Linkin Park are saving the best for last.
The final single from their 2003 album, Meteora, will be their favorite track, "Breaking the Habit." They dig the tune so much, in fact, that they're planning to use it as a model when they start working on their next album in October.
"Creatively, 'Breaking the Habit' is one of the songs we're most proud of," guitarist Brad Delson said. "It's so familiar, but at the same time it's so foreign to anything we've ever done. It really is just a unique animal, and when we approach making the next record, I definitely hope to build on some of [the techniques we used for 'Breaking the Habit']. Obviously, we'll retain some of the elements our fans know us and love us for, but we like to push the envelope and challenge ourselves creatively whenever we go and do something new."
The video for "Breaking the Habit" was directed by DJ Joseph Hahn and is composed exclusively of Japanese anime-style animation. To create the video, Hahn filmed the band playing live in Los Angeles, then hired established Japanese animators to re-create the footage frame by frame.
"It's definitely Mr. Hahn's most ambitious undertaking to date," Delson said. "He actually worked hand-in-hand with the animators who worked on 'Kill Bill.' It's all done in a style you've never seen before" (see "Linkin Park Caught Unprepared As Fans Flock To 'Lying' ").
In addition to featuring animated performance shots of the bandmembers, the "Breaking the Habit" video will include a story line based on the song's self-examining lyrics.
"It's really like watching a live-action movie," Delson said. "And everything happens in that specific disturbed world that Joe and his very highly skilled artists have been able to create. I don't want to go into the details, but if we had actually filmed some of these shots in real life, it would have been extremely costly, whereas when you're dealing with illustration and animation, you're able to accomplish things just through imagination. Plus, it was a lot safer to put the cartoon versions of ourselves through some of these scenarios than to actually risk bodily harm in the filming."
To accompany the video, Japanese comics company Tokyo Pop will release a manga book of the full story line of the clip, which will come out this summer. Hahn and singer Mike Shinoda are also considering releasing a DVD with the manga book, Delson said.
The manga release isn't the only Linkin Park book that'll come out this year. In the fall, the band's coffee-table book, "From the Inside: Linkin Park's Meteora," will hit shelves. The tome will feature exclusive photos by Greg Waterman, who traveled with the band over the last two years. "We wanted to give the fans a really intimate glimpse into what our world is like when we're on the road," Delson said. "So we brought Greg out with us and really allowed him full access behind the stage, in our dressing room, on our bus and on the stage. And he did an amazing job."