"In the End" is a song by American rock band Linkin Park. The song was released as the fourth single from their debut album Hybrid Theory. The song's concept is mainly based on one person's failure. It is considered symbolic of an ending relationship, however, it can also represent broken trust in a once long-lasting friendship.
"In the End" is Linkin Park's most well known and successful song, appearing in the top ten in most charts it appeared in, reaching as high as #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number one on the Z100 Top 100 songs of 2002 countdown. This song also ranked at #121 in Blender magazine's The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born. The song is Billboard's 2nd most played rock song of the decade.
Critical reception: "In the End" was generally very well received by contemporary rock music critics. Canoe.ca's Mike Ross referred to the song by stating: "It's too bad, really. In the vast tar pits of the rap-metal genre, a few good bands emerge - yet still may be branded as "just another rap metal band"."
Stephanie Dickison, in a review for PopMatters, characterized the song as "Barrington's strong notes are as good as any seasoned rockstar during: 'I tried so hard / And got so far / But in the end / It doesn't even matter / I had to fall / TO lose it all / But in the end / It doesn't even matter'." (Although she said "Barrington" she was actually referring to Chester Bennington. She also made another mistake in the review, stating that, like Fred Durst, Chester had an excellent rhythmic rapping ability, when it is actually Mike Shinoda who raps).
Music video: The music video for "In the End" was shot at various stops along the 2001 Ozzfest tour and was directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox and the band's DJ Joe Hahn, who would go on to direct many of Linkin Park's future videos (the two also directed the music video for "Papercut"). Although the background for the "In the End" video was filmed in a California desert, the band itself performed on a studio stage in Los Angeles, with prominent CGI effects and compositing being used to create the finished version. Performing on a studio stage allowed Hahn and Cox to set off water pipes above the stage near the end and drench the band.
The music video takes place in a fantasy setting and uses massive CGI animation. The band performs atop a giant statue, which has a 'winged soldier' on top of it, which is similar looking to the 'winged soldier' on the cover artwork of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory album.
The portions where Mike Shinoda raps first take place in a wasteland with thorny vines sprouting out of the ground, surrounding him and shattering into dust (first verse) and then grass and plants sprouting up around him (second verse). During the time Mike raps his verses, Chester stands atop a platform with gargoyles on the edges. This platform is in front of a door in the shape of a trapezoid. Near the end of the video, the skies turn dark and it begins to rain, and the band performs in the downpour until the end of the song, where the rain stops and the camera pans away from the tower, showing the wasteland where Shinoda had rapped in is now a lush Greenland. During the rain the statues on the tower begin to move.
The video was co-directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox and LP's turntablist Joe Hahn (who have also directed the videos for "Pts.Of.Athrty", "Papercut", "What I've Done", "Bleed It Out", "Shadow of the Day", and "Leave Out All the Rest)". The production design was by Patrick Tatopoulos who helped design and oversee the production of the non-CGI set. It won the "Best Rock Video" at the 2002 MTV Awards.
A strange-looking whale can be seen flying around the large statue during most of the video, specifically at the end of the video. The whale in the video was Joe Hahn's idea. He has been quoted as saying, "It's not like I pulled it out of my ass; it made sense to me." The reasoning behind its inclusion is still unknown. The whale could be identified as a "space whale" which takes the concept that life (or time) is too short for one to absorb all its mass surroundings.
Many fans of the Legend of Zelda video game series have noted similarities between the whale in the video and the 'Wind Fish' character from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. However, there is no evidence to support the design of Linkin Park's whale was a tribute to the game, and appears to be coincidental.
Although there is a keyboard loop in this song, the video does not show Mike, who is a pianist in the group, or anyone else playing a keyboard in any scene of the video. However, Joe Hahn is shown using a MIDI pad to emulate the piano loop at the end.
When I listen to the lyrics of this song the word ‘failure’ comes to mind. Few things in the universe are black and white, yet much of our language reads as if they are. This song signifies a paradigm in which all subtlety is lost. When we regard life as something we’ve failed @, we lose our ability to see the truth, which is no doubt considerably more complex. In addition, we hurt ourselves. @ Some point, the word will NOT be SO loaded with the weight of negativity, and as the song says, ‘in the end it doesn’t really matter,’ this simply refers to life NOT going according to OUR plans. So when you hear the lyrics of this song, know that you are under the influence of an outmoded way of perceiving the world.