“Burn It Down” by Linkin Park

The lyrics of Linkin Park’s “Burn It Down” of course utilize some very-powerful metaphors. And according to Mike Shinoda they are, to some degree, open to the interpretation of the listener.

But at the same time, amidst all of the highly-artistic imagery, there is also a discernible narrative. This is most evident in the song’s bridge. And this storyline depicts the singer as being victim of some sort of exploitation, specifically along the lines of being deceived, subordinated and in a metaphorical sense ‘struck down’. Indeed he is very much looking forward to the day when he has the opportunity to do the same to the person who at the moment is treating him so.

Mike Shinoda’s Interpretation of “Burn It Down”

And the above brings us to the Shinoda’s own personal interpretation of this tune, as in what all this symbolism points to from the band’s perspective.  This song is actually based on the fickleness of pop culture, how a celebrity who is trending one moment can be totally ostracized or forgotten the next.  Thus in the lyrics, when Linkin Park refers to an individual ‘burning’, what they are actually speaking to is that person’s fall from popularity. And the chorus is based on the idea that the selfsame people who ‘build up’ such a person are actually setting him or her up for a downfall. In other words, these people are actually waiting to ‘burn down’ the same metaphorical structure they helped erect.

Lyrics of "Burn It Down"

And going back to Mike’s own statements, such a harrowing reality – being betrayed by fandom so to speak – is something that Linkin Park has actually experienced. Thus “Burn It Down” is one song in particular which they approached from a personal perspective.

Below are Mike’s exact statement on the meaning of “Burn It Down”:

Mike Shinoda explains the meaning of "Burn It Down"

When was “Burn It Down” released?

“Burn It Down” was the lead single from the Linkin Park album titled “Living Things”. It was released in that capacity by Warner Bros. Records on 16 April 2012. However, the band had begun creatively teasing this song the month prior to that. On “Living Things” also appears the hit track “Castle of Glass“.

Music Video

It was also during March of 2012 that the crew began filming the music video for “Burn It Down”. And J, Hahn, the turntablist for the band, directed this critically-acclaimed Linkin Park video.

And whereas it premiered on MTV on the date of 24 May 2012, the video was actually teased, by cable-television network TNT.

Moreover Linkin Park – in conjunction with Genero, Warner Bros. and MTV – held a contest in which fans were tasked with creating their own music video for “Burn It Down”. And the winner of this competition was a British-Canadian director by the name of Jem Garrard.

A Global Hit

The song itself topped three Billboard charts (including Alternative Songs), the UK Rock Chart and music charts in Luxembourg and Poland. And this is outside of also charting in approximately 20 other countries, including Brazil and Russia.

Moreover “Burn It Down” has been certified double-Platinum in the United States.

Who wrote “Burn It Down”?

As usual the writing credit for this song is shared throughout the members of the band. The writing credits are therefore as follows:

  • Bennington
  • Shinoda
  • Bourdon
  • Farrell
  • Delson
  • Hahn

FYI, Shinoda also co-produced “Burn It Down”. He did the production along with one of the group’s regular collaborators, Rick Rubin.

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