Skin to Bone by Linkin Park Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Marks of Time and Betrayal

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Linkin Park's Skin to Bone at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Skin to bone, steel to rust
Ash to ashes, dust to dust
Let tomorrow have its way
With the promises we made
Skin to bone, steel to rust

Ash to ashes, dust to dust
Your deception, my disgust
When your name is finally drawn
I’ll be happy that you’re gone
Ash to ashes, dust to dust

(Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Ash to ashes, dust to dust
(Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Skin to bone and steel to rust

Right to left, left to right
Night to day and day to night
As the starlight fades to gray
I’ll be marching far away
Right to left and left to right

(Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Ash to ashes, dust to dust
(Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Skin to bone and steel to rust

Let tomorrow have its way?
With the promises betrayed?
Skin to bone and steel to rust
Skin to bone and steel to rust
Skin to bone and steel to rust

Full Lyrics

Strong, assertive, and cutting deep into the flesh of impermanence, Linkin Park’s ‘Skin to Bone’ evokes the relentless passing of time and the often inevitable disillusionment that follows broken promises. As part of their album ‘Living Things’, this track stands out as an introspective journey, both metaphorically and literally, through the layers of human experience and emotional landscapes.

While Linkin Park is known for their nu-metal attitude and skill at blending electronic elements with raw guitar riffs, ‘Skin to Bone’ displays their prowess in crafting a song that fuses existential angst with anthemic resolve. The seemingly simple lyrics hide a well of deeper meaning that resonates with a certain universal truth about the human condition, beckoning listeners to peel back its layers.

Ephemeral Nature: From Existence to Non-Existence

The repeating phrase ‘skin to bone, steel to rust’ captures the essence of decay. It’s a grim reminder of mortality and the inexorable passage of time that reduces all things from their living, vibrant state to their bare and inevitable conclusion. The track doesn’t so much mourn the end state as it acknowledges it as an unavoidable destination, in a world bound by the laws of nature and entropy.

Linkin Park has always had an affinity for themes surrounding the human psyche and its fragilities. In this track, there’s a subtle confrontation with the concept of impermanence. This notion does not only apply to physicality but extends to the abstract—ideas, relationships, and even truths that we hold dear. All are subject to the relentless march from existence to obsolescence.

Deception and Disgust: A Tale of Betrayal

The bitter taste of betrayal comes through in ‘Your deception, my disgust’. It is clear from this line that the song deals not only with the passage of time but also with personal relationships and the deceit that can corrode them. It’s a feeling of betrayal so potent that the dissolution of such connections is met with relief rather than sorrow—’I’ll be happy that you’re gone’.

Betrayal is one of the toughest emotional experiences to weather, and the song touches on the liberation felt when finally shedding the weight of this deception. This metaphor matches the transformation from ‘skin to bone’, a peeling away of layers until nothing but the truth remains, uncovered and stark.

The Circle of Change: Night and Day Reimagined

One cannot help but notice the poetic interplay of antitheses in ‘right to left, left to right, night to day and day to night’. Reflecting the inevitable cycle of change, this lyrical dance mirrors the cosmic cycle. It speaks of the inexhaustible pattern of our days and nights, symbolizing the fluidity and constancy of transformation in our lives.

This section of the song suggests a sense of journey or progression—’as the starlight fades to gray, I’ll be marching far away’. There’s an acknowledgment of moving on, of traversing through life’s different phases and perhaps even of personal growth or escape from the chains of a painful past.

The Calls of the Chorus: Chants of Transformation

The chants that interlace the lyrics with ‘(Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah) Ash to ashes, dust to dust’ serve not only as a musical break but also as an echo to the sentiments expressed. These elemental terms are drawn from a widely recognized funeral rite phrase, emphasizing the thematic focus on the cycle of life and death, with ‘ash’ and ‘dust’ being the final states of returned matter.

In this auditory space, there’s a palpable end-of-life melancholy juxtaposed with the arguably soothing acceptance of life’s natural rhythms, much like a ritual chant providing comfort and closure in the face of the inevitable.

The Hidden Meaning: When Promises Turn to Rust

In exploring the unspoken depths of ‘Skin to Bone’, we confront not just a litany of transformations but also a commentary on the fragility of promises in the face of time’s swiftness. ‘With the promises betrayed?’ hints at a cynical interpretation of human relations, where pledges are as transient as our physical being.

This layer of the song speaks to a hidden truth in our interactions: the understanding that as the physical world deteriorates, so too might our bonds with one another. It is a statement on the trust we place in each other, often a trust as vulnerable to decay as our mortal coil. Linkin Park deftly uses ‘Skin to Bone’ to remind us that what’s often left unsaid in the heat of passion or connection is the fine print that all is subject to the relentless toll of time.

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