Linkin Park’s ‘Meteora’ Surprise: Unheard Chester Bennington Songs

“I really wanted to keep it true to the initial intention, because I didn’t want to taint this time warp,” he said. “What I love about the three new songs is that all of them represent a different facet of the band, as it was in 2003.”

“Meteora” was made at a critical moment in Linkin Park’s career. “Hybrid Theory” was the best-selling album of 2001, outpacing LPs from established superstars like ’N Sync, Jay-Z and Destiny’s Child. This seemingly instant success placed more attention and pressure on the band, which began writing the songs that would make up “Meteora” while on tour.

“Our attitude, going into the sessions, was that we had everything to prove,” Shinoda said. The fusion of sounds from “Hybrid Theory” — emotive singing alongside nimble rapping, hip-hop rhythms underneath distorted guitars — was already being mimicked across the industry, and the band was eager to prove its creative versatility. “We said, ‘We wrote this formula, so we got to rewrite it, and let people know we’re bigger than that,’” he explained. “‘Because if we don’t start to pivot, we’re going to get stuck forever.’”

The super deluxe version of the “Meteora” reissue, due April 7, features “Work in Progress,” a collection of edited tour footage shot by the band’s in-house videographer, Mark Fiore, who captured what Shinoda called “weird, fly-on-the-wall stuff.” The boxed set also includes five previously unreleased full-length concert recordings, taken from a period when the band was constantly on tour at stadiums and arenas around the world.

Shinoda said that assembling the “Meteora” set inspired different feelings than the “Hybrid Theory” anniversary, which the band marked in 2020 with a similar boxed set. “We were still processing Chester’s passing at the time we were putting that stuff together,” he said. “Now, the tone for me was much more celebratory.”

As Linkin Park matured and its members started families and pursued other commitments, the band inevitably began to shift. The new collection offers a portrait of a group that was still ascending, and working as a unit to achieve all its goals. “When we made ‘Meteora,’ the band was everything,” Shinoda said. “We had so much dedication to what we were building at the time, but there was also that wonderful naïveté. We were just flying by the seat of our pants.”

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