Foundational. I do agree with the greater sentiment that the album sounds and is dated, but what people say is true: Hybrid Theory put Linkin Park on the map, and in some sense they rejuvenated a dying genre by doing it in a less rough-around-the-edges, more melodic sort of way. I agree with the sentiments as well that what Linkin Park was doing wasn't new - they've acknowledged so in the past (e.g. "Step Up" - "rappin' over rock doesn't make you a pioneer, 'cause rock and hip hop have collaborated for years"). I think they just showed that it could be done better, and thus the genre became fairly accessible just before it really faded away. Meteora is definitely hurt by its compression, but the very nature of the album is different in terms of its dynamic than Hybrid Theory. HT had a lot of energy as an album, and was fueled by its riffs. Meteora took on a much darker sound and was far more driven by power chords (though there's a fair amount of that on both albums). A lot of people beat down on Meteora, but that album displaced a lot of criticism from outside of the fanbase and solidified the band's place as a highly popular, mainstream band (at the time). Every single went #1 (if I recall correctly?), and I think that happened of its own accord more than just riding the wave of its predecessor. I know the impression is widely different within the fanbase, but that album did a lot for the band as well. I feel like I always have to defend it, perhaps in part because Meteora is by and large the reason I am a fan in the first place. But I honestly see it like this: if Hybrid Theory is the album that put Linkin Park on the map, Meteora is the album that solidified their place as one of the biggest rock bands in the world - even if we look back on it now and critique its quality. Anyway, this thread is about Hybrid Theory so forgive me, but I just don't want people to drop Meteora because they think that album isn't good. That album is as big of a reason, if not a bigger one, as the debut why the band became so famous and has stayed so despite how the music landscape has changed.