A staggering amount of people think that Hybrid Theory was the pinnacle of Linkin Park’s musical achievement. That is, of course, wrong, but you don’t have to look far past it to find one of their most underrated ventures.
In the height of their initial uprising, before collaborating with Jay-Z, Linkin Park released Reanimation (2002), an album even I underrated at first. But after 11 years of musical exploration (I missed the 10-year anniversary), I’m convinced this may be the greatest remix album of our time.
Not only did it completely re-orchestrate each track off Hybrid Theory, but it also injected a brand new sub-genre into the bubbling mix of nu-metal. Many people are unaware that LP, a group with the exoskeleton of a rock band, produces and mixes their albums like hip-hop artists: beats, layers and cold fusion.
On Reanimation, the hip-hop DNA took the reigns and featured a myriad of rappers and MCs in the studio tweaking and re-imagining many hits you are all familiar with.
Remix albums, generally, are when an artist or a guest musician takes the seeds of an existing song and rearranges them, adding and distorting layers at various RPMs. It’s the same song, just different, unoriginal and dull. Most full remix albums are that way. But like many rappers have done over time, LP turned these 20 songs into an audible Banksy gallery. They might as well be considered street art.
For the record, I received LP’s eight remix tracks from 2012’s Living Things, and they were just normal remixes. Nothing new. It made me crave the brilliance of Reanimation because a decade later, it still resonates greatness:
Some subdued strings to get us started.
As you’ll notice, the corresponding Hybrid Theory tracks are are spelled out in barely decipherable leet speak.
Featured artist: Jay Gordon
What Changed: Probably the least altered of all the tracks here, this is an electrified version of one of the coolest hooks from the first album. Makes all the difference.
3. “Enth E Nd”
Featured artist: KutMasta Kurt, Motion Man
What Changed: Everybody’s favorite classic gets an upgrade with a filthy beat, new verses and it ditches the rage for groovitude. Mike Shinoda’s second verse curb-stomps the original.
These “bracket tracks” are 10-second phone conversations/voice-mails that pop up throughout the album.
Featured artist: Alchemist, Chali 2na
What Changed: Much darker than the original, slowed waaaaaaayyyy down and slightly altered lyrics. A cyborg replaces Chester Bennington in the chorus. This line: “The darkness overspreads like a permanent plague on the forgotten.” Use this for inspiration on your dystopian steampunk novels.
6. “P5hng Me A*wy”
Featured artist: Stephen Richards from Taproot
What Changed: Chills all the way up and down. Sans grungy guitar, they swapped the thrashing chorus for a subdued alternate. Once considered my favorite LP song, this is head and shoulders above the HT version. The live version is awesome because they mix both versions together.
7. “Plc.4 Mie Hæd”
Featured artist: Amp Live, Zion
What Changed: “Find another place to feed your face, If you don’t, we gon’ bump, get it up here, crunk.” More industrialized than the original with some tender moments, especially the piano at the end. It’s a wild ride, especially with that Zion verse, but more or less similar.
8. “X-Ecutioner Style”
Featured artist: Roc Raid (Rest in peace), Sean C., Black Thought
What Changed: Here, the DJs from the X-Ecutioners play around with pieces of Linkin Park songs and Black Thought raps over them. It’s good filler.
9. “H! Vltg3”
Featured artist: Evidence, Pharoahe Monch & D.J. Babu
What Changed: Little-known song from Hybrid Theory EP puts Mike Shinoda over a crackling record ambiance and he spits it cold. The robotic voice from the 90s Spider-Man cartoon from the root track is retired for a more cohesive chorus and the pace is altered significantly. Note that they released a better remix of this song later on, though it follows this same lyrical flow.
10. “[Riff Raff]”
Featured artist: Aceyalone
What Changed: This is “With You” laced with nitroglycerin and reborn in a mushroom cloud. Besides the Aceyalone verse, this song has a familiar structure, but the intensity is up several notches.
Basically “Opening” part two.
Featured artist: Cheapshot, Jubacca, Rasco, Planet Asia
What Changed: A more haunting and beat-driven version with some of the best rap verses on the record. This is the song where you realize, “Hey, this album sure is something!”
Featured artist: Backyard Bangers, Phoenix Orion
What Changed: This song is similar enough in structure to regular “Runaway” that I can never get the lyrics right to whichever version I happen to be listening to. Regardless, I love the the throwback lyric, “This constant apprehension, still giving me away.”
Featured artist: Mickey P., Kelli Ali
What Changed: Another remix from HT EP, and this is the only version worth your time. The delicate synth and icy soundscape capture the feeling of isolation that the original could not.
Just a guy leaving a call-back message. Definitely album material.
Featured artist: Josh Abraham
What Changed: Similar to what happened in “Points of Authority” and “With You,” this remix gets the thunder-bomb treatment. This is the musical embodiment of where Bruce Banner gets his inner rage.
18. “Kyur4 th Ich”
Featured artist: None
What Changed: LP die-hards will hear little references to old demos. Other than that, it’s just a more electronic version of Mr. Hahn’s original instrumental.
19. “1stp Klosr”
Featured artist: Jonathan Davis from Korn, The Humble Brothers
What Changed: We have reached part one of the 10-minute metal-head finale. The song is more swampy mist than sewage-explosion, if that makes any sense. Jonathan Davis’ added verse upgrades the anger to torment: “BLOOD IS POURING!”
Featured artist: Aaron Lewis from Staind
What Changed: The heavenly conclusion features the once-brooding Aaron Lewis bellowing the chorus in a way Chester never could. The guitars are swapped for strings, turning this song of aggressive self-loathing into a tragic plea.
So which album do you prefer, Hybrid Theory or Reanimation? Or are they just to different to compare?