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Mike Shinoda reflects on going “outside of the [Linkin Park] DNA” with post-‘Meteora’ sound

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Warner Records

A lot of people have been revisiting the nu metal days of Linkin Park.

The band’s 2003 album, Meteora, returned to the top 10 of the Billboard 200 last week following the release of its 20th anniversary reissue, which features the unearthed single “Lost.” While Meteora followed in the nu metal footsteps of its predecessor, 2000’s Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park’s next album, 2007’s Minutes to Midnight, found them exploring entirely new directions.

Speaking to ABC Audio, LP’s Mike Shinoda shares that the band made that shift intentionally.

“[Our sound] was starting to get paint-by-numbers, it was starting to be the point where other people could copy it in theory,” Shinoda explains.

He quips, “No pun intended.”

At that point in their career after Meteora, Shinoda feels he and the rest of Linkin Park were faced with a choice.

“We can either keep doing this exact thing and turn it into McDonald’s, where you go anywhere in the world and you can get a Big Mac,” Shinoda says. “Or we can push the envelope and try different and new things and expand our taste, expand our skill set, hopefully make stuff that’s more exciting.”

While the sonic jump from Hybrid Theory and Meteora to Minutes to Midnight was certainly striking at the time, Shinoda feels that Linkin Park hinted at the upcoming change and future explorations during those nu metal days.

“The reason songs like ‘Breaking the Habit’ and ‘Session’ and ‘Nobody’s Listening’ are on [Meteora] is because we needed to indicate to people that we were going to go outside of the DNA or the expected sound of the band,” he says.

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