn't' try to take the links down.
Just to underline how seriously Warner takes piracy, every time a copy of A Thousand Suns was sent to a music journalist for reviewing purposes, a cop was shipped along with it to make sure nothing leaked. Not that it stopped the album from being leaked anyway.
DVD Commentary: The band has a DVD edition for each of their CDs barring Hybrid Theory (which saw a standalone DVD a year after its release). Footage of them is usually about the music making process, life on tour, music video commentary, and the odd practical joke.
There isn't one for "Living Things" yet, but it is possible the band will make one in future.
Dyeing for Your Art: During the Hybrid Theory period, Mike would often dye his hair red or blue. Less obvious to people was the fact that Chester dyed his hair blond during that period. Both of them reverted to their natural colors, black and dark brown respectively from Meteora onwards.
"Lies Greed Misery" is all about looking forward to watching an adversary screw himself over.
Epic Rocking: "The Little Things Give You Away" clocks in at six and a half minutes while "Krwling", "1stp Klosr" and "The Catalyst" come close to that.
Executive Meddling: The band wanted to shift styles more drastically for Meteora (as evidenced by the many electronic demos from that period released on Underground volumes) but the record company wanted more nu-metal. As a result, the album was something of an compromise between the two styles. This seems to have been a good thing - the album's most acclaimed track is "Breaking The Habit", a track based on an electronic instrumental Shinoda had put a lot of effort into. Had they made the whole album in this style, they would have alienated older fans, and had they not included it, might not have convinced the record company they could be successful with more like it.
There are hints that "What I've Done" was written purely because the record company didn't see a suitable single on "Minutes To Midnight". The fact the band had written almost 150 songs before this means this could be likely. In the documentary "Meeting Of A Thousand Suns", Shinoda says that the album's first single 'doesn't have to be some 'What I've Done shit'.
Fading into the Next Song: The only album that doesn't use this is Hybrid Theory. It was intended to, however; the version of High Voltage cut from the album (and on the One Step Closer single) was supposed to segue in from "Cure for the Itch" as can be heard by the remnants of Itch at the beginning of Voltage. It was probably cut because it had already appeared in a different version on the Hybrid Theory EP.
Various special editions of Hybrid Theory feature this version of High Voltage as a bonus track, but no attempt was made to restore the original segue.
Fanservice: Frontman Chester Bennington seems to be shirtless about 40% of the time, performing or otherwise. As for the rest of the band, fans will have to scour the behind-the-scenes videos on the group's website for even a hint of fanservice from the other five members.
Fiery Redhead: Shinoda, but only in the cover for Hybrid Theory. He dyed his hair to black by 2001.
Follow the Leader: Well, one could make a case about their earlier years, what with being a Nu Metal/rap-rock band in a time when those subgenres were on their way out. But let's face it, they're really following U2's genre-hopping and philanthropy.
"The Requiem", the opening track from A Thousand Suns is an ambient, brooding version of "The Catalyst", the album's penultimate track, which also features the Album Title Drop. It also contains the piano track from "Waiting for the End" and the heartbeat-sonar ping combo sound is heard again in the start of "Jornada del Muerto". Shinoda has said that the track contains elements from every other song on the album along with elements that entirely its own.
A more subtle version comes in the track "Jornada del Muerto", which features Mike singing "Lift me up, let me go" in Japanese.
Genre Adultery: Leave Out All The Rest and Shadow Of The Day are soft-rock radio ballads that the band were once considered the alternative to. These tracks are the main reason for the disappointed reception of Minutes To Midnight by older fans.
Genre Roulette: Minutes to Midnight. If you need further proof, look at its track order. Within the span of three songs, you'll hear a political hip-hop song featuring a choir and piano, one of the heaviest songs the band ever wrote with Chester coming close to snarling most of the lyrics, and a light alternative ballad about a funeral.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: As being one of the few bands to still retain all of the original members after over a decade of working together, the guys are definitely this. Co-lead singer Mike Shinoda has called his bandmates as his "five best friends". The bassist Phoenix has referred to them as his "brothers". Special mention goes to Mike and co-lead singer Chester Bennington.
Bandai-Namco returned the favor by featuring "The Catalyst" in Gundam Extreme Vs. In connection, a Linkin Park version of the [GP-01Fb] was included with the purchase of the "A Thousand Suns" Japanese edition.
Hypocritical Humor: On "Rn@wy", Phoenix Orion claims he "can't get with the hybrids". He raps this over an industrial rock track.
Instrumentals: Most of which show up on fan-exclusive EP's. These are the ones that don't.
"Session" from Meteora, which was actually nominated for a Grammy.
"Lockjaw", a piece Mike and Rob were commissioned to make by Digidesign to promote ProTools 8.
"Issho ni", a charity track for the 2011 earthquake that devastated Japan.
Kaleidoscope Hair: During the Hybrid Theory period, Mike Shinoda was known for dying his hair red.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: The Xero Demo Tape. When people were requesting the band to play the track "Reading My Eyes" live in 2006, the band members were up for it, but didn't have any copies of the song at hand, as they were on tour. So Shinoda searched the internet and downloaded the EP from a fansite. The band then learnt the song from the mp3. Since Shinoda has released other Xero era demos since then, it is entirely possible he still has the tape and its masters at home but didn't have access to them at that point.
Since the band is unlikely to ever officially release "She Couldn't", it also is this.
Keet: One might be surprised to learn just how hyperactive and rambunctious lead singer Chester Bennington is. He's prone to jumping on things, shouting at random intervals, and performing strange rituals with the stage crew.
Many would expect Chester to be more downbeat considering his life, but he is widely known as the funnyman of the group.
Large Ham: Chester all the time, whether onstage or on tape. However, Mike isn't that far behind him.
Let's See You Do Better: As a response to the typical criticism from fans over "Issho ni", Mike challenged everyone to remix the song as they saw fit (although didn't provide the stems).
The song "What I've Done" sounds like a moody downer sound, but it's about facing the consequences of your actions, and finding forgiveness.
"Bleed it Out" averts this by being actually about writing lyrics, and re-writing them again and again (instead of self-mutilation as many automatically conclude). Bennington and Shinoda vented their lyric writing frustrations by writing more lyrics. This is lampshaded by the opening line "Here we go for the hundredth time."
Their older Nu Metal songs generally have a harder sound to it than their newer songs. There areexceptions, though.
Myspeld Rökband: The band's name refers to a Lincoln Park in which Chester resided in shortly after joining the band. One of the band members reasoned that the name would also help forge a connection with fans, since there were many cities with a Lincoln Park in them. It should be noted, however, that the name is misspelled not because it was "cool" but because lincolnpark.com was already taken.
Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Their music has pretty much always been a mix of rock, hip-hop, and electronica. Which of these ingredients takes prominence depends on the song.
Living Things was hyped/criticized (depending on your point of view) as a return to the band's old sound, but it's really just an mix of the old instantly catchy stuff with the new, more electronic/experimental stuff, frequently within the same song.
Older and Wiser: Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns disposes of much of the angst of their earlier work, in place of it being deeper and with more meaningful messages and themes. The fanbase for that album is also possibly older than the band's earlier fanbase. It could also be argued that they've done a J. K. Rowling and had their music/lyrical themes age as their audience (and they themselves, in this case) have aged.
Old Shame: Chester feels this way about "One Step Closer" because of the 'shut up' section earning him so much infamy. He has said it is his least favorite song the band has done.
Shinoda acknowledged the bad mixing of Living Things by releasing the Acapellas and Instrumentals for digital download from iTunes and Amazon, so that fans could remix it to how they liked it. He already had a great reputation for caring about fans but this increased it tenfold.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chester and Mike's vocal roles. Chester provides the aggression, passion and sensitivity while Mike provides reflectiveness and observations.
Occasionally Mike provides aggression such as on When They Come For Me.
This is also true of Mike and Chester in real life - as can be seen in any of the band's Making Of documentaries, Mike is hard working and focused on the music, but friendly. On the other hand, Chester is always clowning around, cracking jokes and generally making the sessions entertaining. Chester's involvement in the music generally comes after the instrumentals are demoed, when adding vocals and lyrics. He has the endurance to perform many takes to get the song just right and find the right vocal approach for each song. And often a song will take multiple different arrangements which he has to voice endless times as well. The chemistry between the band members has kept them close.
All the ones on Hybrid Theory feature the title as part of the chorus except for Papercut, Points Of Authority and Cure For The Itch. This was not coincidental, it is a proven method of making music catchy and appealing to radio listeners.
Rule of Symbolism: Really, the whole A Thousand Suns album, but "Jornada Del Muerto" stands out even in the middle of it. The album is about the threat of nuclear weapons. Jornada Del Muerto was the site of the Trinity test, the world's first atomic explosion. In addition, Mike is singing "Lift me up/Let me go" in Japanese at the beginning of the song. Japan is the only country in the world where nuclear weapons were deployed offensively.
Sampling: Linkin Park has sampled High and Mighty, Brand Nubian, Lamont Dozier, UNKLE and the first Pokemon movie, mostly on Reanimation. Conversely, they've been sampled by Krayzie Bone and Juicy J.
In the early days they often didn't credit the samples. This led them to being banned from releasing the track "She Couldn't" because it got released on a promo without paying for the samples first.
Self-Titled Album: Double-subverted by the Hybrid Theory EP. It's not the band's current name, but it was at the time it was released.
The later albums have a lot of tracks where Mike is singing lead instead of rapping, though Chester will usually still join in on the chorus.
Played completely straight in "Until It Breaks," where Brad actually sings after the third verse 'til the end.
Subdued Section: Quite a few times, most notably "In the End" and "The Catalyst".
Subliminal Seduction: Playing "Announcement Service Public" backwards yields Chester howling "YOU SHOULD BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND YOU SHOULD WASH YOUR FACE!"
Surprisingly Gentle Songs: "My December", "Leave Out All the Rest", "Iridescent", "Shadow of the Day", "Castle of Glass" and "Roads Untraveled".
"She Couldn't" is like a boyband ballad, which stands out particularly as the only song without any crunching guitars in it from the Hybrid Theory period. Unfortunately, this side of the band wasn't known for years because the song was never released until it leaked unofficially.
The king of them all must be Chester's rendition of the Weeds theme "Little Boxes", which is even softer sounding than Leave Out All The Rest. Probably for this reason it remains soundtrack only.
"When They Come for Me" for the contingent of fans who still yearn for the Hybrid Theory days.
There's even a line in it where Mike outright says he's not "the same person telling you to forfeit the game," in reference to "Points of Authority."
"Step Up" addresses other rap-rock bands in a less-than-flattering fashion.
Mike: Rapping over rock doesn't make you a pioneer, 'cause rock and hip-hop have collaborated for years. But now they're getting randomly mixed and matched up all after a fast buck and all the tracks suck.
Tired of Running: The song "Easier to Run" talks about how it is a lot easier to run from your problems instead of choosing to face them head on.
Tough Act to Follow: invoked Directly referenced by Mike in the song "When They Come for Me", referring to the mega-success of Hybrid Theory and Meteora where the majority of the band's fans were introduced to them.