So, today I've found myself trying to interpret the lyrics in LIVING THINGS, and how they relate to the band. It was really Derek's post I'll quote below that caused me to trail down this train of thought (From the Phoenix LPU Chat Summary thread); Which got me thinking... What if LIVING THINGS was a giant allegory to the bands experiences up till that point with both the label and media promotion, as well as their sonic evolution? Hear me out on this one. As a note; I'm not saying this is the be-all end-all, just a way to interpret the lyrics and flow of the album. There's something to be said about this, at the very least, so I think what I'll do is a track-by-track version. Don't take this as a "This is how it is"; this is just my personal interpetation, and it's not intended as a universal deconstruction of all the lyrics in a "These are what they break down to, no question" manner. Also, I make a lot of assumptions in this about how the band feels-- Rest assured, that I'm not saying I know what's in their minds. I'm trying to interpret their words into feelings. I fully embrace the fact that I'm basically saying what i think the lyrics pertain to, and I'm not making any definitive, final statements on the matter. Track 1: Lost in the Echo Lyric Deconstruction: "In these promises broken, deep below, each word gets lost in the echo, so one last lie, I can see through, This time I'll finally let you go" Okay, so, these lyrics. They're about the first half of the album as a whole; how they sound, how they're structured. It's a return to form; one many fans were clamouring for them to do after A Thosuand Suns. "In these promises broken"; How LP changed their sound with A Thousand Suns, and the entitlements of the fans who desired LP to go back to their old sound. "Each word gets lost in the echo"; These fans are not satisfiable-- No matter what LP does, they are unable to get through to them, and they simply aren't OPEN to enjoying the idea of a fresh, new sound. "So one last lie, I can see through" - This is a 'this is for you' to those fans, but it's more than that; the 'lie'-- the lie is the sound, the return to form, made to appease those who are unreachable by any other means. "This time I'll finally let you go" -- Perhaps the most important part of the chorus lyric, when you take the above deconstruction into context. This isn't the sound LP wants to make. This is a tribute to days old, one last "goodbye". If LP makes a track like this again, I will be surprised. LP wants to move forward. They want to do fresh, new things. That doesn't mean they're not having fun when they do this, and I'm not pretending to know what the band wants; I'm just trying to interpret the lyrics presented in these songs. Now, onto some of the verses. Lyric Deconstruction: "You were that, foundation, never gonna be another one, no, I followed, so taken, so conditioned I could never let go" Simple. This is about Linkin Park's first two albums, and the fans that they gained there. They were LP's foundation; they were pushed to the top by those fans. That was Hybrid Theory-- Linkin Park's initial burst of popularity. Then, then came Meteora. This is what the second half of the verse refers to. LP couldn't let go of how their albums sounded-- whether it was a mental thing, or fan/label pressure, I wouldn't pretend to know. But, this is about clinging to what was familiar at the time; their Nu-Metal sound. Lyric Deconstruction: "Then sorrow, then sickness, then a shock when you flip it on me; so hollow, so vicious, so afraid I couldn't let myself see" The struggle with the labels in between the production of Meteora and Minutes to Midnight; and the fan backlash against the new, more rock-based sound. For the first post, I'll quote what I found on the LPA wiki; Taking that into the context of Lost in the Echo makes the lyrics "Then sorrow, then sickness" sound like they're referring to that. Which I think, personally, is a solid assumption; I'm interpreting rather vague lyrics, so please bear with me as I try to present my interpretation. "Then a shock when you flip it on me; so hollow, so vicious, so afraid I couldn't let myself see;" The fan backlash at Minutes to Midnight. I think that speaks for itself. The Internet can be a pretty vile place; people say horrible things behind the mask of anonymity. The last part of the verse could imply that they shielded themselves from the more vile shitflinging of the Nu-Metal fans for their own mental health. Lyric Deconstruction: That I could never be held, back up, no, I hold myself; The change of mindsets that were in the production schedule between Minutes to Midnight and A Thosuand Suns. I think it's safe to say they weren't expecting the reaction that Minutes to Midnight got, and they took a more serious path in production with A Thousand Suns. They had to hold themselves up-- they couldn't ride on the popularity burst of the early 00's anymore(*cough*meteora*cough*), or expect fans to follow through with them as they evolve into new areas of music. Lyric Deconstruction: Check the rep, yep, you know mine well; forget the rest, let them know my hell Linkin Park is well known for being incredibly angsty in their first two albums. That's the public majority's view of them, and it's still held by many, many people today. They want people to move on from thinking of them like that, and I believe the lines 'forget the rest, let them know my hell' mean -- Linkin Park is a band that is really, really hated by a lot of people. They have such a broken fanbase. I can't currently think of what the last line referrs to ('let them know my hell') --I'm not sure, but I think it implies to the heavy, real-nature of their lyrics in the album, the less-angst more-mature feel of it. They're done being childish (And lyrics like "Crawling in my skin; these wounds, they will not heal!" is rather childish.). Lyric Deconstruction: There and back, yet my soul ain't sell; keep respect up, the best they fell The destruction of Nu-Metal as a whole, and how Linkin Park are still around, still in the game, without selling out. Lyric Deconstruction: Let the rest be the tale they tell, that I was there saying.... They don't want to be remembered with the fallen bands of the Nu-Metal craze. They want to be seen as holding themselves up after most Nu-Metal bands fell into obscurity. Lyric Deconstruction: Test my will, test my heart, let me tell you how the odds gonna stack up; Y'all go hard, I go smart, How's that working out for Y'all in the back, huh? The band is being tested in both will and heart by the broken fanbase they hold, and the general view held by the internet. People say "No, go back to Nu-Metal!" but this is them pointing out how Nu-Metal has fallen into general obscuirty by this point, and it wouldn't be a smart move to go back to that sound for them, lest they end up like the bands still clinging onto the past. Lyric Deconstruction: I've seen that frustration, Been crossed and lost and told no, and I've come back, unshaken, let down and lived and let go LP is saying that they know that the Nu-Metal fans exist. They know what they want. They know they've given up on LP-- but they're saying that doesn't matter to them; they're able to hold themselves up, and still create music that people enjoy, without falling into obscurity. They're moving on. Lyric Deconstruction: So you can let it be known, I don't hold back, I hold my own, I can't be mapped, i can't be cloned, I can't C-flat, it ain't my tone They want people to know that they're going to continue to make music that's fresh and new, without doing things that don't work. They're saying that they can do things unexpected; that people can't predict what they're going to do next. Between M2M, ATS and LT, this has been proven true. Lyric Deconstruction: I can't fall back I came too far, Hold myself up and love my scars, let the bells ring wherever they are, 'cause I was there, sayin' They're not going to let themselves be affected by negativity; instead, they're going to embrace it, and continue pressing forward. This ties into the chorus because of what the chorus represents, reinforcing it's message. They're letting the past stay the past. They're saying goodbye to the way they were. Lyric Deconstruction: No, you can tell 'em all now, I don't back up, I don't back down, I don't fold up and I don't bow, I don't fall over, don't know how, I don't care where the enemies are, can't be stopped, all I know, go hard, won't forget how I got this far, for every time saying... The meaning of these lyrics are obvious. They're telling them that they can stay strong without clinging to the past, but they won't forget it. The only problem I have is 'All I know, go hard'-- but, I think it refers to something else than hard *music*. It means that LP still has the energy to push themselves forward and make good music. Overall: This song is a message to Nu-Metal fans that believe LP should make Nu-Metal again that the band is no longer taking heed to them, disguised in a song that they're going to listen to because of how it sounds, not what it's saying. Which is pretty freaking genius. Now I see why they made it a single. Track 2: In My Remains Lyric Deconstruction: Seperate; sifting through the wreckage, I can't concentrate, searching for a message in this fear and pain, broken down and waiting for a chance, to feel alive Following after the massive in your face message of Lost in the Echo, these lyrics are about the aftermath of that mindset. It's about trying to find what to do next; to get inspired, to bring focus into their music despite the previous message. They want to feel *free*, but this song seems to be implying that they don't know how. Lyric Deconstruction: Now in my remains, are promises that never came, set this silence free, to wash away the worst of me Again, this is about breaking away from their earlier sound. Perhaps about the mindset behind the making of A Thousand Suns, and the aftermath of Minutes to Midnight. They have a broken fanbase, and they knew it; people are going to feel unfulfilled no matter what they do, so they're afraid of branching out into new things. However, they feel it's a thing that must be done-- to wash away the negative view many people held about them being angsty and childish, so they could be taken seriously as artists again. Lyric Deconstruction: Come apart, falling in the cracks of every broken heart, digging through the wreckage of your disregard, sinking down and waiting for a chance, to feel alive An extension of the feelings expressed in the chorus. They want to find something that they can make that can appease the fans, post-ATS. They want to create without feeling prosecuted for creating. I guess that explains why the first half of this album sounds the way it does, while carrying the message I believe it carries. Lyric Deconstruction: Like an army, falling, one by one by one As time goes on, they see more 'fans' giving up on the album. They had an initial burst of popularity, but that's still fading; one, by one, by one. Overall, I feel this is the epilogue of the "Goodbye" message presented in Lost in the Echo. They're presenting their feelings as they try to figure out where to go from there. Track 3: Burn It Down Probably the easiest track for me to justify on the list. If I'm remembering correctly, one of the band members was asked about what the song was supposed to represent; and they revealed that it was about how media builds something up as the next best thing, then they simply become forgotten. Lyric Deconstruction: The cycle repeated, as explosions broke in the sky, all that I needed, was the one thing I couldn't find A Thousand Suns's reception by Nu-Metal purists. The cycle repeated, from Minutes to Midnight, to A Thousand Suns. They're still trying to figure out what to do that would make people happy, but they're wandering through the wreckage caused by them. Maybe they want to appease them one more time before feeling like they could finally move on, further explaining the creative decisions behind the sound of the first part of the album. Lyric Deconstruction: And you were there at the turn, waiting to let me know; [chours] People are still paying attention to what LP does. They're still at least somewhat in the spotlight, without having fallen into obscurity. Lyric Deconstruction: We're building it up, to break it back down, we're building it up, to burn it down, we can't wait to burn it to the ground... The first half of the album-- simple. I know I keep going on about this, but hear me out; this still relates to the lyrics. They're releasing these songs as singles, so their old fans may listen to them one more time, but they're letting them know that they're not going to do this again; they're not just burning down their old sound, they're burning it to the ground. They're reconstructing their sound just to shatter it again, and they can't wait to finally break free. I also believe this is a metaphor for their contract soon ending; I believe they can't wait to be free to do what they want without having to appease their label. Lyric Deconstruction: The colours conflicted, as the flames climbed into the clouds, I wanted to fix this, but couldn't stop from tearing it down They're talking about the message behind their songs conflicting with their sound. They know what they're trying to say would infuriate people, hence the flame metaphor, and they know they're going to get panned anyway; they want to be popular again, who doesn't? But they also want to feel free as artists; they knew they couldn't fix it, so they're going to go in the opposite direction; they're going to de construct their sound again, foreshadowing the second half of the album. Lyric Deconstruction: And you were there at the turn, caught in the burning glow; and I was there at the turn, waiting to let you know; The sound of the first half of the album is intentional. They want to catch their attention-- 'catching them in the burning glow' as they prepare to go somewhere completely different in their second album. They're trying to catch dissenter's attention, and let them know that they're going to do whatever the fuck they want to no matter what they say, no matter what the public happens to think. Lyric Deconstruction: You told me yes, You held me high, and I believed when you told that lie; Simply: A Thousand Suns. Perhaps this is a metaphor the way A Thousand Suns blew over, and how the label would support them. I believe that the label wanted Living Things to have a kind of pop-energy to it, which I believe was a part of why the first half of the album sounds the way it does, but I also believe that LP also wanted to attach a message to that sound if they were going to be forced to make it. An "I don't need you" to both the lables and the fans that believe LP should constrict themselves to one thing. Lyric Deconstruction: I played soldier, You played king, and you struck me down when I kissed that ring; You lost that right, to hold that crown, I built you up but you let me down, so when you fall, I'll take my turn, and fan the flames as your blazes burn. Remember what I quoted about what happened in between Meteora and Minutes to Midnight? I believe that the lines "I played soldier, You played king, and you struck me down when I kissed that ring" refer to how LP worked for the label, and they were screwed over (Quote from the wiki: In May 2005, Warner Music Group became a public company and offered its initial public offering that was projected to raise US$782 million in profits. Warner Music Group had only alloted US$7 million dollars to go back toward the company, and none towards the artists. The stock fell by 4% on the first day. A large amount of workers were laid off and marketing and promotion funds were cut.) I believe that this is LP saying they still feel shafted by that, and hold the label in disregard; they didn't want to do what they wanted, since I believe that they feel that the label lost the right to rule over them when they didn't give LP what they were due. The last line of the rap verse I believe refers to LP wanting to leave Warner and have complete creative freedom, and I believe that they believe that Warner's actions will cause them to fall in blazing fire. Which brings me to the next firecracker. Track 4: Lies, Greed, Misery Lyric Decontruction: I'mma be that nail in your coffin, saying that I softened, I was ducking down to reload; I believe that this is referring to, if the theory of label pressure is correct, the label pushing the band to make what they consider 'heavy' music to sell albums again. Again, pulling in the reigns after A Thousand Suns-- this is them saying they haven't lost the energy from before, that they simply wanted to make what they wanted to make. Lyric Deconstruction: So you can save your petty explanations, I don't have the patience, before you even say it I know; You let your pride or your ego, talk slick to me, no, that is not the way I get down; I also believe this is referring to potential label pressure. I believe they want LP to sell albums like they did before and make money for them (That IS their main concern, after all.). Perhaps this is a reference to many meetings and calls about things they've all heard before, and how they're sick of being told what to do; believing that it's petty to restrict artist's creativity to a single medium for the sake of money. The labels themselves, I believe, are incredibly egotistical; they believe the people love them, that they're responsible for the artists music, not the artists themselves. ("You lost that right, to hold that crown") Lyric Deconstruction: And look at how you lose your composure, now let me show ya, exactly how the breaking point sounds: I believe this is referring to how labels are afraid to let artists branch out, since they're mainly focused on "You need to make us money if we let you make music with our funds." I believe LP is fed up with being constrained at this point. Especially given the chorus. Lyric Deconstruction: "I want to see you choke on your lies, swallow up your greed, suffer all alone in your misery" When put in that context, the chorus of this song reads like complete venom to Warner, who are either incredibly incompetent with dealing with the way they handle musicians royalties, or purposefully design their system so the least money possible goes to the artists themselves. This is why musicians make most of their money from tours. Lyric Deconstruction: What is it you want m eto tell ya, I'm not the failiure, I would rather live and let be When put into the context of the label theory, I believe they would have considered A Thousand Suns to be a failure, since it was nowhere NEAR radio friendly. Lyric Deconstruction: But you came up with the right kind of threat to, push me to let you, know you can't intimidate me This adds more fire to the label theory, I believe. Who else could actually threaten the band, if we take that part literally? "Push me to let you, know you can't intimidate me" I believe refers to the nature of the second half of the album. They might have made the first part to save their asses and send a message, and the second to just do whatever the hell they wanted to. Lyric Deconstruction: You disrespect me so clearly, now you better hear me, that is not the way it goes down I believe this is Linkin Park being incredibly angry with the way the label treats them. If we take the content of Lies, Greed, Misery as an attack against the label, it certainly reads like they were telling LP to "Do what we want you to or else" after A Thousand Suns's reception. I firmly believe this is LP signalling that they're not going to resume their contract with them after they fulfil the amount of albums that need to be released. Lyric Deconstruction: You did it to yourself and it's over, now let me show ya, exactly how the breaking point sounds" This is LP saying they wouldn't leave if they weren't treated like that. The meaning of "You did it to yourself" is clear in this context. Track 5: I'll Be Gone I believe this track is about LP letting go of the past-- the way they sounded before, and their contract with Warner, and moving onto new, greater horizons. Lyric Deconstruction: Like shining oil this night is dripping down, stars are slipping down, glistening and I'm trying not to think what I'm leaving now, no deceiving now, it's time you let me know, let me know.... This line is about the weight of moving on from what they knew before, and wondering if the label-- and the fans-- would let them move on. Lyric Deconstruction: When the lights go out and we open our eyes, out there in the silence I'll be gone, I'll be gone, Let the sun fade out and another one rise, climbing through tomorrow I'll be gone, I'll be gone This is about broadening their horizons musically, and moving on; saying that the way they were before is no more-- and that we should let them have their way, and stop telling them how they should sound; because they're climbing through tomorrow, moving on, doing what they want to. They want people to accept their change and move on. Lyric Deconstruction: This air between us is getting thinner now; into winter now, bittersweet The wall between their old fans and their new music. It's getting colder. They know what they're leaving behind, and it's bittersweet for them. Lyric Deconstruction: And 'cross that horizon this sun is setting down, you're forgetting now, it's time you let me go, let me go This is about them knowing that they're going to be forgotten as time goes on if they continue down this route. They're urging people to let go of their image of them, as they forge into a brighter tomorrow. Lyric Deconstruction: And tell them I couldn't help myself, And tell them I was alone [WARNING: more band-hates-warner theory stuff;]The contract with Warner probably has a nondisclosure clause in it; LP can't talk about them directly, so they're alone in their experiences. They couldn't help themselves from leaving because they didn't want to be pushed around. Lyric Deconstruction: Oh tell me I'm the only one, and there's nothing that can stop me I'm... Not sure about these lyrics. It seems to me, on the surface, that they want to be told; they're the only ones that can make the decision to leave Warner, and that Warner can't stop them from leaving. Note: From this point, the warner label theory is in full effect in the rest of the interpetation. I'm going to write it as if it were true. Also, all "Lyric Deconstruction" things are just going to be itallicised now, since it's obvious what they are. Track 6: Castle of Glass Take me down to the river bend, take me down to the fighting end, wash the poison from off my skin, show me how to be whole again This is about how they know they're at the end of their contract. I believe they want to fight their way out of it (And given how they're handling album releases, this sounds acceptable). They want to wash off the taint that being told what to make would have put on them-- they want to be whole, making music the way they want to, not the way they're told to. 'Fly me up on a silver wing, past the black where the sirens sing, warm me up in a nova's glow, and drop me down to the dream below' This is about them wanting a smooth exit. The way this part of the album is structured-- they want to feel the glow of appreciation again, before moving on into the 'dream'-- pure, sonic experimenting, the ability to do what they want. 'Cause I'm only a crack, in this castle of glass, hardly anything there for you to see, for you to see' Linkin Park has fallen into obscurity in their current form. They know this. Their fanbase-- actual FANS, not haters-- has dwindled massively. 'Bring me home in the blinding dream, through the secrets that I have seen' The likely NDA agreement between them and warner, the 'secrets' referred to in this part of the song. They want to feel at home making music, without having constraints forced on them. 'Wash the sorrow from off my skin, and show me how to be whole again' When they're out from Warner, they want to start anew. They want to be free from the experiences there. 'Cause I'm only a crack, in this castle of glass, hardly anything else I need to be' I believe this line says that they know they're still in obscurity, and they don't need to be popular in order to continue making good music. Track 7: Victimized 'No regret for the confidence betrayed, no more hiding in shadow, 'cause I won't wait for the debt to be repaid, time has come for you' This line I believe is referring to how Warner let Linkin Park down. They're not going to wait for them to be paid what's due; they're going to leave. 'Victimized, Victimized, Never again, Victimized' They're not going to let people push them around and tell them what to do any more. They want to be creatively free. 'They're acting like they want a riot, it's a riot I'll give 'em, as the siren climbs higher on this violent rythm' They're giving Warner what they want with the sound of the first half of this album. They really have no other choice if the contract is that strict, and if Warner really is forcing them to make music due to ATS's reception. 'For you snakes in the grass, supplying the venom, I ain't scared of your teeth, I admire what's in 'em' I believe this could be referring to how the fans's reaction to ATS is fuelling the reigns being pulled on LP's creativity. The things they say about the album, LP is saying they're not scared; they know they're going to leave the label. Because in the end-- all the criticism, all the "Fuck you go back to Nu Metal" posts? They're all words. They're saying they're all bark and no bite-- they have no reason to be scared anymore. 'You've been waiting in the shadows there, thinking you're hidden, but the truth is you don't have the stomach to get 'em' Same as above. 'Go on already, hit 'em, yeah, you gotta be kiddin', wanna talk about a victim, I'mma put you there with 'em' The entitlement of the fans who believe they can push LP around would certainly feel victimized if they weren't given the music they think they deserved. (Believe me, some of the comments I've seen...) Track 8: Roads Untravelled 'Weep not for roads untravelled, weep not for paths left alone; cause beyond every bend, is a long blinding end, it's the worst kind of pain I've known' This is basically telling people not to cry for a particular sound-- When you really think about it, between Meteora, M2M, ATS and even LT, Linkin Park has never stuck with the same kind of sound. They don't want people who are fans of one particular sound of theirs to pine for that sound again; because it hurts LP to see that kind of talk. Remember; they're just people, like us. Seeing such negativity, people trying to force them into a certain path, if they read those comments it does affect them. 'Give up your heart left broken, and let that mistake pass on, 'cause the love that you lost, wasn't worth what it cost, and in time you'll be glad it's gone' This is about people who feel broken-hearted about LP's creative choices, and they do exist. They're saying it's not worth worrying about; after all, it's just music, and they're still making good music even if it's what you want them to make, right? Hopefully, in time, these people will move on-- which is really what this whole album is *about*. They'll hopefully realise that feeling like that was silly. 'Weep not for roads untravelled, weep not for sights unseen, may your love never end, and if you need a friend, there's a seat here alongside me' I believe that this is LP saying they always have room for people to begin appreciating their music again, and that they have to let go of the past to move on. note: I'm just going to do general summaries from here on out. This is getting far too long already. Track 9: Skin To Bone Another track about moving on, and how the past is going further and further into-- well, the past. The general underlying themes of this album are letting go, and moving on, and bringing on the future. Track 10: Until It Breaks This is a tough track to write about, because of it's vocal vastness. I can't pin it down to being one thing. I'm going to skip this one, because deconstructing it's entirety into a particular meaning is too daunting a task and this has become far too long already. Track 11/12: Tinfoil/Powerless I believe that this could be another allegory to the carelessness of Warner in their handling of the artists, and their greed. ______ Basically, what I'm going to say here is; The album is up to many interpretations, and could be saying many different things at once. This is mainly one way of interpreting it, and it could be going completely in the wrong direction. But still, I wanted to present my views and see what people feel about them. What do you guys think? Quick edit: I feel that if that was all the album was about, it'd be a hollow record. It's a variable, extended experience that goes beyond what a single person can interpret it as. I would just like to add a simple notation that this is a way I can view tracks, and not the way I view tracks, meerly a way that they can be looked at from one angle. The only two tracks I'm really confident looking at this way are Lost in the Echo and Lies Greed Misery.