The Singles Ranked: Linkin Park

Andrew Johnston
12 min readJul 26, 2022
Linkin Park Burn It Down Style Wallpaper” by raulgabi, CC BY-ND

I once saw a music writer do a ranked list of Linkin Park albums — a typical article, one done many times for many artists. But I don’t know why you’d bother doing so for this particular act when:

  • They only had seven studio albums, and
  • You’re just going to throw them into the same order as every other music snob, which this person did.

Music writers love the ranked list because it’s easy to do and…well, pretty much just for that reason. The problem is that there are a lot of musicians and bands that were very popular and even influential, yet never released all that much music.

There’s an obvious solution: Don’t rank the albums. Rank the singles from those albums.

Given the history of ranking articles in music magazines and websites, there’s no way I’m the first person to have thought to do this — so why isn’t it more common? It defeats the problems of the popular yet short-lived band, but unlike a list of best songs, it doesn’t allow the writer to take the coward’s way out with a list of critic’s darlings and “deep cuts.”

Most of the bands that fit the above description (or at least the ones I’ve thought of) came out within my lifetime and were often very popular during my adolescence. And since this started with Linkin Park, it seemed sage to begin with the band that had two mega-platinum albums when I was in high school that I never actually listened to.

I know that sounds like a bad lie — what kind of 90s kid didn’t listen to Hybrid Theory at least a few dozen times? Well, the kind who let his indie-altie friends convince him it was too angsty. I really didn’t have a chance to dig into this band until I was living in China, where they have been enormously popular for years.

Linkin Park @ Arena Anhembi — SP” by Focka, CC BY-ND

Defining the “single”

Before we get into this thing, I should take a moment to define what “single” means for the purposes of these articles. This includes the tracks officially released as singles by the label, as well as any other promotional releases — what I’m terming “non-album singles.”

It excludes the following:

  • Remixes, demo tracks, live tracks, or any other alternate version of a studio track
  • Collaborations that appeared on another artist’s album
  • Songs by side projects of band members or as solo artists
  • Tracks that charted, but weren’t released as singles

For this article, this means I’ll be excluding a number of songs that others might be inclined to include, including “It’s Goin’ Down,” “Numb/Encore,” “We’ve Made It,” “Remember the Name,” and “Darker Than Blood.”

Yes, these standards are completely arbitrary — and, if you take issue with my arrangement and wish to make your own ranked list of singles, you are free to create your own arbitrary set of standards.

And now, my overlong, rambling, half-informed list of singles from a band that every opportunist already wrote about last week…

Linkin Park, O2 Arena” by Chris Parker, CC BY-ND

The Singles Ranked: Linkin Park

33. “Powerless,” Living Things

I’ve looked at a few bands for this, and every single list of singles has at least one song where I say to myself “That was a single? Why?” So it is for this one. “Powerless”? Really? Aside from being the final track which is inevitably ignored (except for “Numb,” of course), it’s just a really low-energy song without a lot that stands out. I guess the chorus is all right, though.

32. “Heavy,” One More Light

Stop the presses, a music critic doesn’t like “Heavy.”

31. “Until It’s Gone,” The Hunting Party

As an artist of any description, one could argue that the worst thing you can do is to be forgettable. It’s better to be bad but memorable than to be competent and boring. That said, it’s hard to say much about “Until It’s Gone” because every time I try to write something about it, I realize I’ve completely forgotten what the song sounds like and I have to go listen to it again. That’s a bad sign.

30. “From the Inside,” Meteora

To me, “From the Inside” is a pretty typical B-side, back-half-of-the-album track. It’s not bad, but there’s not much to say about it. It’s downtempo and clashes with the tracks that came before it, but it’s not emotional in the same sense as something like, say, “Easier to Run.” It just occupies space.

29. “Crawling,” Hybrid Theory

And now, for the obligatory “Controversial choice to generate conversation” item. While I’ve come to appreciate “Crawling” a little bit, I still don’t like it. To me, it will always be the angsty track with the lyrics I can’t take seriously.

28. “Leave Out All the Rest,” Minutes to Midnight

Minutes to Midnight is my favorite LP album by far, but “Leave Out All the Rest” is probably the weakest track on what is otherwise a very strong A-side. I used to like this song a lot more, but it’s kind of worn out its welcome. It’s certainly pretty but there’s not much to hold it up, especially not compared to some of the other ballad-type tracks that are higher on the list.

27. “Iridescent,” A Thousand Suns

Meh, it’s fine. That’s about all the emotion I can muster here.

26. “Somewhere I Belong,” Meteora

Meteora has so many strong tracks that I’m not really sure why the label opted to make this one the opening single. Maybe they’d learned that LP fans had an emotional attachment to the music and opted to open with something a little more downtempo. Alternately, maybe they still didn’t know how the hell to handle the band. This one has a little more heft than “From the Inside,” but it has the same problems in my eyes.

25. “The Catalyst,” A Thousand Suns

Speaking of things that must have frustrated the label, I have to assume that A Thousand Suns gave them a bad case of the vapors. “The Catalyst” was an obvious choice for a leading single, being probably the only radio-friendly track on an album that wasn’t radio-friendly at all. “The Catalyst” is a pretty good track, and would probably make a good entry point for the kind of person who is negatively inclined toward LP as it doesn’t quite sound like one of their songs, but it’s just a lot less interesting than the album as a whole.

24. “Castle of Glass,” Living Things

That’s right, Shinoda sings too, doesn’t he? While I’m generally not a fan of the downtempo tracks, “Castle of Glass” really popped out at me the first thing I listened to Living Things. On subsequent listens? It’s…fine.

23. “Papercut,” Hybrid Theory

This was a song that I had to get used to, as I didn’t like it at all the first time I listened to Hybrid Theory. It’s one of those songs where the live versions are infinitely better than the album version, I think. Still not one of my favorites (and I have to imagine that most fans would put this one a lot higher), but it’s all right.

22. “Talking to Myself,” One More Light

This song probably embodies One More Light for a lot of people — that feeling of “Wait, this is Linkin Park?” It is very, very pop, but it is a very good pop song. However, like most contemporary pop songs, it doesn’t have a lot of staying power. I got tired of it quickly.

21. “Rebellion,” The Hunting Party

If, like most people, you forgot that The Hunting Party existed, this is a good primer on its overall sound. It is a straight metal song — not as heavy as some of the others, but about as heavy as you’re going to hear on mainstream radio.

20. “Good Goodbye,” One More Light

This song is okay, but what made it for me (and why this is higher on the list than it normally would be) was a promotional video with Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda where they said that this was inspired by the taunting songs that basketball fans sing at the rival team. The idea was to create a song that could be used the same way. I wish more bands could poke fun at themselves like this.

Linkin Park @ Arena Anhembi — SP” by Focka, CC BY-ND

19. “Guilty All The Same,” The Hunting Party

The Hunting Party really is the forgotten LP album, but then I suppose that’s what happens when your frontman breaks his leg and you do almost no promotion. Even so, it kills me how many guitarists worship Hybrid Theory and Meteora but then completely ignore this much more technically interesting album. Seriously, “Guilty All the Same” has some serious punch.

18. “What I’ve Done,” Minutes to Midnight

A.K.A. the one from a Transformers movie. I suppose I should make fun of that, but it’s a solid song, if not exceptional.

17. “Lost in the Echo,” Living Things

Living Things was the first LP album I actually owned (after years of letting people convince me that they were too angsty to be worth my time), so this song was my introduction — or reintroduction — to the band. While it’s not as heavy as their earlier work, it does really show off the rock-electronic fusion that is the band’s trademark.

16. “Shadow of the Day,” Minutes to Midnight

This is easily the best U2 song that Linkin Park ever wrote.

15. “A Light That Never Comes,” Recharged

As the sole original song on a remix album, this was going to be either remembered by all or completely forgotten. It seems to be the latter, which is a shame because it is really good. “A Light That Never Comes” is almost a pure electronic song, meaning that it was destined to alienate metal fans — but they’d been doing that for over a decade by this point, so what else is new?

14. “Waiting For The End,” A Thousand Suns

We’ve officially reached a new level: “Songs That I Like Primarily Because I Can Sing Them Well.” Because A Thousand Suns is such a denigrated album, I don’t blame you for forgetting this track and thus missing out on Bennington’s vocals which are beautiful and ominous at the same time.

13. “New Divide,” Non-album single

I feel like a mainstream tool for listing a song from a Michael Bay movie this high on the list, but then again I officially quit caring what music snobs had to think of me the second I sat down to write a Linkin Park listicle.

12. “Wastelands,” The Hunting Party

I was going to mock metalheads for whining about LP while ignoring The Hunting Party, but then I realized I’ve done that several times already. Anyway, give it a listen if you haven’t, you heathens. It’s solid metal.

11. “Burning in the Skies,” A Thousand Suns

If it were up to me, this would have been the lead single from A Thousand Suns. “The Catalyst” is probably a better choice because it’s uptempo, but this song is just gorgeous from back to front while still having a bit of that hard rock power behind it.

Linkin Park @ Citibank Hall — RJ” by Focka, CC BY-ND

10. “Given Up,” Minutes to Midnight

A.K.A. the one where Chester Bennington screams for 17 consecutive seconds. Have you ever tried it? It ain’t easy. Anyway, “Given Up” is easily one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard from any band. Openers are usually catchy and shallow, and while “Given Up” is a relatively simple track, there’s enough here to analyze and scrutinize. And it helps get the anger out.

9. “Final Masquerade,” The Hunting Party

This is a really good old-school ballad that has all the more purchase because, unlike most old-school hard rock and metal bands, LP does this kind of music a lot. I know I’ve said it about several songs, but “Final Masquerade” is just a beautiful track and the world just doesn’t have enough beauty in it.

8. “Burn It Down,” Living Things

Even though it was the big hit from Living Things, I don’t think that “Burn It Down” gets the attention it deserves. Some LP songs are so dense in their production that you can get lost in them, and this is something that’s rarely true of harder acts. In many ways, this is one of their essential songs.

7. “In the End,” Hybrid Theory

We were going to get here eventually, weren’t we? You know, I’ve probably made fun of this song at some point. That may well have been an act of mental self-defense, as this track in particular was the background music for my adolescence.

6. “One Step Closer,” Hybrid Theory

After all that talk about how dense LP songs can get, the top of this list is going to be heavy with their most basic songs. Well, what’s wrong with that? You’ve got a great riff, driving vocals, and an all-around wicked mix. This song still gets people energized, and for a good reason — it absolutely kills.

5. “Faint,” Meteora

This song came out just before my birthday and proceeded to chase me from the end of high school into college. It’s one of those tracks that I’ve always remembered, even though I thought I didn’t. It’s brief, it’s got a great balance of electronic elements to rock elements, and it’s one of the few tracks where the hip-hop kids stop complaining about Mike Shinoda.

4. “Numb,” Meteora

“You can sing ‘Numb’ for us, right?” Sorry, various Chinese college students who’ve asked me this. This is a much more technical song that it appears at first brush, something that you’d know if you’ve ever watched music producer Rick Beato’s excellent deconstruction of it. But because Beato doesn’t go as much into the vocals (by his own admission, he can’t sing), it’s easy to miss how tricky the vocals can be. Seriously, I can’t do this song without starting in some weird minor key that no one wants to hear.

3. “Bleed It Out,” Minutes to Midnight

As many people have pointed out, this song is very similar to “Faint,” so how did I decide on the order? Simple — this was the one I listened to ten times in a row. For all the technical analysis we pretend to do and the stories we tell ourselves, the only real way to know if a song is good is if you listen to it and immediately want to listen to it again. By that logic, if this were a list of all LP songs instead of just the singles, the number one spot would go to “Points of Authority,” a track I found on some crappy MP3 site when I was 14 years old and had going on a loop for over an hour while I did nothing but listen to it. Ah, the good old days.

2. “Breaking The Habit,” Meteora

I believe that this was the first LP song I ever learned, and it remains one of my favorites to do. I’m not even going to bother talking about “Breaking the Habit” on a technical level because, while it is very good, that’s kind of beside the point. Yes, it’s one of those angsty songs, but everyone — I repeat, everyone — has been in a situation like the one described in this song, wherein you just feel the need to retreat even though you know it’s not healthy. Thinking about this, I feel like the key difference between LP fans and detractors is that both are isolated, but the former are constantly striving toward some sort of community, while the latter cut themselves off even more to maintain their feelings of superiority. The former is better.

Chester Bennington of Linkin’ Park” by Habib Obi, CC BY-ND

That was rambling, wasn’t it? Well, I’ll keep the last item brief:

1. “One More Light,” One More Light

Haters go fuck yourselves.

Thank you for taking the time to read my meanderings. If you liked this, please follow, clap and comment, as those are the kinds of things that let me know that you want to see more of this (and there are more bands I would like to cover…if anyone wants to see that).

And while I have you, would you consider taking a look at my latest project? Believe it or not, it has something of an LP connection buried deep inside it.



Andrew Johnston

Writer of fiction, documentarian, currently stranded in Asia. Learn more at