When They Come For Me

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"When They Come For Me"
Studio-A Thousand Suns Cover clean.jpg
Song by Linkin Park from the album A Thousand Suns
Working title Dingleberry
Recorded 2008 - 2010
Length 04:53
Stems Leaked Multitracks
Time signature 4/4
Tempo 92
Key C Minor
References Linkin Park - Points Of Authority
Lauryn Hill - Lost Ones
Notorious B.I.G. - Mo Money Mo Problems (feat. Puff Daddy & Mase)
Big Daddy Kane - Raw
Public Enemy - My Uzi Weigh A Ton
Jay-Z - The Blueprint 2: The Gift And The Curse
Live debut October 7, 2010
Last played January 10, 2014
Writer Linkin Park
Producer Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin
Label Warner Bros.

A Thousand Suns track listing
  1. The Requiem
  2. The Radiance
  3. Burning In The Skies
  4. Empty Spaces
  5. When They Come For Me
  6. Robot Boy
  7. Jornada Del Muerto
  8. Waiting For The End
  9. Blackout
  10. Wretches And Kings
  11. Wisdom, Justice, And Love
  12. Iridescent
  13. Fallout
  14. The Catalyst
  15. The Messenger

Background

"When They Come For Me" is a very hip-hop oriented track, and is one of the few songs on the album that features Mike Shinoda rapping. The track starts with a syncopated drum beat accompanied by very dirty, distorted synth stabs before giving way to Shinoda's rapping, where he references Lauryn Hill's "Lost Ones", Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems", Big Daddy Kane's "Raw", Public Enemy's "My Uzi Weigh A Ton", Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 2: The Gift And The Curse", and Linkin Park's own song from Hybrid Theory, "Points of Authority". The wordless chorus of the song has the band doing gang vocals before Chester Bennington sings the bridge, accompanied by some subtle electronics and a light, melodic guitar line. The gang vocals also do the "hey! hey! hey! hey!" repeated chant throughout the song.

Brad speaks in Spanish near the end of the song, something that is continued from "Empty Spaces". He says, "Escuchénme preste atención, escuchénme ahora, escuchénme ahora, escuchénme todos, escuchénme ahora mismo", which roughly translates to, "Listen to me pay attention, listen to me now, listen to me now, listen to me all, listen to me right now." In the promotional videos for A Thousand Suns, Brad is seen trying a lot of different instruments and this was one of the results. At this time, he began experimenting with other sounds and playing very little guitar.

A part of the outro of the song was actually not done by the band, but instead of created by the winner of "The Catalyst" remix contest, NoBraiN, who was allowed to contribute one of the tracks on the album, with the options being either "When They Come For Me" or "Jornada Del Muerto". He was told that the parts he made didn't necessarily have to make the album, since the band already had an artistic vision for the tracks.[1] Ultimately, his contributions for "When They Come For Me" made the cut, and are present on the album. The official instrumental version of "When They Come For Me" contains an earlier version of the song without NoBrainN's contribution to the outro, which contains the repeated swirling sound as well as other programming. On Linkin Park's physical setlists on the A Thousand Suns World Tour, Mike had a handwritten note next to the song that said "NoBraiN Thing" to remind him to trigger those samples at the end of the track.

Being the album's most complex rhythmic track, the Pro Tools session for "When They Come For Me", comprised more than one hundred tracks and took more than a year and a half to complete.[2] At one time, the band considered making the track six or seven minutes long.

In 2015, after Mike Shinoda revived Fort Minor, he mentioned "When They Come For Me" as an example of a Linkin Park song that had a lot of Fort Minor elements.[3]

On September 14, 2020 while listening to the album on his stream, Mike said that ""When They Come For Me" was tough and eluded us for a little bit."[4]

Remix

A remix of "When They Come For Me" by Diplo was used in the game DJ Hero 2. The soundtrack was never officially released outside of the game, so the song received no official release.

Versions

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

Studio

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
When They Come For Me A Thousand Suns 4:55 2008-2010 September 8, 2010
  • Features NoBrain.
  • Contains references to Linkin Park's "Points Of Authority", Lauryn Hill's "Lost Ones", Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems (feat. Puff Daddy & Mase)", Big Daddy Kane's "Raw", Public Enemy's "My Uzi Weigh A Ton", and Jay-Z's The Blueprint 2: The Gift And The Curse.
  • Digital version is 04:53. The physical version contains additional 2 seconds of "silence" (very low noise).
When They Come For Me A Thousand Suns (Clean) 4:55 2008-2010 September 8, 2010
  • At the end of the song you can still hear Mike saying "motherfucker".
When They Come For Me A Thousand Suns Instrumentals 5:15 2008-2010
  • The CD dates from September 15, 2010.
  • With "Empty Spaces".
  • Different outro.
  • Without NoBraiN.
  • Official instrumental version.

Remix

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
When They Come For Me (Diplo Remix) DJ Hero 2: Linkin Park Mix Pack (DLC) 3:07 2008-2010 December 21, 2010
  • Remix by Diplo.
  • There was no official soundtrack release for the game.

Live

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
When They Come For Me (Live) Burning In The Skies (Digital Single) 5:21 February 04, 2011 March 21, 2011
Empty Spaces/When They Come For Me Live In Madrid 5:31 November 07, 2010 April 1, 2011
When They Come For Me (Live From Tel Aviv, 11-15-10) 2011 North American Tour EP 5:12 November 15, 2010 December 20, 2010
When They Come For Me Live In Red Square 5:20 June 23, 2011 July 21, 2011
  • With "Empty Spaces".
  • Released as a prize for the "Iridescent" "Super-Fun Trading Fun-Cards" game. After all six cards were collected, the person could enter the codes of each card at linkinpark.com to get a free download of the full show.
When They Come For Me (Live From Paris, 2010) A Thousand Suns - Live Around The World 5:06 October 25, 2010 June 19, 2012
  • With "Empty Spaces".

Live

Brad Delson has said that "When They Come For Me" is one of his favorite songs to perform live. He commented, "We have very eclectic arrangements that it’s almost impossible how to figure playing them live. It requires a lot of flexibility and ingenuity. A favorite track would have to be When They Come From Me because here I get to do drums, guitars and sing a little bit. It definitely is a challenge performing the songs every time."[5]

"When They Come For Me" was first performed at the second full show of the A Thousand Suns cycle at Buenos Aires. The song is always played after "Empty Spaces", as it appeared on the album. Throughout 2010, "When They Come For Me" didn't move around too much. In Sets A-1, A-3, and the one-off Madrid show, it was played after "Faint", and in Sets B, B-1, and B-9, it opened the encore with "Empty Spaces". During the 2011 North American tour, "When They Come For Me", along with "Empty Spaces" was played in all five setlists. Set A-1 had the song after "Faint", just like in 2010. Sets B-11, C-5, and C-6 all had the song after "What I've Done", usually being performed with a long intro with Mike playing a keyboard transition from "What I've Done" into "Empty Spaces, and Set B-13 had the song opening the encore with "Empty Spaces". It was also performed at the short, 3 song setlist for Saturday Night Live, being played after "Waiting For The End". "When They Come For Me" didn't move around much from the North American tour to the 2011 European and Asian tours. Sets A and B had the song after "What I've Done", Set C had the song opening the encore, Set D had the song after "New Divide", and Set E and the one-off Moscow setlist had the song after "Faint". This tour also brought about the only two shows where "When They Come For Me" was dropped on the entire A Thousand Suns cycle. At the Music For Relief benefit show, "Empty Spaces" and "When They Come For Me" were dropped in favor of "The Messenger", and the one-off setlist from Singapore didn't have the songs, either, presumably due to Chester's broken arm.

"When They Come For Me" returned for the Living Things touring cycle during the Honda Civic Tour, and for the rest of 2012. Set B had the song after "Somewhere I Belong", but was dropped at the Woodlands show for "In My Remains". Set C had "Empty Spaces" and "When They Come For Me" after "In My Remains". Once the band stopped playing Set C after Rio de Janeiro, "When They Come For Me" was dropped, and didn't return for the rest of the cycle.

"When They Come For Me" was performed once in January of 2014, at the headlining show in Las Vegas. It was played after "Lies Greed Misery". This was the last time the song was performed live. The band did rehearse "When They Come For Me" for the Carnivores Tour in summer of 2014, though. It did not make the setlist, though.

Part of the song returned once Mike brought back Fort Minor in 2015. Starting at the show in Los Angeles, the first verse of the song was played as a part of "Believe Me".

They full version of the song returned in 2018 when Mike began the Post Traumatic Tour. Initially, he performed a shortened version of the song, sampling Chester during the choruses and ending it before ending the track before the bridge. When Dan Mayo and Matt Harris joined the tour, the full version of the song returned, with Mike performing a guitar solo during the final chorus and outro.

Variations

Last Updated: September 10, 2016

Type Description First Played Last Played
Outro "No More Sorrow" Long Intro Tease January 20, 2011 January 20, 2011
Outro Short Synth Outro August 25, 2012 August 25, 2012

Mike Shinoda

Last Updated: August 26, 2018

Type Description First Played Last Played
Alternative Shortened (Intro/Verse 1/Chorus/Verse 2/Chorus) May 12, 2018 June 20, 2018

Personnel

Lyrics

In Other Media

  • A remix of "When They Come For Me" by Diplo is featured in the 2010 videogame DJ Hero 2.

External Links

References