I really like Meteora, safe for the lyrics being cringeworthy at times. But aside from that, huge vibe, great melodies, great energy, and also, of course, the nostalgic value. The way I see it, if the band hadn't made that record, I'm not sure they'd still be around today. Sure, it's their only record that didn't really push the envelope. But is that really a bad thing? The band was still at the beginning of their career, and I don't see any problems in a band releasing a lot of the same stuff at their beginning to establish themselves. As long as they don't do it for the rest of their career, it's all fine. Think about it. No Meteora, no Numb, BTH, or Faint, and no collision course. Thus, no garanties of such a huge commercial success back in the days. Indeed, if they had released a drastically different record at the time, chances are people would have immediately lost interest in them. So, less sold out live shows, less popularity, less money. All of tha could have happen without Meteora. What would have been the impact of that on the band mind? No one can tell. Maybe internal conflicts would have popped up. Maybe Warner would have fired them. Maybe the band would have tried to recapture the success of HT on their third record. Hell, maybe, the band could have disbanded. Of course, those are only the negative possibilities, but what remains certain is that the story would have been different. So, in my opinion, Meteora definitely was a necessary step.