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Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda: The 10 Albums That Changed My Life

The Linkin Park singer and rapper delves into his record collection to uncover his most meaningful albums

With Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda was one of the leading lights of nu metal, and the band is still going strong 20 years after they formed in Agoura Hills, California. While so many of their contemporaries have fallen by the wayside, Linkin Park are still going strong, but as he goes through the records that have moulded him, Shinoda shows that there's a lot more to his musical background than just rap-rock…


The album I'd want to be remembered for is…

Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns (2010)

“Every artist feels like their newest album is their best moment. I don’t know how people are going to make of it in the future but I like that we’ve not played it safe on this album at all.”

I break the speed limit to…

Ministry – The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste (1989)

“When you say driving fast, this is 100 per cent the album to do it to! If it was a road trip, I’d say Bjork or Glitch Mob, but when you’re talking pedal to the metal, this is the album you have to pick.”

The first album I bought was…

Run DMC – Raising Hell (1986)

“I got it on vinyl when it first came out and my favourite track that I’d play over and over was It’s Tricky. That made me want to rap, for sure. That and Yo! MTV Raps. Me and my friends used to swap cassettes and Run DMC changed my life. It was the most hard rock rap album at that time.”

The album that broke my heart was…

Nas – It Was Written (1996)

“The first one was a total classic. It wasn’t even that the second album was that bad, it’s just that it wasn’t up to that level again. Luckily, Nas recovered and did some great songs over the rest of his career but I was hit hard by that one, ha ha ha!”

The album I wish I'd made is…

Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced (1967)

“I love Axis: Bold As Love too but Are You Experienced is beyond comprehension. You can’t improve on it. The title-track, Purple Haze, Hey Joe… those are some of my favourite songs ever.”

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The album I fell in love to was…

The Doors – The Doors (1967)

“I’d heard a few songs by The Doors growing up, but I was never a fan. When I met my wife, her favourite band was The Doors and she asked if I listened to them. I was trying to impress her, so I totally lied. The truth came out and she eventually got me interested in their music, and now I like a lot of their stuff. Their first record is probably my favourite.”

A kid asks me what metal is. I'd hand him a copy of…

Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984)

“I heard this album in high school and I hated metal when I was 12 or 13, but I’d inadvertently heard them through Brad [Delson, LP guitarist]. Ride The Lightning always defines metal to me.”

No one will believe I own a copy of…

Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme (1966)

“I love Simon & Garfunkel. I like Cat Stevens too. The lyrics on those records are really good and those records set a really high bar for what can be done with simple songs and using storytelling and lyrics within a song. They’re masters at that.”

The best album artwork ever is…

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

“I’m probably just attracted to it because of my mind state right now. There’s something really powerful going on on that album cover and it’s iconic and it says a lot about the album itself. I really like the type too. I’m just into minimalist stuff now. Our new album has a simplistic, almost ink-blot effect in that everybody sees something different.”

The album that reminds me of sad times is…

Sunny Day Real Estate – How It Feels To Be Something On (1998)

“I listened to Sunny Day Real Estate when I first started college. I was on my own, away from my brother and family, and the reality of being alone was scary, as it is for most people when they first make that transition. It’s a beautiful album, perfect for times like those.”


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