The song about finding faults in yourself and getting nervous wanting to change them.
“Crawling” is a song from the Linkin Park’s debut album “Hybrid Theory,” released in 2000.
One of the first songs the band worked on with Chester Bennington was a song called “Blue.” The band didn’t like the song, but they thought there was something exceptional about the vocal at the end of it. Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda took the melody and wrote new words to it. Chester recorded the vocal track, Mike wrote the guitar under it, and then they took it into the studio, where other band members could work on it. The song became “Crawling.”
Brad Delson admitted, that Chester’s vocals highly expanded band’s writing ability:
What happened when Chester joined the group, we moved from “Hey, these are the kind of singing parts we want,” to “Wow, these are singing parts that we never even thought of,” because his range and versatility are such that, like ‘Crawling,’ who would think to write that melody? You couldn’t because there are very few people in the world that could probably sing that. So that’s an example of when I say he really expanded our writing ability in the sense that he has such a range vocally. He really was kind of the final piece of the puzzle, and he brings vocal talent that, when we were looking for a second vocalist, we didn’t see anything close to his talent in anybody else.
Mike Shinoda said that the music on “Crawling” was heavily influenced by Depeche Mode.
Chester Bennington explained the meaning of the song on June 13, 2001:
“In a song like ‘Crawling,’ we are talking about self-consciousness or the lack of self-confidence. That’s a big part of that song because when you get into those situations with a lot of people looking at you, you find faults in yourself and you get nervous and want to change them. Things like that are really charged topics to be talking about, and when we started to write lyrics we found ourselves energized and interested in writing these songs and going after them with a lot of intensity. Sitting in front of a computer thinking about the crap you did before you go to bed, that you thought you could have done better – that will freak you out sometimes.”
Chester Bennington described the songwriting process to Rolling Stone in early 2002:
“It’s easy to fall into that thing — ‘poor, poor me’, that’s where songs like ‘Crawling’ come from: I can’t take myself. But that song is about taking responsibility for your actions. I don’t say ‘you’ at any point. It’s about how I’m the reason that I feel this way. There’s something inside me that pulls me down.”
He also explained in 2009 interview, that this song “is about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol. That feeling, being able to write about it, sing about it, that song, those words sold millions of records, I won a Grammy, I made a lot of money.” He added, “It’s not cool to be an alcoholic — it’s not cool to go drink and be a dumbass. It’s cool to be a part of recovery. This is just who I am, this is what I write about, what I do, and most of my work has been a reflection of what I’ve been going through in one way or another.”
Chester also claimed that this song was one of the hardest to perform live due to his own personal experience similar to the problems described in the song.
This song won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2002.
Official music video
The video was directed by Brothers Greg and Colin Strause (self-titled as the Brothers Strause). It portrays an inner conflict of a young woman (played by model and actress Katelyn Rosaasen), who is suffering from abusive relationships. The video represents the special effects of crystals forming around her, symbolizing closing off from the outer world. By the end, the crystals fall and decrease, symbolizing her success in overcoming her problems.
“Crawling” was Dave “Phoenix” Farrell’s first video with the band. He returned to Linkin Park just before they began work on this video.
Katelyn Rosaasen also appeared in music videos of The Offspring, Saliva, and NSYNC, but she admitted that “Crawling” is her favorite one.
This video originally was supposed to have a “darker” ending but Warner Brothers rejected the idea, and both the band and their recording company found a compromise. Colin Strause also revealed, that he and his brother initially had the idea of the music video, which was a take on Species movie, where a psycho fan kills the band.
A Thank you to Ultimate-guitar.com for the feature.