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Monday, April 18, 2011

Linkin Park - "In The End" Song Analysis

Today we'll do a song analysis on "In The End" by Linkin Park, the fourth single from their Hybrid Theory album of 2001. Like so many other hits, "In The End" is somewhat timeless when it comes to iTunes, as it's still top ten on its Alternative Chart some 10 years after release. Like all song analysis, we'll look at the song itself, the arrangement, the sound and the performance.

The Song
"In The End" uses a pretty straight-ahead form, with no fancy sections. It looks like this:

Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Outro

The 3rd verse varies from the others in that it's a melody instead of a rap, so you could consider it a bridge, but the chord changes remain the same.

The Arrangement
The song is a great example of dynamics as it breathes volume-wise with every section. It goes from a quiet intro to a louder verse to a huge chorus, down in the verse, etc. It's very effective, and the only way a song with this kind of form can be successful. Here are the arrangement elements:

  * The Foundation - This is mostly held down by the drums, since the kick buries the bass somewhat and it's not very easy to pick out the notes.

  * The Pad - There's a high single-note synthesizer line that acts as the pad during the verse, but during the chorus it's huge doubled guitar power chords.

  * The Rhythm - Unusually, it's the piano during the verse of the song.

  * The Lead - The rap and melody vocal.

  * The Fills - During the chorus, it's the single note synth line.

The Sound
The sound of the song is not exactly what you'd call pristine, but then again that's not what the genre calls for. The entire song is really crushed and as a result, exhibits a fair amount of distortion.

You can hear the compression on the melody vocal in places, but the sound works in context. It has a rather long reverb on it but it blends in with the track so you hardly ever hear it.

The bass is very much buried in the mix behind the drums. In fact, I didn't even think there was a bass on the recording until I heard a nice bass fill in the 3rd verse.

In the end, this is a very modern sounding track. It's not exactly my cup of tea sonically, but it's an example of the kind of sound many are going for in the 2000's.

The Performance
This is not a very complex song and neither are the parts. The drum part really stands out, as does the lead vocal, which are usually the most important parts in any hit song.

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SK-Bass said...

I know your not a huge fan of this particular song in your analysis of it - but could you next review a song which you think sucks!!! under your evaluation criteria etc

TheEmLog said...

Great analysis. Linkin Park put everything in that album. After it... nothing special. How thoes this work?

Jo said...

Actually the name of the band is "Linkin Park" and not "Linken Park".

The thing I don't like in this kind of music is that you can't appreciate the performance of the musicians. I mean, I don't want them to play incredible solos or something like that, but I'm sure they can do a lot better than what we hear. It's too clean and smooth, there's too much production, it's impersonal. It's like the drums or the guitars are looped, it's quite boring to my mind.

Not exactly the same style, but very interesting in the way of mixing electronic sounds with groovy pop-metal music, you can listen to 'Incubus': very talented musicians and great melodic songs with catchy refrains, and you can appreciate the performance of the musicians. Their best albums are 'Science' and 'Make yourself'. Maybe the second one is more radio-friendly but very good anway.

By the way, thank you for your blog, very interesting!

plurgid said...

I second the request to pull apart a song that completely stinks out loud.

In a lot of ways it's easy to pull apart a hit and say "well check out how great it is" ... it's the inverse that's more valuable ... "don't do this, it's horrible".

Perhaps you should dissect "Friday", LOL ... I think just about everyone in the world can agree that it's awful.

Bobby Owsinski said...

Re: song analysis of a "bad" song.

Being critical of a song is a touchy subject because what one person might hear as crap can be another person's genius.

Besides, you never know what went into the decisions on a record. Was it due to a strong-willed artist? Was the label involved in the decision making? Was the record rushed out under a deadline?

Personally, I respect the craft and artistry of any record that is popular enough to warrant an analysis.

That said, if you read my analysis closely, you can tell my opinions.

Kensai said...

i think it was pretty clear by the review that Mr. Owsinski is not the biggest fan of this song but respects what this song has been able to accomplish. There's a large difference between liking something and respecting it's ability to reach a particular audience...and deciphering why.

Ironically enough, i analyzed this song a few weeks ago on a pretty good system. I don't think enough credit in particular is given to the bass in this record in your review. You say that the bass is buried but i would argue the bass is mixed seamlessly maybe making it 'feel' buried? As we all know sometimes too much separation is a bad thing. I did listen to the song with a sub which gave me more access to the low end. I'm a huge fan of the groove in this record. I would also note the scratch effects as it helped the atmosphere of the record. Either way, good review. First time i've visited this blog and i'm a fan. Shout out to Andy Wallace.


Bobby Owsinski said...


You're right about the bass being seamless mixed with the drums, and also about the scratch effects.

I'm also a big fan of Andy Wallace.

Less said...

Can you do a song analysis for creep by radio head, please?

Holly Hopkins said...

actually the song structure is:

Intro, V1, V2, chorus, V3, chorus, bridge x2, chorus and outro


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