Blackbirds

From Linkinpedia
"Blackbirds"
Song by Linkin Park
from the album 8-Bit Rebellion!
Recorded:2007
Released:April 26, 2010
Format:Digital
Length:03:21
Time signature:4/4
Tempo:105
Key:F Major
Writer:Linkin Park
Producer:Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin
Label:Warner Bros.

"Blackbirds" is a song found on 8-Bit Rebellion!. It was set to be released as a digital single on May 25, 2010 on United Kingdom and June 15, 2010 on United States, but it was cancelled for an unknown reason. Instead, the song was added to the iTunes version of A Thousand Suns as a bonus track. Despite not being released as a single, the song received radio airplay in various countries.[1]

Background

"Blackbirds" is one of the seventeen songs recorded for Minutes To Midnight in 2006-2007 and is one of the five songs that did not make the album, along with "No Roads Left", "Across The Line", "What We Don't Know", and another unknown fifth song.

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.

The song was first heard by fans in the The Making Of Minutes To Midnight DVD, where a short clip is shown of Brad observing David Campbell recording strings for "Blackbirds."[2] At the time of the album's release, the band said six songs had strings recorded for them. Four made the album and the fifth was "No Roads Left" (the iTunes edition bonus track). Due to the sixth one being unknown at the time, fans referred to "Blackbirds" originally as the "Sixth String Song" due to the clip in the DVD.

"Blackbirds" ended up being released almost three years after Minutes To Midnight came out, on April 26, 2010 on Linkin Park's 8-Bit Rebellion! game. To get the song, users had to beat the game and make it to the end, unlocking "Blackbirds". Linkin Park also included "Blackbirds" with the A Thousand Suns release on iTunes as a bonus track even though it was from the Minutes To Midnight album sessions. Mike gave the first indication of this iTunes release in an April 7, 2010 LPU chat when he said, "Blackbirds will probably be on iTunes a little while after the game has been out."[3]

In the 8-Bit Rebellion! press release, Mike said, "We really liked the song and thought this would be a unique way to give it to our fans."[4] He went on to tell MTV News in April 2010, "When you finish the game, you get access to "Blackbirds" which is a brand new Linkin Park song that we basically finished specifically to this game. So it's exclusive to the game. It's not gonna be on an album, it's not gonna be on anything else."[5] He added in an LPU chat, "Blackbirds is exclusive to the game. Not on album, not in LPU, etc"[6]

Mike's statement about the song suggests the track was worked on at some point between 2007 and 2010 to finalize it for release like other Linkin Park songs, such as "Not Alone" and "The Last Line". It is not uncommon for Linkin Park to "polish" a song or make small changes to it before its release, especially if it was recorded years prior.

When he posted about the song on his blog on April 28, 2010, Mike said, "Sorry, I forgot to add the most “mysterious” part: the intro rap verse. That was a demo / freestyle session that was the template for the bridge. Lyrically, this is what some of my demo rap stuff sounds like–it kinda makes sense, kinda doesn’t…thought it would be a cool way to open up the song."[7]

Music Video

"Blackbirds" is unlocked on 8-Bit Rebellion! after you finish the game. The song is played along with a slideshow of pictures of Linkin Park on studio during the A Thousand Suns sessions, some of which are exclusive to the video.

The video (named "blackBirdMV_3.m4v" inside the game's folder) was never made available outside the game.

Versions

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

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Blackbirds 8-Bit Rebellion!

A Thousand Suns (iTunes)

3:21 2007 April 26, 2010
  • The song is unlocked in MP3 128kbps on 8-Bit Rebellion! after you finish the game.
  • Listed as "Blackbirds (Non-Album Track From The 8-Bit Rebellion! App)" on the initial iTunes version of A Thousand Suns.

Live

"Blackbirds" has never been performed live in any form.

When asked in the April 7, 2010 LPU chat if Linkin Park would play the song live, Mike answered, "Blackbirds in concert? not sure"[8]

Personnel

Linkin Park

  • Chester Bennington: vocals
  • Rob Bourdon: drums
  • Brad Delson: guitar
  • Joseph Hahn: records, sampling
  • Phoenix: bass
  • Mike Shinoda: emcee, vocals, sampling

Production

  • Produced by Rick Rubin & Mike Shinoda
  • Mixed by Neal Avron
  • Mastered by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner

Lyrics

Album Version

Drop like / get up
Take to the streets / better lock that kid up
Face full of teeth when he hock that spit up
Pacing the beat like a beast
Rocking the block on repeat
Speak from the cut like a rush of blood
Paint red on the sleeves of the ones you love
Lay the sick ones down and the bells will ring
Put pennies on the eyes let the dead men sing
 
I shiver and shake the warm air cold
I'm alone on my own
In every mistake I dig this hole
Through my skin and bones
 
It's harder starting over
Than never to have changed
 
With blackbirds following me (Oh, oh, oh)
I'm digging out my grave (Oh, oh, oh)
They close in, swallowing me (Oh, oh, oh)
The pain, it comes in waves (Oh, oh, oh)
I'm getting back what I gave (Oh)
 
I sweat through the sheet as daylight fades
As I waste away
It traps me inside mistakes I've made
That's the price I pay
 
It's harder starting over
Than never to have changed
 
With blackbirds following me
I'm digging out my grave
They close in, swallowing me
The pain, it comes in waves (Yeah)
I'm getting back what I gave
 
I drop to the floor like I did before
Stop watching / I'm coughing / I can't be more
What I want and what I need are at constant war
Like a well full of poison / a rotten core
The blood goes thin / the fever stings
And I shake from the hell that the habits bring
Let the sick ones down / the bells will ring
Put pennies on the eyes / let the dead men sing
 
Blackbirds following me
I'm digging out my grave
They close in, swallowing me
The pain, it comes in waves
I'm getting back what I gave (What I gave)
I'm getting back what I gave (What I gave, oh, oh)
I'm getting back what I gave

In Other Media

External Links

References