Hybrid Theory (stylized as [HYBRID THEORY]) is the debut studio album by American rock band Linkin Park, released on October 24, 2000 by Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Don Gilmore, it was recorded at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California, during 1998, 1999 and 2000 Its lyrical themes deal with problems the band's lead singer Chester Bennington experienced during adolescence, including drug abuse and the conflict and divorce of his parents. The album takes its title from the previous name of the band, as well as the concept of music theory and combining different styles of genres.

Hybrid Theory peaked at number 2 on the US Billboard 200, and received generally positive reviews from critics. The album was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album, and became responsible for launching Linkin Park into mainstream popularity. Hybrid Theory has sold 30 million copies worldwide, and was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2017 for sales surpassing 11 million units. Four singles were released from the album: "One Step Closer", "Crawling", "Papercut", and "In the End".


In 1996, Xero was formed by Michael Shinoda and Bradford Delson, who recruited turntablist Joseph Hahn, drummer Robert Bourdon, bassist David Farrell and then-vocalist Mark Wakefield. Wakefield resigned, however, due to the group's multiple failures to achieve a record deal and eventually became the manager of Taproot. Later, Farrell would also leave temporarily to tour with the Tasty Snax.

During this time, Xero inquired through Zomba's Vice President of A&R co-ordination, Jeff Blue, for a new vocalist. Blue came up with positive results about Phoenix, Arizona native Chester Bennington, originally of the band Grey Daze, who impressed him with his unique and vivid singing style. Reflecting about Bennington, Delson elaborated that “He really was kind of the final piece of the puzzle [...] We didn't see anything close to his talent in anybody else.”

Soon after, the band renamed themselves as Hybrid Theory and released a self-titled EP. However, after resolving a copyright issue with record producers "Hybrid", they mutually decided on the name Linkin Park, suggested by Bennington who mentioned a park in Santa Monica known as Christine Emerson Reed Park, which was then named “Lincoln Park”. Linkin Park had produced a nine-track demo that was sent to various recording companies in 1999. Initially, they faced denial from most recording companies, and were even blacklisted by some. During this time, Warner Bros. Records expressed interest in the band. Jeff Blue also joined the label after resigning from Zomba. This move saw a definite record contract signing for the band.

Recording And ProductionEdit

After facing initial struggles to find a record producer willing to take charge of a newly signed band, they found Don Gilmore. Most of the songs were remakes of the songs off of the nine-track demo recording (see remade tracks below). The rap sections in most of the songs had undergone the most significant changes, with most of the choruses remaining similar. Four weeks were dedicated to re-recording the tracks. Some re-recorded songs were partially reminiscent of the tracks that were featured on the Xero sampler tape. A noticeable aspect in almost all of the songs is Delson's drop D tunings. Due to the absence of the bassist, Dave Farrell, the band hired Scott Koziol and Ian Hornbeck as stand-ins. Delson also played bass in a majority of songs. The Dust Brothers provided additional beats for the track “With You”. After recording was completed, Andy Wallace was chosen to mix the tracks.


The music of Hybrid Theory draws from diverse inspirations. Bennington's singing style is influenced by acts such as Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots, while the riffs and playing techniques of guitarist Brad Delson are modeled after Deftones, Guns N' Roses, U2, and The Smiths. Mike Shinoda's rapping, present in seven tracks, could be traced back to The Roots' style. The lyrical content of the songs primarily touches upon the problems that Bennington encountered during his childhood, including child abuse, constant and excessive drug and alcohol abuse, the divorce of his parents, isolation, disappointments, and the aftermath feelings of failed relationships.

The album eventually brought forward four singles. "One Step Closer", the album's second track and first single, was gradually recorded in increments after Linkin Park struggled with "Runaway", and features a guitar riff and electronic percussion in the introduction transitioning into a bridge with distortion-heavy guitars and aggressive drums. It is also infamous for the "Shut up when I'm talkin' to you!" refrain screamed by Bennington one minute and 48 seconds into the song. The music video for "One Step Closer" was shot in a Los Angeles subway and became an instant hit, eventually receiving heavy rotation on MTV and other music television networks. Stand-in bassist Scott Koziol is shown performing with the band in the video due to Phoenix's absence.

"Papercut" was the album's third single, and its lyrics address paranoia and schizophrenia. The music video for "Papercut" features the band performing in a room opposite a completely dark room on the walls of which are scribbled the song's lyrics. Various supernatural themes are present in the video, and special effects are used to create eerie renditions, such as the "stretching" of Shinoda's fingers and the “melting” of Bourdon's face. The album's second single is "Crawling". Lyrically, the song focuses on Bennington's personal experiences with child abuse — the physical violence, the difficulty in breaking the cycle of abuse, and the subsequent loss of self-esteem. This concept is echoed in the music video, in which a girl (Katelyn Rosaasen) is abused by her father and can be seen in the beginning of the video with several visible bruises.

The fourth single to come from Hybrid Theory was "In the End", which prominently features a signature piano riff performed by Shinoda. His rapping also dominates the verses of the song and is later joined by Bennington's vocals in the chorus. The song's concept is mainly based on one person's failure. It is considered symbolic of an ending relationship, however, it can also represent broken trust in a once long-lasting friendship. The music video for "In the End" was shot at various stops along the 2001 Ozzfest tour and was directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox and the band's turntablist Joseph Hahn, who would go on to direct many of Linkin Park's future videos (the two also directed the music video for "Papercut"). Although the background for the "In the End" video was filmed in a California desert, the band itself performed on a studio stage in Los Angeles, with prominent CGI effects and compositing being used to create the finished version. Performing on a studio stage allowed Hahn and Cox to set off water pipes above the stage near the end and drench the band. The music video won the Best Rock Video award at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.

"Points of Authority", the fourth track on the album, has its own music video that can be found on Frat Party at the Pankake Festival, the band's first DVD. Drummer Rob Bourdon describes the recording process of the song: “Brad wrote this riff, then went home. Mike decided to cut it up into different pieces and rearranged them on the computer [...] Brad had to learn his own part from the computer.” Regarding the song, Delson praised Shinoda's skill, describing him as “a genius” and “Trent Reznor-talented”. On live performances of the song, when Shinoda raps the line, "Forfeit the game" verse for the third time in the song, Bennington would rap the verse along with Mike.

Track ListingEdit

No. Title Length
1. "Papercut" 3:04
2. "One Step Closer" 2:36
3. "With You" 3:23
4. "Points of Authority" 3:20
5. "Crawling" 3:30
6. "Runaway" (Mark Wakefield, Linkin Park) 3:04
7. "By Myself" 3:09
8. "In the End" 3:37
9. "A Place for My Head" 3:04
10. "Forgotten" 3:14
11. "Cure for the Itch" 2:37
12. "Pushing Me Away" 3:12

Bonus DiscEdit

No. Title Length
1. "Papercut" (Live at Docklands Arena, London) 3:13
2. "Points of Authority" (Live at Docklands Arena, London) 3:30
3. "A Place for My Head" (Live at Docklands Arena, London) 3:11
4. "My December" 4:20
5. "High Voltage" (Remix) 3:45

Remade TracksEdit

The majority of Hybrid Theory's tracks are represented by remakes of older songs and demos, which the band recorded between 1997 and 1999. In some cases, the songs were almost completely rewritten keeping few of their original elements.

  • "One Step Closer" (originally entitled "Plaster");
  • "With You" (originally entitled "Now I See");
  • "Points of Authority" (originally entitled "Points & Authority");
  • "Crawling" (of which a demo was recorded under their previous name Hybrid Theory);
  • "Runaway" (which draws its main riff from the older "Stick N' Move" from Xero);
  • "By Myself" (whose original title "SuperXero", was the first name for the group);
  • "In the End" (originally entitled "Untitled");
  • "A Place for My Head" (originally entitled "Esaul");
  • "Forgotten" (originally entitled "Rhinestone" when the band was called "Xero").

The rap sections in most of the songs had undergone the most significant changes, with many of the choruses remaining similar. The songs written when the band was known as Xero are also changed more significantly than those from the Hybrid Theory band name era.

One track that was cut from the album was the remake of "High Voltage". The song's original version had been featured on Hybrid Theory EP. The remixed version appeared on the second disc of Hybrid Theory Special Edition. It is believed that the song was meant to be track twelve on the album, between "Cure for the Itch" and "Pushing Me Away", because "Cure for the Itch" and "High Voltage" seem to be transitional (like most tracks from 2003's Meteora).

In 2002 an entire remix album was released for Hybrid Theory entitled Reanimation. It featured reinterpretations of every song on Hybrid Theory as well as the special edition bonus tracks "High Voltage" and "My December".


Linkin Park
Additional musicians
  • Frank Maddocks – graphic design
  • James Minchin III – photography
  • Mike Shinoda – soldier drawing, line art sketches, drawings
  • Joe Hahn – line art sketches, drawings
  • Don Gilmore – producer, engineering
  • Steve Sisco – Engineering
  • John Ewing Jr. – Additional engineering, Pro Tools
  • Matt Griffin – Engineering assistance
  • Andy Wallace – mixing
  • Brian Gardner – Audio mastering, digital editing
  • Jeff Blue – A&R, executive producer
  • Natalie Preston & Arriana Murray – A&R Coordination
  • Michael Arfin – Booking agent for Artist Group
  • Michael Oppenhein & Jonathan Schwart – Business managers for Gudvi, Chapnik & Oppenhein
  • Danny Hayes – Legal for Selverne, Mandelbaum and Mintz
  • Petter Standish – Marketing director
  • Rob Mcdermott – World representation for The Firm


  • It is the only album by Linkin Park to reach Diamond status.
  • Many songs from the album were from past mixtapes of Xero, albeit with Bennington singing instead of Wakefield.
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