The hottest music coming up in 2003 |


The hottest music coming up in 2003

Advance word on the most promising new releases of the year

Linkin Park

(Linkin Park: Martin Schoeller/Corbis Outline)

Linkin Park, the Sophomore Challenge


On a recent slushy afternoon in Manhattan, the lone cd copy of the tentatively titled ”Meteora” – Linkin Park’s follow-up to its 8 million-selling debut, ”Hybrid Theory” – is receiving the sort of attention usually accorded a state secret. It is residing in the pocket of one of the band’s security guards…right next to a Taser. ”Inevitably, stuff will leak,” says MC and vocalist Mike Shinoda of the extreme security measures. ”In the meantime, you’re careful.”

In the two-plus years since ”Hybrid”’s release, the Southern California sextet (pictured) has toured just about every spot in the brave nu world and spun off a best-selling remix album, ”Reanimated.” Meteora was recorded in three stints: first on a touring bus, then at Shinoda’s home studio, and finally with producer Don Gilmore. Often, each member laid down his tracks separately. ”For us, jamming and working and writing as a group would just suck,” says Shinoda. ”We’d drive each other nuts.”

The album’s dozen tracks keep with Linkin Park’s rap-rock tradition, but the pounding riffs will have competition. ”Some of the songs are going to feel different,” says Shinoda. ”We never want to use our guitars or choruses as a crutch.” (March)