Album review: Linkin Park – Papercuts (Singles Collection 2000–2023)

Linkin Park curate a massive selection of their biggest hits with extra rarities…

Album review: Linkin Park – Papercuts (Singles Collection 2000–2023)
Nick Ruskell

Even a near quarter-century on from Hybrid Theory, the size and swiftness of Linkin Park’s impact and dominance remains a genuinely staggering thing. Arriving at a time when nu-metal was already selling by the tonne (seven days before LP’s debut dropped, Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish… had done a million in a week upon release, while the previous year, Korn’s Issues album had gone gold in America on pre-orders alone), it was expected that they’d do well. But whatever predictions might have been made at the start, they were proved almost wildly inaccurate even a year on, when Linkin Park had become one of the biggest bands on the planet, with the best-selling rock debut since Appetite For Destruction.

There was never a point in the following years where they could properly be said to be in decline. So genuinely pervasive was their reach that, even if creatively LP’s appeal could occasionally be more selective than it could be at their most full-throttle, they never struggled to fill whatever arena in whatever part of the world they were in. Against any measure, they are not just one of the biggest bands of their time, but one of the most important.

Which is why, on paper, Papercuts feels like a redundant idea. Not just in the sense that playlists mean the ordering of this collection of singles already exists somewhere, but that this music is so embedded that you don’t have to go far to hear most of it anyway.

In practice, however, there’s plenty to be lauded here. For one, it gives proper release to QWERTY, a previously fanclub-only track from 2006’s LP Underground 6.0. More importantly, there’s Friendly Fire, a song from the band’s sessions for 2017’s One More Light released for this project, which features some of Chester Bennington’s last vocals. Whatever the reason for not making the cut at the time, it can’t have been because it wasn’t very good – a towering song that showed just how massive LP could sound, it fits snugly here alongside the likes of Leave Out All The Rest. That it’s done almost 20 million streams on Spotify since its release ahead of Papercuts in February says much about the song and the continued fondness for Linkin Park themselves.

Elsewhere, things are kept interesting by not simply running through the tracks in chronological order. Later stuff like Burn It Down from Living Things sits next to early(ish) mega-hit What I’ve Done, as does Waiting For The End from 2010’s A Thousand Suns and Somewhere I Belong. Their collaboration with Jay-Z, Numb/Encore, meanwhile, makes a surprise appearance early doors. It makes you appreciate the creative growth of the band out of the isolation of each album, as well. Carefully curated like this, it’s constructed almost like a setlist one dearly wishes could be seen live.

On a collection dubbed Singles Collection 2000–2023, it’s slightly disappointing that it’s not a completist’s dream, and that there’s nothing from 2014’s The Hunting Party album. But there’s also a vision here in the way Papercuts has been put together, and how these songs are seen by the band, and by implication, how the band saw and see themselves.

That such a criticism exists in the first place, though, is also a nicer problem to have: too many singles to pick from. It’s also one that’s instructive about the sheer scale of what Linkin Park did in the years written on the cover of this collection. And as a celebration of that, Papercuts remains a very good one.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Korn, Bring Me The Horizon, Deftones

Papercuts (Singles Collection 2000–2023) is released on April 12 via Warner Music

Read this: The 20 greatest Linkin Park songs – ranked

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?