Album review

Linkin Park : Meteora
Warner Bros.

Linkin Park : MeteoraI don't think it's any overstatement to say that Linkin Park had the potential to produce the album of 2003. After all, their all-conquering debut Hybrid Theory was pretty much flawless, and the Reanimation remix set revealed a band who knew how to broaden their range without turning their back on their core sound. Take note Papa Roach.
    Indeed, Don't Stay kicks in like no time at all has passed since the closing bars of Hybrid Theory - tinny hip-hop beats, Joe Hahn scratching, and Chester Bennington wringing out the emotions like his bank balance depends on it.
    First single Somewhere I Belong similarly touches base with everything that is Linkin Park - it really couldn't be any other band - only with Mike Shinoda's rapping adding to the vocal diversity.

Lying From You is an album highlight, but again frustratingly sticks completely within the parameters laid out by Hybrid Theory. This hurts Meteora on two levels:
    Firstly, despite the quality of these opening tracks, the lack of musical progression means they invite direct comparison to Papercut, One Step Closer and With You . . . they're good, but they ain't that good. Secondly, because of the comparitive eclecticism of the intervening Reanimation, these tracks almost seem like a step backwards. Your head's telling you your listening to great music. You heart's telling you it's all a little bit underwhelming.

Easier To Run is Crawling part two - you'll know what I mean when you hear it - while Figure.09 recycles One Step Closer. In fact it's like the band have just opened up the big box of Linkin Park sounds that they've used before, and just arranged them in a different order.
    Without a doubt Meteora could have been a truly great album. I still believe Linkin Park have another one in them. Their songwriting ability alone lifts them above the majority of their peers. As it is, Meteora is an album that's had its potential destroyed by a criminal lack of musical ambition. The real irony? It's still better than most of the CDs you'll hear this year.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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