Remembering 'Meteora,' Linkin Park's Second Album

Linkin Park on the Meteora World Tour, 2003

Remembering 'Meteora,' Linkin Park's Second Album

On March 25, 2003, a three-year wait for a new Linkin Park album ended with the release of Meteora, the hotly-anticipated follow-up to the group's bestselling debut Hybrid Theory.

Though the group released a remix album, Reanimation, a year before, they had been hard at work on a proper second album since shortly after the release of their first, experimenting with various demos on tour before hunkering down in the studio to write songs together. Some of the songs were long in the making: vocalist Mike Shinoda first had the idea for "Breaking the Habit" five or six years before its release.

Read More: Linkin Park: Celebrating 20 Years of "Hybrid Theory"

Lead single "Somewhere I Belong" featured the band's signature heavy-duty sound (complete with impassioned vocals from late singer Chester Bennington) with an even more dramatic scope of production (thanks to Don Gilmore, who also produced Hybrid Theory). Its distinctive opening was based on a guitar riff written by Bennington that Shinoda helped punch up. "The guitar part that Chester played had a cool progression to it but the sound of it was too acoustic," he said. "So what we did was, we flipped it backwards...I cut it up into four pieces and instead of arranging it 1-2-3-4, I arranged it 4-3-2-1."

The album's biggest hit was "Numb," a track dealing with alienation and the struggles of meeting the expectations of others. An obvious hit with teens, it reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 - their highest-charting single since "In the End" peaked at No. 2 - and later re-entered the Top 20 as a mash-up with Jay-Z's "Encore" off the collaborative Collision Course remix project.

Read More: It's Going Down: Linkin Park's Best Mike Shinoda Moments

Meteora sold 810,000 copies in its first week of release, debuting atop the Billboard 200, and went on to sell more than 7 million in the U.S. alone. The instrumental track "Session" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The band also took home two trophies from the MTV Video Music Awards for Meteora's creative videos: a Best Rock Video award for "Somewhere I Belong," and a Viewer's Choice pick for "Breaking the Habit."

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