Linkin Park’s “In the End” Lyrics Meaning

Linkin Park’s “In The End” is very-philosophical in its approach. And there are two popular schools of thought concerning its meaning. One is that it is based on the main vocalist, Chester Bennington’s childhood. More specifically it is being relayed from the perspective of someone who is being bullied, thus the reference to being ‘mocked’ in the second verse. And if such is the case, the way the song reads is such that he has since moved on from his relationship with the person who was mistreating him.

The other, perhaps more-popular understanding is that “In the End” is centered on a doomed romantic relationship. Or more specifically, the singer is engaged in the pursuit of a certain lady. But he eventually comes to realize that he isn’t making any headway and is committing valuable time to a wasted effort.

Why Multiple Interpretations?

The reason that such varying interpretations can come from the same song is due to the lyrical content of “In the End” being very ambiguous. Indeed they can be interpreted as pointing to something as dreadful as possibly the singer taking his own life, for the dominant sentiment is one of resolve. In other words, the singer has worked hard towards a specific goal, whether it be getting a certain lady, making peace with his frenemies or what you have.  And he has made perceivable progress. But despite this, “in the end it doesn’t even matter”. 

That’s another way of saying that, in the grand scheme of things, he accomplished nothing. Indeed he goes on to insinuate that ultimately whether he succeeds or fails, is inconsequential.

Social Element to “In the End”

But that being said, there is definitely a social element to this song. So when he makes this assertion, he is doing so within the context of an actual relationship he is engaged in. But the nature of this association isn’t specified. And in the end, it doesn’t even matter, for the point he is really trying to put forth is that his attempts to make this relationship work have failed. And the subliminal implication is that this is due to personality flaws which the other person (i.e. the addressee) possesses.

Lyrics of "In the End"

Music Video

The music video to “In the End”, which relied heavily on CGI special effects, was directed by the Linkin Park’s DJ, Joe Hahn, along with Nathan Cox. It was filmed partially during the 2001 Ozzfest tour, which the band was a part of.

A Great Linkin Park Tune

In terms of critical reception, this is one of Linkin Park’s most-celebrated songs. “In the End” charted in almost 20 countries and topped the charts in Brazil, Poland and on a couple of Billboard’s lists, the Mainstream Top 40 and Alternative Songs charts. It also marks the highest Linkin Park has ever reached on the Hot 100 itself, peaking at number 2.

Moreover “In the End” has been certified multi-Platinum in Italy and the United States.

Release Date of “In the End”

This song was released by Warner Bros. on 9 October 2001. It served as the fourth single issued from Linkin Park’s debut album, entitled “Hybrid Theory”. This album happened to be the best-selling record of the year, due largely to this tune.

Bennington wasn’t a fun of “In the End”

Something interesting to note is that Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington (1976-2017) disliked “In the End”. He actually disliked it so much that he didn’t want it to be included on the album. But after the track blew up, he realized that he was “wrong” in his assessment.

Mass Shooter’s Inspiration

On a completely different note, a teenage mass shooter named Charles Andrew Williams, who murdered two of his schoolmates in 2001 in the state of Maryland, was a big fan of Linkin Park.  This becomes significant because in the note he had written to his dad rationalizing his actions, he actually quoted a couple of lines from the chorus of this song. Linkin Park promptly offered their condolences to the victims of the shooting. And in the end, Williams himself is serving a prison sentence of 50 years to life.

Who wrote “In the End”?

The members of Linkin Park are credited as the writers of “In the End”.  They are M. Shinoda,  J. Hahn, C. Bennington, B. Delson and R. Bourdon.

And the track was produced by Don Gilmore, who has worked on a number of their tunes.

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