"One Step Closer" (2000)
"As far as the lyrics, it's very self-explanatory," Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda told Billboard in 2000. "I think that's one reason that it's being as well received as it is." From their debut single, Linkin Park's had all the elements that would make the band a rap-rock sensation: detuned guitar, scribbling turntables, part-sung-part-rapped angst, and a chorus ("Everything you say to me/Takes me one step closer to the edge/And I'm about to break!") that walked the line between vulnerability and rage. "It was written at a time when we were in the studio and things with our social lives and our music were getting a little bit stressful," Shinoda continued. "We were at the end of our ropes, so to speak." Years later, Shinoda would reveal that the song was written about a record executive who tried convincing Bennington to ditch the band for a solo career.