Welcome to the IMPACT series where I dissect notable and iconic sequences from games and movies, and how they broadened my mind and left a lasting impression on me, years to come.
I want to heal, I want to feel. What I thought was never real.
Linkin Park’s second studio album Meteora was released in 2003, and was something I only discovered in 2007, 4 years after its release.
It is also one of the best selling albums of the 21st century, with over 16 million copies sold worldwide, and with its hard hitting metal and rock it’s difficult to argue why it sold like hotcakes.
The timing of the release for this album, no doubt helped boosted sales, since the early 2000s were all about collecting exciting, impactful music in CDs (remember those?), unlike the digital services we see now.
The world was also reeling from the aftermath of September 11, with angst and anger being real emotions that spread across the globe, and resonating particularly with teenagers.
I had never head of Linkin Park, until a certain Michael Bay film, Transformers (2007) used the now iconic What I’ve Done in the credits and absolutely drove me crazy with obsession. This led me to discover what other songs this band had created and to this seamless album.
Though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime …
It’s very rare for me to find an album that seamlessly weave song after song, into each other. From the very first song Foreword to the last Numb each song blends into each other, a perfect 37 minute mix.
To me, that is a perfect album, where I am unable to find a single song I dislike, and the order in which they are presented, are in sync with each other.
There is an odd part of me that intensely dislike how out of chronological order certain albums are (this is almost exclusively a gripe against certain soundtracks) and so when an album like Meteora demonstrates perfect order, I get a real buzz out of it.
However, what struck me the most about Meteora was the emotion that came out of the lead singer, Chester Bennington whose voice seems the representative of every angsty teenager‘s inner turmoil.
The lyrics were provocative, interesting, and catchy, the accompanying metal, allowing you to feel like you were venting your anger in tune to the song.
Don’t Stay had you hyped for the album, with its heavy metal and airy lyrics, until it dropped all pretense and went hard.
Somewhere I Belong is a slower song, exposing the more gentle and emotionally resonant side of the album.
Lying From You has a more rap edge to it, with angry choruses and rapping to maintain a good rhythm throughout the song.
Hit the Floor fluctuates from slow and fast, angry and calm, a fascinating look into the duality that Linkin Park expresses throughout the album.
Easier to Run is the midpoint of the album, an earnest cry for help, slow and sad.
Faint picks up the pace again, with its opening riff, and the pace of the lyrics being sung. It’s the get-up song, to get you in the mood to do something again.
Figure.09 is something of a strange atmospheric song for me, having heard it in the S.W.A.T. (2003) film, when the main antagonist was driving along the streets of L.A. It’s oddly fitting for urban environments.
Breaking the Habit is something of the black sheep in the album for me. It’s totally unique and sort of at-odds with the rest of the album, but it’s so powerful and resonant, its’ hard to hate.
From the Inside behaves like the start of the end. It’s slow, thematic and the airy screams really accentuate this song.
Nobody’s Listening has a truly strange opening 5 seconds, and somehow it works. The weird flutes, the rap and the drums, only serve to highlight the screams even better.
Session behaves like an extended Foreword in that its instrumental and sombre tone makes complete sense when you couple it with Numb.
Numb … well what is there to say? It’s the definite Linkin Park song, the best song on the album and an absolute banger from start to finish. It’s so damn good, Jay-Z remixed it in his own album later to create Numb/Encore a song arguably just as good.
Music has always been a therapeutic mood multiplier. Something that helps you express something deep within and feel inner peace again after the song ended. When you are happy, playing a feel-good song can multiply that effect. The same applies for when you are feeling down and out.
Meteora was the perfect album for a teenager like myself, who was perpetually furious at the world. I thrived off anger when I was younger, a petulant, arrogant and bizarrely introspective child. Out of all those elements, most has resided, except for the introspection.
I loved listening to this album, feeling like I too was screaming alongside Chester, as I tried in vain to release frustrations about the world and my social status.
To say that Meteora dominated my teenage years, is probably not much of an exaggeration. I didn’t know how to get a lot of music back in the day, and the money I spent buying the CD on this album, was admittedly more than I could afford.
But the sheer replay value of the album, more than paid it off, and I even listened to it, whilst playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007).
Looking at the number of big events in my life in the year of 2007, I have to say, it was an interesting year. I got hooked on COD4 multiplayer, to the point where I am pretty sure I was classified as “addicted” and I got far too obsessed with the notion of getting an attractive girlfriend like Megan Fox in Transformers.
I’m becoming this, all I want to do, is to be more like me and be less like you.
Beyond allowing me to discover even more of Linkin Park’s work, Meteora also enabled me to grow to appreciate a whole new genre of music.
I got more into nu-metal and indulging myself in darker music, where my life previously was dominated by classical music.
It was the perfect tonic I needed, the perfect break away from the usual classical sounds I was accustomed to, and to enjoy someone singing something that felt representative of how I felt inside.
Without my love for Meteora, I doubt I would have such eclectic taste in music today. Listening to that album, really allowed me to explore all avenues of music, beyond pop, jazz and classical.
Meteora was the album that opened my eyes to how I felt internally and to the concept of a perfect album where every single song perfectly blends into one song that is 37 minutes long.
It gave me access to Linkin Park’s genius and proved to be an important factor in my development into the person I am today.