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Linkin Park's 'Hybrid Theory' turns 20: "It's hard to even put into words"

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Warner Records

In the end, Linkin Park‘s Hybrid Theory mattered a whole lot.

The band’s massive debut album, released October 24, 2000, officially celebrates its 20th anniversary this Saturday. Assisted by hit singles in “In the End,” “Crawling,” “One Step Closer” and “Papercut,” Hybrid Theory became the best-selling debut album of the 21st century, and would eventually be certified diamond for over 10 million copies sold in the U.S.

Reflecting on Hybrid Theory 20 years later, co-vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Shinoda says, “Looking back at an album that is a complete anomaly — in terms of its impact on just our lives first and foremost — is hard to even to put into words or wrap your head around.”

Hybrid Theory had a huge impact on the direction of mainstream rock music.  With its personal, angst-filled lyrics and its combination of hard rock and rap, the album became the poster child for the nu metal scene of the early 2000s.

“We often times joke about how angst-y and angry the first record is,” Shinoda laughs. “It’s, like, for any kid, why were you that mad? Like, what were you even that mad at?”

Speaking on Hybrid Theory‘s legacy, Shinoda is particularly honored when other artists speak of how they were influenced by the album.

“All of us, every musician is a product of the things that they grew up loving,” Shinoda says. “So to have other artists who are cool…who I like to listen to say that they loved Hybrid Theory, I’ve always gotten a kick out of that.”

Linkin Park celebrated Hybrid Theory‘s 20th anniversary with a massive reissue, which includes various B-sides, demos, remixes and live recordings, as well as the previously unreleased and long sought-after song “Pictureboard.” The collection is out now.

By Josh Johnson
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