National Album Day: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory was my first ever album and a very important and enduring eye opener for many listeners. In 2000, at aged 10, I put this album on my Christmas list based solely on word of mouth. A schoolfriend wouldn’t shut up about how desperate he was for a hoody with the album artwork on. I jumped onto the bandwagon before I had even heard a single track from it, and I can’t overstate how glad I was that I did.

Hybrid Theory was the centrepiece of what might be the last time that a rebellious sounding subculture crashes the charts now that the internet has made everything accessible, and chart positions comparatively redundant. Although a megahit, Hybrid Theory was the gateway for many listeners into the furious free-for-all of the playful skate-punk of The Offspring, onslaughts of profanity-laden rap metal from Limp Bizkit, and sensory overload ‘nu-metal’ of Slipknot.

Hybrid Theory defied the idea that mash-ups were always musical sacrilege (even DJ Joe Hahn got an instrumental jam track all to himself), although they would push that boundary further when they released a mash-up EP with Jay-Z. Rapper Mike Shinoda spits anguish in opening track Papercut, before late frontman Chester Bennington growls what might be the most appropriate lyric in the album – “it’s like a whirlwind inside of my head”.

Over twelve concise tracks, the only deviations from this are comparatively frail vocals from Bennington during the verses of hit single Crawling, and closer Pushing Me Away. However, often it doesn’t last as he bites the infamous refrain “shut up when I’m talking to you” on One Step Closer. 

Needless to say, I bought that hoody.

Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park, 2000, chosen by writer Nicolas Pollard


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