"What I've Done"
"What I've Done" cover
Song by Linkin Park
from the album Minutes to Midnight
Released Digital
USA - April 2, 2007
UK, Australia - April 3,
Format CD single
Recorded Los Angeles, California
Genre Rock
Alternative Rock
  • 3:25 (Album Version)
  • 3:28 (iTunes Version)
  • 3:29 (Radio Edit)
Label Warner Bros. Records
Writer Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington, Linkin Park
Producer Rick Rubin
Mike Shinoda
"Linkin Park singles chronology
"Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You"
"What I've Done"
"Bleed It Out"

"What I've Done" is the lead single from Linkin Park's third album Minutes to Midnight, and is the band's highest debut on the US Hot 100. It had its first radio play on April 1, 2007, and was digitally released on April 2, 2007. The CD Single was released on April 30 2007.

Background information[edit | edit source]

Chester Bennington described the track in a March 2007 interview with MTV:

"Joe [Hahn] came up to Mike and me and asked us to take the whole idea of Minutes to Midnight and apply that to how the band has changed. So, in a way, it's us saying goodbye to how we used to be...The lyrics in the first verse are 'In this farewell, there's no blood, there's no alibi,' and right away, you'll notice that the band sounds different: The drums are much more raw, the guitars are more raw and the vocals aren't tripled. It's just us out there ... and that's how Rick [Rubin] wanted it.

The single and video appeared in the iTunes Store shortly after midnight EST on April 2, 2007.[3] It became available the day after on iTunes in the UK and Australia. On April 2nd, the song was featured streaming on the front page of their official website, with the video being added to the site shortly thereafter.

The song starts out with a Halloween-style piano intro, before going into a raw guitar sound. During live events, Mike Shinoda plays the piano intro and the guitar after that. This song differs from most of Linkin Park's previously released songs (except "Breaking the Habit") in that it features almost no lead vocals from vocalist Mike Shinoda, save for a brief "na na na" refrain at the end and contributing harmonies throughout. "What I've Done" was the last song written for Minutes to Midnight.[4] Unlike any other song that the band had previously done, it was written in G minor. The song also has a downbeat exactly once every second, consistent throughout its entirety.

It is featured during the film Transformers, leading in to the end credits, included on the official soundtrack and used heavily in the film's ad campaign. Megan Fox revealed that when the band first heard about the movie, they asked to be on the soundtrack.[5].

A remix is available on the Bleed It Out single entitled What I've Done (Distorted Remix).

Music video[edit | edit source]

The Music Video for "What I've Done" starts off with grass sinking down into the dirt explores the many ironies of humanity and its ill effects on the earth and the environment. It features clips of a well fed man eating fast food, a woman measuring her waist and a man who is so malnourished that his ribcage is visible through his skin, clips of African Americans being hosed down and the Klu-Klux-Klan, clips of nuclear explosions and the World Trade Center towers collapsing, clips of children waving American flags and a Middle Eastern child holding an AK-47, and clips of oil tankers torn in half and birds covered in an oil slick. DJ Joe Hahn of the band directed the video for the single, which was shot in the California desert.

The video premiered on April 2, 2007 on MTV and Fuse. It premiered on MTV-Asia, MTV-Germany, TMF Netherlands and Canada's MuchMusic on April 3, 2007. It features footage of the band performing in the desert, interspersed with stock footage reflecting on a variety of social and environmental issues including pollution, global warming, racism, Nazism, gay rights, famine, terrorism, wars, deforestation, poverty, drug addiction, abortion, obesity, destruction, rising gasoline prices and crimes committed by humanity. The video also features short views of important historical figures, such as Mother Teresa, Buddha, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Mahatma Gandhi. Some cut scenes like the traffic scene and the napalm exploding were also featured on the Rise Against music video for Ready To Fall. The video is available for public viewing via the band's YouTube Account. The video clip was featured and won on MTV's Battle of the Videos against videos by Evanescence ("Sweet Sacrifice") and Lil' Mama ("Lip Gloss"). The video also marks the first appearance of a Linkin Park video in the #1 spot on MTV's TRL, hitting #1 six times so far. The video is among the all-time top 20 most viewed on YouTube with over 25 million views.

When the band's logo is shown for the first time in the video (on the front of Rob's bass drum), it features a complete circle with the stylized letters "LP" within it. However, every time the logo is shown after this, the circle is not complete, being "separated" by two blank spaces above the "L" and below the "P". This is explained in "Making of What I've Done", where the band shows the original drums that were wrongly made, and that they had to use black tape to make the breaks in the circle.

So far, this is the only video in which Joe Hahn's face is not focused on, although some parts shown his hands on the turntables. It is also interesting to note that the jacket that Chester Bennington wore in the music video is the exact same one as the one Ryan Key of Yellowcard wore in the music video for "Rough Landing, Holly".


Linkin Park - What I've Done

Alternative music video[edit | edit source]

A second video, made exclusively for Australia, features a completely different scenario from the first; instead of clips of human sin, the video tells the story of a woman working at a government-run pharmaceutical company learning of a plan to develop a new virus for "social control", and - with the help of several people dressed in black hooded sweatshirts with Linkin Park's logo on them - smuggles out several blood samples of a human test subject of the virus to expose the conspiracy. At current, the video is no longer beingfound on YouTube or anywhere else on the web.

Notable clips from the video[edit | edit source]

  • Adolf Hitler
  • a Bald Eagle
  • a Penguin
  • a Scorpion
  • a Polar Bear
  • Obesity
  • An Anorexic woman
  • Genetic engineering
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Abortions
  • Parthenon
  • Buddha
  • Government-controlled societies (Fascist-Nazi-Militarist)
  • Nationalism (particularly Americanism)
  • Fidel Castro
  • Palestinian child (holding an AK-47)
  • Citizens of the world's least developed countries
  • A 1960s civil rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Acropolis
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Auschwitz concentration camp
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Robert F. Kennedy
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Sultan Ahmed Mosque
  • Benito Mussolini
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Oklahoma City Bombing
  • Pollution
  • Global Warming
  • Deforestation
  • Desertification
  • Poaching (Ivory)
  • September 11 terror attacks
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Mother Teresa
  • Vitruvian Man
  • Mao Zedong
  • Stonehenge
  • The Trinity Test mushroom cloud
  • other Atomic weapons testings
  • The Vietnam War
  • The Second Gulf War
  • Drug abuse
  • Ethnically diverse children with American Flags (Brad Delson)

Chart performance[edit | edit source]

The song made big debuts on the US charts during the chart week of April 21, 2007. The song debuted in the top 10 of the US Hot 100, at #7. It is by far the band's highest debut to date on the chart (this title was previously held by "Somewhere I Belong" which opened at #47), earning "Hot Shot" debut of the week, and subsequently becoming the second highest position for a Linkin Park single to date on the Hot 100. At the time of its debut it was only the eleventh song since 2000 to debut at #7 or higher on the Hot 100, and only the third song to do so by an artist not from American Idol. The song was partly fueled by digital sales, debuting at #4 on the digital chart.

In addition the song became only the third song ever to open at #1 on the Modern Rock chart, also becoming the band's seventh number one on the chart. It held the #1 spot on Modern Rock Tracks for 15 consecutive weeks, tying it with "Sex and Candy", as the second longest running #1 in that charts history. In the iTunes music store the song had reached number two. It was kept out of the top spot by "Give It To Me" by Timbaland. The music video is the first to reach the number 1 spot on TRL for Linkin Park video history. It has also become a moderate hit on the Adult Top 40, and Pop 100 Airplay charts, so far peaking at number 22 and 24 respectively on those charts.

In the rest of the world the song has been their most successful overall, reaching the top ten in over twenty countries including Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland, and New Zealand to name a few. In the UK the song hit #6 once the physical format was released, making it Linkin Park's highest-charting UK single. The song was highly successful in China as well, where it became their first number one there. It is their best charting single on the United World Chart, where it peaked at #4. Statistically speaking, this is Linkin Park's biggest song to date.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

In this farewell
There's no blood
There's no alibi
'Cause I've drawn regret
From the truth
Of a thousand lies

So let mercy come
And wash away...

What I've done
I'll face myself
To cross out what I've become
Erase myself
And let go of what I've done

Put to rest
What you thought of me
While I clean this slate
With the hands
Of uncertainty

So let mercy come
And wash away...

What I've done
I'll face myself
To cross out what I've become
Erase myself
And let go of what I've done

For What I've done

I'll start again
And whatever pain may come
Today this ends
I'm forgiving what I've done

I'll face myself
To cross out what I've become
Erase myself
And let go of what I've done


What I've done


Forgiving what I've done


Bang Three (demo)[edit | edit source]

Bang Three is the demo for what I've done, released on the LP Underground 11 CD. It is an instrumental.

LPU 11 with Mike Shinoda[edit | edit source]

"This was the original demo for 'What I've Done.' I had forgotten how different this bridge treatment was from the bridge solo we ended up at. This chord progression might have sounded cool with vocals, but we wanted to do a guitar solo, so we ended up changing the chords."

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