Sure, they may not have the most complex guitar out there and their songs are very structurally similar, but really, Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory” was one of the catchiest, most energetic, and innovative cds to come out in quite a while. I loved their first release, loved the remix album just as much, and have been salivating over this new album. So, does it live up to their past two records? Lets go track by track-1. Foreword- a short intro with speeding up percussion (the sound of a cd burner being beaten up) erupting into the sound of shattering glass and launching you into the next track.2. Don’t Stay- An aggressive guitar driven track with some really awesome dj scratching. Chester Bennington (singer) mixes up the verses with some awesome screaming.3. Somewhere I Belong- The first single of Meteora sounds like it was constructed from the ground up to be a radio hit in the vein of In The End. That said, the interesting sampling and really beautiful piano part make this track a very memorable in its own right.4. Lying From You- Heavy, sample laced guitar riffs and thunderous vocals make this one of the most mammoth tracks on the album5. Hit The Floor- One of my favorites, Hit The Floor features some spectacular samples, skull crushing riffs and screaming, and some real tricky rapping from Mike Shinoda (emcee). I love the bridge, and the chorus has the same sort of weirdly catchy syncopation as By Myself (off Hybrid Theory).6. Easier To Run- Ugh, my least favorite. Everything about this track smacks of an ill fated attempt to recapture the awesome grandeur off their old single, “Crawling”. Though the rapping part is alright, Chester’s chorus is revoltingly sappy and boring. Actually, his voice reminds me of Creed in this song (if that’s good or bad, you decide).7. Faint- Fast, furious, slick, and raging, the quick rapping and funky violin samples make this song an instant classic.8. Figure 9- A straightforward rap-rocker with some clanking sampling and a bridge lifted right off of By Myself, this one is a solid head banger.9. Breaking The Habit- A really weird sample, featuring Spanish guitar, live orchestra, and -I think- coin chinking sounds from a Mario game plays behind Chester’s tortured, magnificent lyrics. A rather large departure from traditional LP (no rap, for one thing), this song really is quite beautiful, though the chorus could be seen as a little corny.10. From the Inside- A solid ballad with a furious bridge, I think this song is a better Crawling sequel than Easier to Run.11. Nobody’s Listening- A cool hip-hop track with some unique flute samples, clips of High Voltage (another Linkin Park rap song), and some singing in the chorus. Though I’m not a big straight rap fan, I like this track quite a bit.12. Session- An awesome instrumental, this is actually one of my favorites on the cd. Though its conceptually evocative of Cure for the Itch, the layering of sounds and seriously wicked dj solo make this far better than any of Linkin Park’s past instrumentals.13. Numb- The crowning achievement of the cd, Numb is one of the few tracks on Meteora that not only captures the energy and emotion of Hybrid Theory, it expounds upon it. A beautiful chorus, splendid piano and keyboard parts, and unforgettable lyrics make this my favorite song on the cd.Overall, this album is musically more advanced and distinguished than Linkin Park’s past attempts. However, it is not as gripping, powerful, or focused as Hybrid Theory or even Reanimation. Though a number of songs seem attempt to duplicate past successes- Don’t Stay and Ones Step Closer, Somewhere I Belong and In The End, Lying From You and With You, Easier to Run and Crawling, Figure 9 and By Myself, Numb and Pushing Me Away- they seldom capture the elements that made Hybrid Theory such an outstanding album. Nowhere is there the frenetic razor beats of Papercut, the infamous “Shut up!”s of One Step Closer, or the emotional meltdown of A Place for My Head. Meteora excels in other ways, however. The tracks are more diverse, from the techno pop of Breaking the Habit to the ingenious hip hop of Nobody’s Listening to the grinding elements of Hit the Floor, the songs on the album are on a whole more different from each other than they were on Hybrid Theory. Newcomers to LP won’t be disappointed, but I think long time fans will find them selves yearning for the band’s former punch. In fact, its probable that Meteora will not commercially match Hybrid Theory- though a lot of the tracks are soft and catchy, not as many just scream to be heard again. Another gripe is that this is one very short cd- though there isn’t a lot of filler, you feel like they keep working up to something grand and never quite achieve it (though Numb, the best track, is last, one amazing song tacked on at the end does not make the rest of the cd monumental). Don’t get me wrong, this is a good album and is well deserving of your money, I just think that there is something missing that prevents it from being a 5 star album.