|Song by Linkin Park from the album Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)|
|Released||August 13, 2020|
|Stems||Akai MPC 1000|
|Samples||The High & Mighty - B-Boy Document '99 (feat. Mad Skillz, Mos Def & Mr. Eon)|
|Writer||Milo Berger, Erik Meltzer, Brad Delson, Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda, Joe Thomas, Lance Quinn, Brad Baker, Donnie Lewis, Yasiin Bey|
|Label||Warner Bros. Records|
"She Couldn't" is a song from the Hybrid Theory recording sessions that surfaced online in July 2009. It was officially released on August 13, 2020 as the first pre-release song from the 20th Anniversary Edition of Hybrid Theory.
"She Couldn't" is very differently stylistically from other Linkin Park material at the time. It is over five minutes in length and features an extended instrumental breakdown. "She Couldn't" also one of the softest songs the band has produced, particularly from the Hybrid Theory era. This is also an extremely rare case of a Linkin Park song sampling music from another artist. "She Couldn't" samples Mos Def's vocals from "B-Boy Document '99" by High & Mighty where he says, "won't be long 'til everybody knows." The line is in turn a replayed sample of "Superappin'" by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.
Although the demo CD was advertised as being from 1998, "B-Boy Document '99" was released on August 24, 1999, on High & Mighty's album Home Field Advantage, meaning the song had to have been written around that date at the earliest. The track was also present on The Urban Network's 1999 compilation Rapology Sixteen which featured illustrations by Mike Shinoda. It's possible this CD is where he first heard the song.
On July 3, 2009, after LPLive released the full demo CD for free download, Mike posted on his blog about the song, "Many of you have asked about an old demo that is floating around. The song is called “She Couldn’t.” We recorded it in 1999 during the making of Hybrid Theory, but it never made an album and was never released by us. For legal reasons, that’s all I can say about the song, but I hope this clears things up!"
The leaked version of the song on the demo CD features static throughout the song as the initial pressing of the CD was faulty.
On August 13, 2020, as a part of Linkin Park's announcement for Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition), "She Couldn't" was made available as an instant grat track for immediate download upon preordering the release. The song was sent to streaming services. When he went live on Twitch that day to discuss the album, Mike talked about "She Couldn't." The song was released on the third disc titled "Forgotten Demos."
He said, "Before we get to the box set, let me say something about "She Couldn't", which I know was floating out there on the Internet and never had an official release. A lot of people are going to be hearing it for the first time. Here's a thing about that song. And I didn't pick that, I don't know who picked that for the first track. It's not a single, we're not doing singles. But in terms of having a track come out with the announcement, that song was one of the first songs we wrote with Chester. It was one of the really early ones we wrote from scratch with that configuration of the band. And here's some things that are in it - not really any distorted guitars. It's got the beats, it's got the electronic sounds, it's got a sample of Mos Def from a High & Mighty "Rawkus" release. Which by the way, shout out to Yasiin Bey, to Mos, for clearing the sample. So, it's got those things in it and the theme of the song, lyrically, the song is about the outsider and being there for somebody. Do you know what I'm saying? Like, I feel like that song is a foreshadowing of not just of Hybrid Theory, it's the foreshadowing of the next ten to fifteen years of the band. Like, we had everything we were from the very beginning, right? Think about that. Everybody knew us for the Hybrid Theory sound. Even before we released that, we had that song. And we had other songs like that. So that's the thing I thought was so dope. I didn't choose that song to come out first but that's something that I thought was so dope about that song."
Later that day on Twitter, he added, "Glad you like it! We didn’t re “mix” the audio, we just mastered it. That basically means we preserved the integrity of the original mix, but mostly adjusted EQ and overall volume." The song was mixed by Mike Shinoda and mastered by Brian Gardner.
Finally, that night, Mike posted a photo of Chester from the album photo shoot and said, ""She Couldn’t” is one of the earliest demos we made when Chester joined the band. Two things stand out about the song, to me: 1.) The programmed beat and focus on synth sounds and vocal loops (rather than heavy guitars) foreshadowed a future of the band many years after Hybrid Theory. In searching for our “first sound,” we set the groundwork for our later evolution. 2.) The softly-sung “you’re not alone” refrain reminded me that, although we debuted with a song screaming “shut up,” what most fans came to find out was that empathy and community were just as integral a part of LP’s DNA from the very beginning. Sincerely, thank you for the excitement about the #hybridtheory20 package. We’re so grateful to have had you with us all these years."
In June 2019, a demo for "She Couldn't" was included in the Hybrid Party Of A Thousand Things leak, titled "Emo." It is an instrumental of the final version of the song with a few changes, most notably a small guitar part on the breakdown over four minutes in.
Jeff Blue's One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park book mentions a demo named "Flower" that was later reworked into "She Couldn't".
Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.
|She Couldn't||Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)||5:05||1999||August 13, 2020||
|She Couldn't||Hybrid Theory 8-Track Demo||5:26||1999||
|Emo||Hybrid Party Of A Thousand Things||5:14||1999||
Won't be long 'til everybody knows
- She Couldn't (Official Audio): YouTube
- Rare rare old song: She Couldn't (with clip) | LP Association Forums, June 28, 2009
- The High & Mighty feat. Mos Def and Mad Skillz's 'B-Boy Document 99' - Discover the Sample Source
- Rapology Sixteen (1999, CD) | Discogs
- Exclusive: Hybrid Theory 8-Track Demo (She Couldn't) - LPLive Exclusives and Specials - Linkin Park Live, July 01, 2009
- Response to comments: "She Couldn't," etc. « Mike Shinoda's Blog, July 03, 2009
- Twitch: Mike Shinoda - 8.13 Animal Crossing Stream - visiting fan islands. Also, talking about #HybridTheory20 at the top of the stream., August 13, 2020
- Mike Shinoda on Twitter: "Glad you like it! We didn’t re “mix” the audio, we just mastered it. That basically means we preserved the integrity of the original mix, but mostly adjusted EQ and overall volume." / Twitter, August 13, 2020
- Facebook: Mike Shinoda - "She Couldn't", August 14, 2020
- Blue, Jeff (2020). One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park. Permuted Press. ASIN: B08LMZLXTJ