The Little Things Give You Away

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"The Little Things Give You Away"
Studio-Minutes To Midnight clean.jpg
Song by Linkin Park from the album Minutes To Midnight
Working title Drum Song
Recorded 2006 - 2007
Format Digital, Cassete, CD, Vinyl, DVD
Length 06:21
Time signature 3/4
Tempo 70
Key A Minor
Live debut May 24, 2007
Last played August 23, 2008
Writer Linkin Park
Producer Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin
Label Warner Bros.

Minutes To Midnight track listing
  1. Wake
  2. Given Up
  3. Leave Out All The Rest
  4. Bleed It Out
  5. Shadow Of The Day
  6. What I've Done
  7. Hands Held High
  8. No More Sorrow
  9. Valentine's Day
  10. In Between
  11. In Pieces
  12. The Little Things Give You Away

"The Little Things Give You Away" is the twelfth and final track off on Linkin Park's third studio album, Minutes To Midnight.

Background

In a March 2007 article promoting the album, Brad said "The Little Things Give You Away" is "the song of which I'm probably most proud that we've ever done."[1]

The limited edition booklet for Minutes To Midnight revealed that Rob Bourdon actually came up with the initial idea for the song. "Many songs on previous LP albums began from demos by Mike and Brad. In the making of Minutes To Midnight, the band experimented with their writing process in an attempt to break comfortable patterns. This album saw all members of the band generating demos, or “seeds.” The seed for "Little Things" was from Rob Bourdon, based around the drum pattern heard in the bridge. The working title was "Drum Song." Later, the vocals were finished after the band visited New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina." While never explicitly stating the song has political leanings, the lyrics of the track make it obvious that it calls out President George Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina. The band had other criticisms of the President with "Hands Held High" and "No More Sorrow" earlier in the album.

Chester Bennington described the song as epic, but delicate in an interview with MTV, where he stated "It’s an epic song, but it’s also kind of delicate in a lot of ways. There’s a great guitar riff that comes in acoustically, and the words really say a lot. And I think that they’ll touch people in a way Linkin Park haven’t touched people before. And there’s a breakdown that’s my favorite moment on the record. It’s beautiful and timeless-sounding, with this great synth sound … and Brad [Delson] breaks into this beautiful solo and it just builds and builds and builds until it breaks down into this a cappella section. It’s a huge explosion of sound, over six minutes long, and it’s truly, completely amazing. And I can’t wait for people to hear it."[2] In an interview with Kerrang!, Brad Delson said "This is our favourite song on the record. It’s the biggest statement that we’ve ever made. Nothing could go after it as everything would get eclipsed by it. The thing that really makes it is the guitar solo." Mike Shinoda backed up that final idea when he said "Brad has always avoided solos because he doesn’t like to show off. But when he played that solo, though, it was one of the most emotional moments we’ve recorded. It says what the lyrics are saying without any words."[3]

On March 10, 2007, Mike posted on the Linkin Park forums, "the solo isn't 2 minutes. but i think it gets the point across in about half that time. we were excited to have broken the 6 minute mark on that song, though..."[4] He added in 2020 that Linkin Park never intended the song to be that long at the start of the songwriting process, but it happened naturally.[5]

At the Minutes To Midnight album listening party with Stryker, Rob said, "Actually on this song, I was actually in my little practice studio and I was just inspired by this drum fill I was doing. I just turned over to my ProTools rig and titled it "Drum Idea" and just started recording that snare build that you hear in the breakdown in the song. And then came up with the pattern after that. And then I wrote some piano and string stuff and passed it off to Mike, and he threw an acoustic guitar. And that song just got passed around on a hard drive to all of us and everyone added their ideas to it. It was one of the first songs we started and by the end of the process, it was a completely different animal. The last thing we did was, we wanted to place the original drums I came up with in my drum studio, and after spending about ten days working on doing the new drums, Rick listened to them... A/B'd them and actually decided that he liked the ones from my drum studio better."

Mike added, "And keep in mind too, at this point in the stage in that song's lifetime, we're talking about six months or longer from the time Rob originally did it to the ones that we were calling the final drums. We were listening, "oh yeah, it's the nicest kit, it's the nicest recording" and all that, and then he told Rob he liked the other one."

Bennington, in a later interview with MTV, talked about the inspiration for the lyrics, stating "We were writing these harmonies before we went down to New Orleans on the first anniversary of the [Katrina] disaster. And when we were down there, we were talking to these people who lived in the Ninth Ward. One of the lines, about ’water gray, coming through the windows,’ was taken from what one older gentleman told me. The feeling I got down there was not a good one. For my whole life, I was spoon-fed what a great country this is, and I just didn’t get that feeling from that trip. I didn’t understand how we could spend $120 billion a year on killing people in other countries, but we only allocated $1 billion to rebuilding lives here. It really bothered me. … I felt sick about it. So I wrote the lyrics. Mike and I had a discussion, and he said, ’Why don’t you go write about Katrina?’ So I did … and I put it to the melody we had been working on, and it just fit perfectly."[6]

Mike was asked about the song on Twitch in September 2020. He said, "I remember the moment I wrote it. That song came very quickly. I remember sitting in the corner of the live room in this little studio we were using that I think Korn actually owned the studio, strangely, and that whole chord progression of everything up to the second chorus, everything up to the middle spot where everything changes, it all came together in almost one sitting. It was crazy. One of Rick’s ideas as we were finishing that album, he was a proponent of putting that song first on the album. We were like, "I get it, that’s a huge statement." Because remember, people were coming off of Meteora, they were like, "This band is about "One Step Closer" and "In The End" and "Breaking The Habit" and "From The Inside" and whatever, that’s what this band is about", and then long break and then first song on the album, "Little Things Give You Away"... people would have been like, "What the fuck are you guys doing? You’re idiots." "Numb", Collision Course to "Little Things Give You Away.""[7]

At the end of the Minutes To Midnight recording sessions, Linkin Park invited composer David Campbell back, who they previously worked with on Meteora, to add string arrangements to six songs, four of which made the album outright - "Leave Out All The Rest", "Shadow Of The Day", "Hands Held High", "The Little Things Give You Away", bonus track "No Roads Left", and outtake "Blackbirds". David Campbell, Mike, and Brad wrote the string arrangements, with David conducting the violin, viola, cello, and bass performances which are highlighted on the album's DVD.

Demo

Linkin Park released a demo for "The Little Things Give You Away" on the LP Underground 9: Demos album in November 2009, titled "Drum Song."

"Drum Song" is four minutes and fifty seconds, shorter than the final version of the song. It begins with the drum buildup from the bridge of the studio version of "The Little Things Give You Away" with piano over it. Mike Shinoda is on vocals for the entire duration of the song. At times, he is singing scat "donna" vocals, except for the choruses, the pre-chorus in the second verse, and the repeating lines at the end of the song. The drum buildup is repeated in the bridge, but there is no guitar solo in this demo.

Versions

Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.

Studio

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
The Little Things Give You Away Minutes To Midnight 6:21 2006-2007 May 14, 2007
Drum Song ("Little Things Give You Away" Demo 2006) LP Underground 9.0: Demos 4:50 2006 November 23, 2009
  • Demo version.
  • Mike on vocals.
  • Different lyrics.
  • Includes scat lyrics.
The Little Things Give You Away Minutes To Midnight Instrumentals 6:28 2006-2007
  • The CD dates from May 24, 2007.
  • Official instrumental version.

Live

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
The Little Things Give You Away LP Underground 7.0 7:21 August 07, 2007 December 5, 2007
  • Recorded live at the HiFi Buys Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA on August 7, 2007.
The Little Things Give You Away Road To Revolution: Live At Milton Keynes 7:19 June 29, 2008 November 21, 2008
  • Filmed at the National Bowl, Milton Keynes June 29, 2008.
The Little Things Give You Away (Live From Shanghai, 2007) Minutes To Midnight - Live Around The World 7:43 November 18, 2007 June 12, 2012

Live

"The Little Things Give You Away" was a staple in the Minutes To Midnight touring cycle setlists. It debuted as the first song of the encore on the Minutes To Midnight European Tour. When the band began rotating setlists on Projekt Revolution 2007, the song was performed with a new keyboard intro at the end of the main set in Set A and Set B, and as the encore opener in Set C. The song saw less exposure in 2008, where it was only featured mid-set in Set S on the Minutes To Midnight European Tour. In the summer setlists, the song was only featured mid-set in Set X.

At the 2007.08.07 Atlanta, GA show on Projekt Revolution 2007, Mike asked if anyone in the crowd was from New Orleans and dedicated the song to them. This version of the song was released on the LP Underground 7 album in December 2007. At the sold out 2008.03.04 Los Angeles, CA show the following March, Mike introduced the song by saying, "You know what? We should tell them about what we did the other day. Because it applies to this song, you know. When we were writing this song, we had just been down to New Orleans. It was probably like one year after the hurricane hit. And I remember it was just still a mess. And we wrote this song kind of about what we saw, what we imagined was going on there. And just recently, just a couple of days ago, we went down there and we did a project with Habitat For Humanity. Make some noise for those guys. It was fantastic. It looks a lot better now. They say about 65% of the people are back, which is pretty good, they could do better but that's pretty good. But that's kind of what this song is about. And if you guys want to help out with that, if that's on your minds, then check out musicforrelief.org."

Mike always performed either a keyboard intro to the song, or a transition from the song before "The Little Things Give You Away" until the intro of the song began. Mike frequently played the piano version of the song's guitar solo beforehand.

The song has not been performed in its entirety since the Minutes To Midnight touring cycle, but was partially performed acoustically at the 2nd LPU Summit in Homebush, New South Wales on the A Thousand Suns touring cycle in 2010.

Variations

Last Updated: December 25, 2015

Type Description First Played Last Played
Intro Keyboard Intro w/ Vocals July 25, 2007 November 24, 2007
Intro Keyboard Intro July 27, 2007 August 23, 2008
Alternative Acoustic (Mike and Chester) December 15, 2010 December 15, 2010
Alternative Shortened (Until Bridge) December 15, 2010 December 15, 2010

Personnel

  • Chester Bennington
  • Mike Shinoda
  • Brad Delson
  • Dave "Phoenix" Farrell
  • Joseph Hahn
  • Rob Bourdon

Orchestra

  • Arrangements: David Campbell, Mike Shinoda, and Brad Delson
  • Conducting: David Campbell
  • Violin: Charlie Bisharat, Mario DeLeon, Armen Garabedian, Julian Hallmark, Gerry Hilera, Songa Lee-Kitto, Natalie Leggett, Josefina Vergara, and Sara Parkins
  • Viola: Matt Funes and Andrew Picken
  • Cello: Larry Corbett and Suzie Katayama
  • Bass: Oscar Hidalgo

Production

  • Produced by Rick Rubin and Mike Shinoda
  • Engineers: Dana Neilsen, Andrew Schelps, and Ethan Mates
  • Engineer Assisting: Phillip Broussard, Jr.
  • Mixing: Neal Avron
  • Mixing Assisting: Nicolas Fournier and George Gumbs
  • Mastering: Dave Collins

Lyrics

Gallery

External Links

References