When I was younger, I was accustomed to only listening to Spanish music because of my Salvadoran family. It wasn’t until my parents were no longer together that I would discover another genre of music.
When I was around five years old, my brother and I had a babysitter that would care for us while my mom was at work. The babysitter had three children that were in their early teens and would normally play hip-hop and rock music through their huge stereo system.
One day, they had MTV playing on their television. The channel aired a music video with a girl with bruises and mascara running down her face. This was the introduction that really changed the way I heard both hip-hop and rock combined together.
Chester Bennington’s vocal range in the song “Crawling” goes from almost screaming at times to very soft and melodic, while the other vocalist, Mike Shinoda, raps in between the pre-chorus.
The lyrics, “Without a sense of confidence, I’m convinced that there’s too much pressure to take,” always resonated with me. Since I was a timid person when I was younger, hearing those words especially helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I was dealing with.
Hearing Linkin Park combine hip-hop, the first genre that I listened to outside of Spanish music, with rock, allowed me to discover more bands that leaned into its guitars and vocal inflections.
Songs like “Papercut” and “In the End,” where Shinoda displays his rap prowess alongside Bennington’s voice and the guitars, had me nodding my head as if it were a rap song, but it also has the distortion of the guitars and heavy hitting drums alongside it.
Growing up during the birth of YouTube, I would run across more songs off the album like “Points of Authority” or “Runaway.” People would pair these songs with cutscenes from different animes like “Naruto” or “Dragon Ball Z” that a young me was amped up to see.
I couldn’t escape this album. I never minded it though because of what the album entailed for me, what Linkin Park titled this exact album, a hybrid theory.
This album changed my life, in a musical sense, for the lyricism and style that the band presented itself, and for myself, in a time where I didn’t completely understand what was going on in my life and everything around it.