Among their contemporaries, Linkin Park brought a heaviness to the mainstream in a way no one else could. As one of the biggest bands in the genre – and arguably, perhaps the genre’s most commercially successful – Linkin Park has gone on to live one hell of an extraordinarily creative life.
Over the course of their career thus far, the band has released seven studio albums – the band’s growth taking on drastic shifts throughout these records. From their nu-metal beginnings to mesmerizing displays of electro-pop, Linkin Park has proven themselves to be astoundingly diverse artists.
With Meteora having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and the band releasing a couple of new songs, we thought it was time to rank every Linkin Park album from worst to best.
In celebration of that anniversary, Linkin Park is releasing a massive re-release of the album along with some killer merch. Among the options available is a limited edition Super Deluxe Box Set which includes an array of awesome goodies. If you want to see what that box set comes with, follow this link here.
A Thousand Suns
Releasing three years after the band put out Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns features Linkin Park continuing a new direction of soft rock in favor of uneven experimentation. Minutes to Midnight lacks a heavy punch but still offers a variety of energetic, upbeat radio rock cuts. A Thousand Suns though, it’s like the band made a decision to hold back on that, but also, not go back to their nu-metal roots. Instead what you get is an odd collection of heavy and short tracks and a Linkin Park album that doesn’t know what direction to head in.
Minutes to Midnight
Released four years after the mega-successful Meteora, Minutes to Midnight made for a drastic shift for the band. While Linkin Park has played around with various styles and genres throughout their career, Minutes to Midnight was the first record where the band straight-up abandoned their nu-metal style in favor of U2-inspired balladry. While some electronic and hard rock elements remain intact, the record makes for a predominate radio rock-heavy experience (which does provide some adrenaline-pumping bangers).
This 2012 Linkin Park album is the most successful when it comes to the band’s gentler approach to rock music. Presenting explorative electro-pop elements, Living Things makes for a far more cohesive experience than A Thousand Suns, and a slightly edgier approach as compared to Minutes to Midnight. However, Linkin Park’s swerve to electro-pop would be disregarded come the band’s following record (but would make a dominant return in a future album).
One More Light
That future album is none other than One More Light, which is also the last Linkin Park album to feature band singer Chester Bennington prior to his passing. While some metalheads may not be interested in the idea of Linkin Park going so extremely pop, One More Light is actually an incredibly well-made record. Through the band’s songwriting and performances, each composition on the album offers a compelling and catchy appeal; on top of those qualities, the record offers an emotional depth that, honestly, was kind of missing from the band for many years. It may not be Linkin Park’s most sonically heavy album, but ironically, it may actually be one of their emotionally heaviest records.
The Hunting Party
For those Linkin Park fans looking for a heavier sound from the band in the 2010s, The Hunting Party was a breath of fresh air. Though the band still kept away from their original nu-metal sound, The Hunting Party brought with it a plethora of unique approaches to heaviness. There are songs where Linkin Park goes punk, some where they go hard rock, and some where they go metal. When it comes to their entire discography, The Hunting Party may be Linkin Park’s most eclectic album.
Linkin Park’s debut studio album not only stands today as one of the best albums in all of nu-metal history, some consider it to be the record that catapulted nu-metal into the mainstream limelight. On this debut, Linkin Park brings together an incredible array of musical styles: metal, rock, rap, electronica, and industrial. Unlike their contemporaries, the band showed off how they could deliver a diversity of unique compositions to present gripping emotions. However, that talent and skill would end up becoming incredibly defined in the band’s follow-up album.
Having just recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, Meteora not only represents the best qualities of Hybrid Theory, but it elevates all those positives and cranks them up to 11. As a whole, Meteora flows far more smoothly than the band’s debut, making for a captivating collection of emotionally charged and heavy-as-hell tracks. And the record continues to deliver on diverse songwriting, with the band offering bangers in the form of “Faint,” to more somber and crushing cuts like “Numb.” Though the band would go on to create other strong releases, Meteora stands today as the record that defines Linkin Park’s artistry.