Best-of album

Linkin Park: Emotional retrospective with new song

14.04.2024 09:00

Seven years after the tragic death of singer Chester Bennington, Linkin Park are still the talk of the town. Mike Shinoda and co. are now releasing their first best-of with "Papercuts", featuring a previously unreleased song from the last sessions. An emotional look back at one of the greatest rock bands of the recent past.

July marks the seventh anniversary of the tragic suicide of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. In addition to the human and family tragedy, the world also lost one of the most sensitive, vocal and characterful rock singers on the planet. Band members and fans did not recover from the shock for a very long time. How and whether the globally successful Linkin Park chapter, one of only a handful of bands to achieve relevant headliner status after the dawn of the millennium, will continue is still written in the stars. In recent years, mastermind Mike Shinoda has concentrated on his solo career and on protecting younger artists; he only got off the ground relatively late with Linkin Park's estate management.

A final chapter
To mark the 20th anniversary of the two cult albums "Hybrid Theory" (2000) and "Meteora" (2003), which turned Linkin Park into a global hit machine at the height of nu metal, there were lovingly curated reissues that at least temporarily satisfied the longing of millions of fans for their heroes. In 2020, Shinoda gave a first hint via social media that a still unfinished song with Bennington's voice from the sessions for the last studio album "One More Light" (2017) could possibly be put together. Even then, he pointed out that it would probably take a few years before the song was released to the public. At the end of February this year, the time had finally come and what was possibly the last "new" chapter of Linkin Park was made available with the thoroughly good "Friendly Fire", which was also exploited in an instrumental and a cappella version.

Songwriter and guitarist Brad Delson is still impressed today. "'Friendly Fire' was always one of our favorite songs from the 'One More Light' sessions. Something about it wasn't quite right, though, so we decided to put it on the back burner even though it was close to being finished." The idea of a best-of album had been floating around the Linkin Park camp for a long time. It is thanks to the internal respect and attentiveness of the surviving band members that a career compilation, including the recycling of leftovers, was not curated immediately after Bennington's passing, but allowed an appropriate amount of time to pass to allow the wounds to heal as well as possible. For the "Papercuts" project, Linkin Park are now collecting all the singles from the years 2000 to 2023, but surprisingly leaving out the 2014 album "The Hunting Party" completely.

The journey is the reward
When the musicians got together for this project, "Friendly Fire", which had been put on ice for a long time, came back into play. "When we were looking for an unreleased song for the Greatest Hits album, I was just blown away by the power of the song - its storytelling, the vocals and the soundscape," Delson continues, "I immediately thought to myself: 'Maybe we were further along than we realized at the time'. We sat down and connected some of the missing pieces that, for whatever reason, hadn't revealed themselves to us during the main recording of 'One More Light'. The path that led us to this song is a beautiful, gripping, heartbreaking, hopeful story that still touches me deeply today."

Aside from what is probably the last new Linkin Park song from the "old" line-up, fans, lovers and nostalgics can enjoy a hefty portion of catchy tunes that have long since passed the test of time. The palette ranges from the nu-metal hits of the early days ("Crawling", "In The End", "One Step Closer") to various loops of change ("Faint", "Numb", "Bleed It Out", "Waiting For The End") to the much more emotional compositions of the more recent works ("One More Light", "Castle Of Glass", "Lost"), which delve ever deeper into the fragmented world of Bennington's soul. Alongside "Friendly Fire", the first official release of "QWERTY", which was previously only available on the "Underground 6.0" compilation, is the second major revolution for fans of the band.

History fully told
Shinoda is delighted with the compilation. "When we make a Linkin Park album, it's important to me that I love every song and believe in it completely. I hope that every single song, when it's put out there on its own, is something that I can be proud of and that also resonates with the listener. That way we are all connected by the same energy. Each song in the collection is both a unique moment in our journey and part of an ongoing story - our own as well as yours." Whether this retrospective cast on vinyl and polycarbonate will continue remains to be seen. Rumors have recently been circulating that Shinoda and co. have already hired a singer to bring their life project back on stage sooner or later, even without Bennington. Whether it's an April Fool's joke or the truth - we'll find out soon.

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