As the '60s Summer of Love came to an end, it looked like everything that the hippies stood for was all but a pipe dream. No matter how many people tried to protest for peace, the war in Vietnam was still raging like a forest fire, along with the rest of the world going on about the more violent aspects of society. The world was shifting to the dark side, and rock was about to get its own teeth back as well.
Around the same time that the counterculture was starting to die out, bands came out brandishing their more hard edged version of rock and roll, based on blues and folding into the heavy metal scene as well. Though these might be pretty easy to spot these days, these are the few albums that can leave even the contemporary rock fan shellshocked.
While some of these have singles that have been played into the ground more than you'd like to admit, these records transcended what it meant to be a hard rock band, ushering in new aesthetics as well as new techniques that no one had ever heard of before. The days of bright and sunshine-y rock and roll was a thing of the past, and it was about time that rock decided to grow into its shoes a little bit more.
10. Hybrid Theory - Linkin Park
If the music industry played by the rules, there's a good chance that nu metal probably didn't have much of a life past the late '90s. In the wake of the massive disaster that happened with Limp Bizkit's appearance at Woodstock 1999, this felt like it was bound to become the kind of music only listened to by jocks complaining about nothing. There was an introspective side amid the jocks though, and 5 guys from California tapped on the wound with their first record.
Despite having the trappings of what you would normally find in nu metal, Linkin Park gave us the best of both worlds by bringing together Mike Shinoda's rapping with Chester Bennington's voice, having the perfect foil to bounce verses off of. That idea of Hybrid in the title isn't a mistake either, with each song sounding like it's trying to invent its own blend of genres, like the insecurity going on in Papercut or the closest thing to a ballad that they had at the time with In the End.
These songs never pulled any of their punches either, laying into themselves and the world around them about how teenagers get stepped on far too often and how you're on the verge of exploding at any given moment. You can call songs like Crawling dated if you wanted to, but this was far from the kind of cringe that Staind and Limp Bizkit were putting out at the time. This was the sound of pure angst, and it's hiding just underneath your skin.