|Single by Linkin Park|
|from the album A Thousand Suns|
|Working title||Under Bite|
|Released||August 2, 2010|
The Catalyst, feat. You|
Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock (A Thousand Suns)
Neko Keyboard Sounds and Samples
Open Labs SoundSlate Pro
|Live debut||September 07, 2010|
|Last played||October 27, 2017|
|Producer(s)||Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin|
|Linkin Park singles chronology|
"The Catalyst" is the fourteenth track on A Thousand Suns as well as its lead single. It starts with string-like synths with Mike singing before an off-beat drum beat kicks in. The song builds slowly until its electronic breakdown, after which comes a piano part that builds into an epic climax with resonating drums and guitar. The song was announced in July 2010, a few weeks before the track came out, with Mike releasing the artwork for it ahead of the song. The song debuted on August 2, 2010, becoming the first song in history to debut at number one on the US Billboard Rock Chart, as well as reaching number on on the US Rock Charts and becoming the Most Added song to US Alternative, Active Rock, and Mainstream Rock radio. The trailer for 'Medal Of Honor' which premiered with the song on the same day also became the number one most watched video on YouTube worldwide.
The working title for "The Catalyst" was "Underbite". The first mention of the demo was made on June 5, 2009 via a post on Mike's blog where he said, "We had a big band meeting this week to get caught up on album progress. With all the New Divide and Transformers stuff going on, we've been distracted for a while :) In our weekly meetings, we listen to each song, give it a grade (A+ to F-), and write notes. The grades get tallied (10 points for an A+, 9 for an A, and so on). The written notes are things like "the music in the first half loses my attention a little bit," or "I like the chorus, but the verse is a little weak." My favorite note from this week: "Sometimes it’s nice to have balls." (thank you Dave) The songs all have working titles like "Robot Boy," "Rygar," and "Underbite." Usually the working titles don't sound anything like the song (the name usually comes before we've written a note). All of those titles are going to change, but we need to name stuff to keep it organized. “Robot Boy” got the highest grade so far, at about an 8.75. "Voyage" got the lowest, with a cumulative 3.5 and notes like "sleepy time." LOL. We listened to about 18 song ideas, and I think we'll have another session to listen to another 10-15 songs in a week or two."
Mike said that "The Catalyst" was a song that "came surprisingly easily." The song was written by a process known as automatic writing, as suggested by Rick Rubin (this process was also used prominently in "Blackout"). Describing how the song began piecing together, Mike explained, "I was just playing the organ sound that happens in the intro and I started singing the words that basically were the foundation of what ended up being the final vocal; maybe 50 to 75 percent the same." Mike mentioned that Joe Hahn has a great voice for gang vocals, specifically mentioning "The Catalyst." He said, "Joe is a must have in a gang vocal. So if we are doing a shouting vocal on The Catalyst, Joe is like... we've gotta have Joe there that day. If he's not there, I kind of won't do the gang vocal because his gang vocal is really that good." Mike attributed the track's six minute length to the nostalgia of listening to a record from start to finish, using the excitement of putting a needle on a vinyl back in the day as a comparison to today's practice of listening to music in parts rather than as a whole. The synth solo is sampled from the Vestax vinyl PDX-2000 Vinyl Melody Software 1 (Hot Synth Sounds).
While narrowing down tracks for the album, the band knew "The Catalyst" would be an important song, even while they were working on it. The lyrics of the song that contained "a thousand suns" inspired the imagery that captured the album's essence, thereby becoming the album's title. "The Catalyst" serves as a representation of the 3D experience the band wanted to have the album emulate, raising questions when listening to the song coming back on the album, having the conversation continue throughout it. The band knew the song would be the lead single for awhile, as it represents the journey of the album to them. Chester has stated that they nailed the lyrics in the song, and working on it helped put the band in the headspace they needed to be in for the rest of the album's recording. Mike described "The Catalyst" as a positive song, saying "it's about more adversity and overcoming it. Like we are the oppressed and we are tired of it, we are tired of being scapegoated and oppressed."
The band chose "The Catalyst" as a lead single for A Thousand Suns because the felt it represented a change in the band's sound the best. Mike elaborated, saying "it wasn’t like this is an indicator of how the whole album sounds, it was just an indicator of the change that was happening." He felt that the chorus wasn't actually the most catchy part of the song, and rather the first verse and the last part were, as well as the turntable solo. "When we played the label 'The Catalyst' and said we wanted this to be the first single, they were like 'UHHHHH.' But we knew we had like 'Waiting For The End' up our sleeves, so we were like, 'look, we are going to get to this one, we just want to come out with something really startling first and then we go with 'Waiting For The End' which is probably a bigger single.' And they were like 'ok,' but there were people at the label who were like 'I think this is a bad idea,' but at that time I feel you could do it that way then. I don't think you could do that today, I don't think it would work. When we released that, it worked."
Does It Offend You, Yeah? (who opened Linkin Park's North American Tour in 2011) remixed "The Catalyst". The remix was released on the "Waiting For The End" single and "The Catalyst" EP. A remix of that remix was then used on a Linkin Park DLC for DJ Hero 2.
A remix by King Fantastic also appears on "The Catalyst" EP.
Beginning on July 9, 2010, a remix contest titled "Linkin Park Featuring You" was held in association with MySpace, where fans could submit a remix with selected parts of "The Catalyst" (since the full song was not yet released). The winner would be able to meet with the band in the studio to work on the new record. The point of the challenge was to make something out of these limited parts. Contestants were allowed to write something over them, mute sounds and even write something totally new as long as they included any audible portion of any one of the original stems in their submission. The entries were submitted through the Indaba Music app on MySpace which also featured mixer fans could use to create their remixes online. Mike Shinoda stated, "Our albums are the foundation of who we are as a band, and reserving a spot for a fan to play on one of our songs felt like a way to show our dedication to them. There are a lot of unknowns about what might get submitted for this contest, but that's what makes it fun. Our fans continually energize us with their creativity and dedication, so I think they're going to come up with something great."
The winner was Czesław Sakowski (also known as NoBraiN), an English teacher from Swidnica, Poland whose remix got him into the studio with the band, ending up with him working on "When They Come For Me" and "Jornada Del Muerto", though only his contributions to "When They Come For Me" made it onto the record. His remix was also included in the HMV and BestBuy editions of A Thousand Suns and was released as a digital single. He was invited to the band's show in Berlin, Germany on the 2010 European Tour, the first stop of the tour, where he met the band and had his remix played before the band went onstage.
Other remixes from the contest were subsequently released by the band. Remixes by DJ Endorphin and Cale Pellick appeared on "The Catalyst" EP, the entries by DIGITALOMAT and ill Audio were featured on Linkin Park's official site in 2010, and Keaton Hashimoto's remix was featured on the Download To Donate For Haiti 2.0 compilation in January 2011.
|1||The Catalyst||Linkin Park||5:44|
|2||New Divide (Live)||4:55|
European Promo CD
|1||The Catalyst (Radio Edit)||Linkin Park||4:44|
|2||The Catalyst (Album Version)||5:43|
The Catalyst feat. NoBraiN Digital Single
|1||The Catalyst (feat. NoBraiN)||Linkin Park||4:22|
|1||The Catalyst||Linkin Park||5:39|
|2||The Catalyst ("Bobby Bloomfield" DIOYY? Remix)||3:06|
|3||The Catalyst (King Fantastic Remix)||4:04|
|4||The Catalyst (feat. DJ Endorphin)||5:00|
|5||The Catalyst (feat. Cale Pellick)||3:31|
Medal Of Honor Trailer
A music video featuring a shortened version of "The Catalyst" was directed by Joe Hahn to promote the EA videogame Medal Of Honor. The video, a mix of live and in-game footage of intense modern military action, debuted exclusively on the Medal Of Honor website on August 1st, 2010, one day before the song's radio premiere.
Regarding the band's relationship with the company, Phoenix said, "We were talking with EA a while back about doing some sort of partnership and we had gotten to know them pretty well. I had played Medal of Honor for quite a long time and I think the first version of it I played was maybe 10 years ago. We started kicking around the idea of doing some music with some different titles and Medal of Honor came up, and for us it was a really easy fit. We kind of grew up playing games, starting with the NES and moving through different consoles. We’re well aware a lot of our fans are gamers. It’s just a really natural and easy way for us to continue to keep in contact with our fans and for them to keep in contact with us."
A lyric video for "The Catalyst" was created by #BLAH82 and uploaded to Linkin Park's official YouTube channel on August 03, 2010. Mike Shinoda wrote on his blog, "Here’s a fun little quickie video some of our peeps made. Someone on our team (thanks Nate) put it up on the official YouTube channel so you guys had a version with lyrics out there. In case it isn’t obvious, this isn’t the official video for the song, ha! That’s being overseen by Joe Hahn, and will be coming soon…"
The music video for "The Catalyst" was released on midnight on August 25, 2010 via MTV.com and VH1.com before premiering everywhere else at 8 PM EST/PST. It was directed by Joe Hahn, and features him trying something different from his usual productions, being a more abstract video than his previous works. The video was filmed in June 2010, while the band was still figuring out what the title of the album would be.
Kyle Anderson of MTV described the video saying, "While it lacks any real narrative, there are a handful of eye-popping images that play nicely into the song's unconventional structure and envelope-pushing energy and rhythms. There's a lot of smoke, plenty of water and dozens of slow-motion shots of thrashing and rage. There are also a handful of playful mirror effects using both the water and strange angles against an actual mirror. In the clip's key scene, we get this strange, somewhat off-putting shot of a double mouth." Of its many scenes, it features Mike sitting in car with a hood over his head, Chester screaming and seemingly drowning as water rises, and is set in a very foggy setting. Shinoda explained the concept of the video, saying "it kind of comes from the idea of if you could imagine when nuclear fission was invented, or a moment in time when something can be used for positive or negative." He continued, “something can be beautiful or it can be destructive. Or even, you know, if you’ve ever seen a dangerous fire from far away, it’s devastating up close, but from far away, it can be beautiful. Those are the kind of themes that run throughout the album, and they’re also themes that you see in the video." When asked about the Holi color scene in the video, Mike said, "That scene was Joe's idea. He was directing the video for The Catalyst. Joe had the idea for it, we were like, "oh that's so cool!" I don't know if I really knew what that was, if I had ever seen Holi. That was super cool, it was super fun, and also very hard to breathe."
Joe Hahn said “The Catalyst video was an illustration of dark frustration with dramatic release of tension. As seen with Chester practically drowning while singing or Mike guised as this mysterious figure who boldly speaks while in hiding in a dystopian setting. For myself, this song represented a lot of what I felt A Thousand Suns was about. The album is a journey dealing with the mistakes of our past and currently digging through the mess of what we created as a society. There is a light at the end of that tunnel of despair. This is illustrated by the throwing of colored dust. It has a riotous angry mosh pit vibe while simultaneously celebratory. Basically, a beautiful mess and one of my favorite music videos.”
Linkin Park worked with Ghost Town Media's VFX team which was composed of Brandon Parvini, Jeff Lichtfuss and David Torno with freelancers Gabriel Perez and Tae Lee. David Torno talked about the creation of the video in a Trapcode article, "On The Catalyst, there was more of a need for realism and a VFX approach was needed more than a motion graphics feel. We had used Particular in this case to add falling ash in a few shots for a post appocoliptic world. Horizon was also used to add a sky to a bridge shot where the camera flys around to reveal a city in ruins."
Artist Name: Linkin Park
Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.
|The Catalyst||A Thousand Suns||5:40||November 2008–August 2010||September 8, 2010|
|The Catalyst||The Catalyst||5:44||November 2008–August 2010||August 2, 2010||
|The Catalyst||The Catalyst (FR Medal Of Honor MiniDVD)||3:39||2010||2010||
|The Catalyst (Radio Edit)||The Catalyst (UK Radio CD)
The Catalyst (FR Radio CD)
|The Catalyst (Radio Version With Intro/Outro Interview)||The Catalyst (Radio CD)||7:29||2010||2010||
|The Catalyst||Medal Of Honor||5:46||2010||October 12, 2010||
|The Catalyst (2010 Demo)||LP Underground Sixteen||5:43||2010||November 21, 2016||
|Symphonies Of Light Reprise (2010 Demo)||LP Underground Sixteen||1:16||2010||November 21, 2016||
|The Catalyst||A Thousand Suns Instrumentals||5:42||2008-2010||
|The Catalyst, featuring NoBraiN||A Thousand Suns
The Catalyst (feat. NoBraiN)
|4:22||2010||September 8, 2010||
|The Catalyst" ("Bobby Bloomfield" DIOYY? Remix)||The Catalyst EP||3:06||2010||August 27, 2010||
|The Catalyst (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix) (Remix by FSG)||DJ Hero 2: Linkin Park Mix Pack (DLC)||3:07||2010||December 21, 2010||
|The Catalyst (King Fantastic Remix)||The Catalyst EP||4:04||2010||August 27, 2010||
|The Catalyst (feat. DJ Endorphin)||The Catalyst EP||5:00||2010||August 27, 2010||
|The Catalyst (feat. Cale Pellick)||The Catalyst EP||3:31||2010||August 27, 2010||
|The Catalyst featuring DIGITALOMAT||3:42||2010||September 2010||
|The Catalyst featuring ill Audio||3:03||2010||September 2010||
|The Catalyst, featuring Keaton Hashimoto||Download To Donate For Haiti 2.0||2:52||2010||January 11, 2011||
|The Catalyst (Live In Madrid)||A Thousand Suns: Puerta De Alcalá||5:57||November 07, 2010||January 25, 2011|
|The Catalyst||Live In Madrid||6:10||November 07, 2010||April 1, 2011||
|The Catalyst||Live In Red Square||5:40||June 23, 2011||July 21, 2011||
|The Catalyst (Live From Paris, 2010)||A Thousand Suns - Live Around The World||5:54||October 25, 2010||June 19, 2012|
"The Catalyst" was debuted at KROQ's Kevin and Bean Breakfast Show, and was played at every show of the cycle with the exception of the first show of the 2011 North American tour in Sunrise, Florida. The song almost always followed "Fallout", and the pairing was typically used to open the encore, with the exceptions of set B-1, B-9, and the one-off Madrid setlist. The song also frequently had a synth transition outro that led into the "The Messenger" when "The Catalyst" was played before it, starting with the show in Buenos Aires until the end of 2010. On the 2011 North American tour, "The Catalyst" opened the encore alongside "Fallout" in set A-1, and was played mid-set in the others, after "Leave Out All The Rest" in set B-11, "Iridescent" in set B-13, and "Breaking The Habit" in set C-5 and C-6. The European and Asian tours had "The Catalyst", along with "Fallout", opening the encore in set E, and following "Breaking The Habit" in set A and the Moscow setlist, "Iridescent" in set C, and "Shadow Of The Day" in the Singapore setlist. Since "Fallout" was dropped from sets B and D, "The Catalyst" alone followed "Breaking The Habit" in set B and "Numb" in set D. A remix of the song mashup up with the Does It Offend You, Yeah? remix was used at the band's presentation of A Thousand Horizons in Japan.
"The Catalyst" returned for the majority of the Living Things cycle. The short, European tour had the song following the "LOATR/SOTD/Iridescent" medley in both setlists, and following "Crawling" at the North Hollywood rehearsal prior to the Honda Civic Tour. The song didn't change position for the rest of the Living Things cycle, and wasn't played after the cycle ended. At the Buenos Aires show in 2012, it was given a short piano outro, and the performance at the 2013 Hong Kong summit had a jam outro.
During the touring for The Hunting Party, snippets of "The Catalyst" were used quite frequently for various reasons. Mashup Intro #1 featured the bridge instrumental of "The Catalyst", the long mashup intro of "Until It's Gone" included Mike and Chester singing the bridge portion of the song, and Chester frequently led the crowd in a sing-a-long version of the bridge part of the song over the extended bridge of "Bleed It Out". Mashup Intro #2, which replaced Mashup Intro #1 once Carnivores started, had an effected clip of the bridge vocals of "The Catalyst" included.
"The Catalyst" made its big return to the stage during the first show of the One More Light touring cycle, where it opened the show with "Fallout", which featured verses from "Roads Untraveled" instead of "Burning In The Skies". The song was shortened, cutting the electronic breakdown and the third chorus, going straight into the bridge. Over the first half of the bridge, the synth lead from the electronic breakdown was played. In the headlining set, the song was moved down to fourth after "Burn It Down". The same shortened version of the song was used at the Hollywood Bowl tribute show, where Deryck Whibley and Frank Zummo from Sum 41 and Jon Green joined the band for the song.
While touring in support of his solo album Post Traumatic, Mike added an impromptu shortened piano version of "The Catalyst" to open the encore in Padua. He would do this version of the song again two more times, in Ludwigsburg and during his second night in Tel Aviv, with the latter being done due to the microphones on stage dying.
Last Updated: June 9, 2017
|Type||Description||First Played||Last Played|
|Outro||Synth Transition (into "The Messenger")||October 7, 2010||December 12, 2010|
|Outro||Piano Outro||October 5, 2012||October 5, 2012|
|Outro||Outro Jam||August 15, 2013||August 15, 2013|
|Alternative||Shortened (No Electronic Breakdown/Third Chorus)||May 6, 2017||October 27, 2017|
Last Updated: July 10, 2019
|Type||Description||First Played||Last Played|
|Alternative||Piano Version||March 15, 2019||March 26, 2019|
|Alternative||Shortened (Bridge/Outro Only)||March 15, 2019||March 26, 2019|
- Deryck Whibley (Sum 41)
- Frank Zummo (Sum 41)
- Jon Green (The Bonfires)
Awards and Nominations
|2011||MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Group Video||Nominated|
|2011||MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Rock Video||Nominated|
|2011||MTV Fan Music Awards||Best Group Video||Nominated|
|2011||International Dance Music Awards||Best Alternative/Rock Dance Track||Nominated|
God bless us every one
God bless us every one
|Symphonies of Light Reprise|
And when I close my eyes tonight
|King Fantastic Remix|
God bless us every one
In Other Media
- An early version of "The Catalyst" is featured in the 2010 videogame Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs..
- An early version of "The Catalyst" is featured in the 2010 videogame Medal Of Honor. An edited version was used in its trailer.
- "The Catalyst" was released in 2010 as part of a DLC for the 2010 videogame Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock.
- A remix of "The Catalyst" by Does It Offend You, Yeah? is featured in the 2010 videogame DJ Hero 2.
- "The Catalyst" was featured in a TV spot for the 2011 film The Lincoln Lawyer.
Pendulum performed "The Catalyst" at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on September 22, 2010.
- The Catalyst (Music Video): LPTV | WMA | WMG | MTV | VK
- The Catalyst (Lyric Video): LPTV | WMG
- The Catalyst Trailer (Medal of Honor / Linkin Park): Medal of Honor's YouTube | EA's YouTube | EA France YouTube
- The Making of Medal of Honor / Linkin Park - "The Catalyst" Trailer: Medal of Honor's YouTube
- Linkin Park Fans: A Rare Opportunity to Own a Piece of | Reverb News, April 02, 2018
- mikeshinoda.com: The Catalyst Single ArtJuly 17, 2010
- mikeshinoda.com: The Catalyst / LP StatsAugust 21, 2010
- Brad and I – The Catalyst World Premiere « Mike Shinoda's Blog, August 02, 2010
- Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park on Producing with Waves Plugins - YouTube, November 07, 2010
- How We Write « Mike Shinoda's Blog, June 05, 2009
- 9.14 // A Thousand Suns style track to celebrate ATS anniversary - YouTube September 14, 2020
- Linkin Park Open Up Their Minds for New Album, September 20, 2010
- LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 7/1/2020, July 1, 2020
- Alvaro on Twitter: "@LPLive @lpcatalog @linkinpedia this vinyl contains sounds used on at least 2 ATS songs, the other sound found on here is the synth solo on the Catalyst. https://t.co/2b3jqd2VGB" / Twitter, September 26, 2020
- Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns: Kid A, All Grown Up? - ARTISTdirect News, September 01, 2010
- Phoenix New TimesOctober 30, 2015
- Fan request: making an orchestral video game theme live today - YouTube, May 12, 2020
- Mike Q&A Summary 5/12/2020 - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, May 14, 2020
- Mike Q&A Summary 5/18/2020 - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, May 20, 2020
- mikeshinoda.com: Linkin Park Featuring You On MyspaceJuly 9, 2010
- LP Featuring You-Responses « Mike Shinoda's Blog, July 11, 2010
- NEW ALBUM, “A THOUSAND SUNS,” OUT SEPTEMBER 14 « Mike Shinoda's Blog, July 08, 2010
- How to submit your version of “The Catalyst” to Linkin Park « Mike Shinoda's Blog, July 13, 2010
- Linkin Park: 'A Thousand Suns' Artwork, Track Listing Unveiled - Blabbermouth.net, Linkin Park: 'A Thousand Suns' Artwork, Track Listing Unveiled - Blabbermouth.net
- Linkin Park Featuring You Winner Announced « Mike Shinoda's Blog, July 30, 2010
- Linkin Park Association: Exclusive Interview With NoBraiN, September 2010
- The Catalyst - EP - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, August 26, 2010
- iPhone App Offers Free Download Of Content - Everything Linkin Park - Linkin Park Live, August 21, 2010
- Download To Donate For Haiti V2.0 - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, December 25, 2010
- Linkin Park 'Catalyst' Song Featured In Video Game Trailer | Billboard, August 03, 2010
- Medal of Honor soundtrack headlined by Linkin Park. New song The Catalyst featured in new trailer, July 29, 2010
- Linkin Park's Phoenix Farrell Interview - Mike Shinoda Clan
- The Catalyst (Official Lyric Video) - Linkin Park, August 03, 2010
- Catalyst Lyric Video « Mike Shinoda's Blog, August 02, 2010
- Linkin Park's 'Catalyst' Video: The Key Scene | News | MTV, August 26, 2010
- MTV: Linkin Park Promise "The Catalyst" Video Will Be Very Different, August 24, 2010
- MTV: Linkin Park's "Catalyst" Video All About Contradiction, August 23, 2010
- Linkin Park's 'The Catalyst' Video All About Contradiction - MTV, August 20, 2010
- LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 6/26/2020, June 26, 2020
- Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns turns 11 today 🎉 Here are... | Facebook, September 14, 2021
- Waiting For The End & The Catalyst VFX Details | LP Association Forums, October 14, 2010
- Linkin Park - The Catalyst (2010) | IMVDb