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Linkin Park Reveals “Papercuts” Singles Compilation Featuring Previously Unreleased Tracks "Friendly Fire" and "QWERTY"

Linkin Park has concluded the mystery of the breadcrumb trail of green circles that for the last few weeks has sent their fans on a wild goose chase through Spotify song animations and Warner warehouse HTML source code in pursuit of the elusive missing “Track 14,” finally and cheekily unveiled by prankster/turntablist Joe Hahn.

The band will be releasing a singles collection titled Papercuts. The selection of 20 tracks from across the band's entire career will be released on April 12th, 2024, and is currently available for preorder.

The headline here is "QWERTY," whose historical significance cannot be overstated. "QWERTY" was very much not a Linkin Park single, instead a fan club-only demo and Tokyo soundboard rip release from 2006, back when fans awaited with bated breath the successor to Meteora following the band’s acrimonious near-split and public contract renegotiation with Warner Brothers (infamously splashed onto the front page of the New York Times Business section).

Legendarily teased on the band’s website as “probably the heaviest song we’ve ever written” shortly before a crunched-to-hell mp3 surfaced from a fan’s flip phone recording that set Linkin Park forums ablaze, "QWERTY" charted a post-Meteora sonic direction ultimately abandoned by the band and superproducer Rick Rubin on Minutes to Midnight - a tripling-down of the Hybrid Theory/Meteora blueprint, veering on hardcore punk and heavier metal, tumbling further down the spiral marked by harsher cuts like "By Myself," "Don’t Stay," and "Figure.09."

Depending on who you ask, "QWERTY" could be considered the last true Linkin Park song (before Rubin encouraged the band to blow up their globe-conquering formula and ditch searing distortion for soaring ballads, sending the band into a looping cycle of reinvention and course correction). For all this, "QWERTY" has attained mythic status among early-Linkin Park aficionados, making its unforeseeable and unprecedented inclusion amidst the otherwise boilerplate greatest hits singles collection downright whiplash-inducing.

One final point of order looms on the horizon as "QWERTY" ascends into rightful canonization: version control. As the story goes, "QWERTY" was feverishly written by the band on a twelve-hour flight to Tokyo, debuted at Tokyo Summer Sonic 2006, and rewritten shortly thereafter with Rick Rubin for the only released studio demo. Multiple incarnations of the track have existed between 2006 and 2013, when QWERTY’s breakdown was mashed up live with "Victimized" from Living Things.  The dream would be for the never-finished "QWERTY" to finally be completed – a new mix bridging the best of the live and studio versions of the track, rather than a cut-and-paste of the previously-released 2006 studio demo with a perfunctory pressed-to-vinyl remaster. At the very least, a full-blown promotional single release, with radio play and pro-shot live footage, would be befitting of the song’s deserved and long-overdue coronation.

And so with the final puzzle piece of "QWERTY," the band has fully revealed their first-ever career-spanning compilation album Papercuts, which seems to have been knowingly and intriguingly positioned as, again, not a “Greatest Hits” record (full title: “Papercuts - Singles Collection 2000 - 2023”). Which, of course, [deep breath] seems to indicate the possibility…of leaving the door open…for future activity?

Accompanying the final tracklist reveal  released is a handwritten letter from guitarist/A&R “Big Bad Brad” Delson, posted to Linkin Park socials (which has for now assuaged unfounded rumors that the compilation release is somehow a contractual obligation to Warner Brothers):

Contractual obligation or not, the band-picked tracklist selection has ignited a minor firestorm from the diehard Linkin Park community for the non-inclusion of any songs from the 2014 album The Hunting Party, and widespread appreciation from the music video of "Friendly Fire," a  One More Light-era vault track that rounds out Papercuts, featuring both previously unheard Chester vocals and candid behind the scenes footage taken during the recording sessions of One More Light:

Full tracklist below:

1 Crawling - Hybrid Theory (2000)
2 Faint - Meteora (2003)
3 Numb/Encore - Collision Course (2004)
4 Papercut - Hybrid Theory (2000)
5 Breaking The Habit - Meteora (2003)
6 In The End - Hybrid Theory (2000)
7 Bleed It Out - Minutes To Midnight (2007)
8 Somewhere I Belong - Meteora (2003)
9 Waiting For The End - A Thousand Suns (2010)
10 Castle Of Glass - Living Things (2012)
11 One More Light - One More Light (2017)
12 Burn It Down - Living Things (2012)
13 What I've Done - Minutes To Midnight (2007)
14 QWERTY - LP Underground 6.0 (2006)
15 One Step Closer - Hybrid Theory (2000)
16 New Divide - Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)
17 Leave Out All The Rest - Minutes To Midnight (2007)
18 Lost - Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) (2023)
19 Numb - Meteora (2003)
20 Friendly Fire (Previously Unreleased, 2016 One More Light sessions)