One Step Closer

Album: Hybrid Theory (2000)
Charted: 24 75
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  • Lead singer Chester Bennington wrote this to express the anger he felt growing up. He didn't fit in well and got beat up a lot.

    Bennington wanted kids who hate themselves at times to know that he went through the same thing. He did not intend it as an excuse for self-pity or anger.
  • This was Linkin Park's debut single, which allowed the band to hear themselves on the radio for the first time. Guitarist Brad Delson told Kerrang he remembered they were driving through Arizona on their first tour bus and the song came on a local station that Bennington, a Phoenix native, used to listen to as a kid.
  • This song was made after the band had frustrations making "Runaway," another song on the album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    William - Indiana, IN
  • Hybrid Theory was the original name of the band. They used it as the name of the album, which was the best-selling album of 2001 in America with nearly 5 million copies sold.
  • Linkin Park performed this on the 2001 MTV Video Music awards with turntable group The X-ecutioners.
  • A version featuring Staind lead singer Aaron Lewis appears on the album Family Values Tour 2001.
  • On their 2002 album Reanimation, this was remixed by The Humble Brothers with vocals by Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis. The title was changed to "1Stp Klosr."
  • After 15-year-old Charles Andrew Williams killed two people and wounded 13 in a shooting spree at his school in Santee, California, the NBC show Dateline interviewed one of his friends, who claimed that Linkin Park's music inspired Williams to kill. This song was cited as one that encouraged Williams, with the lyrics, "Everything you say takes me one step closer to the edge and I'm about to break."
  • The vocals to "One Step Closer" were recorded in Mike Shinoda's flat one night while an angry neighbor hammered on the wall. He couldn't hear the actual music, just Chester Bennington screaming into the microphone.
  • Mike Shinoda in Kerrang! magazine January 26, 2008: "This was written in my apartment. The music came together quickly but the lyrics took a few tries. I wrote 'Shut Up' as a rough example for Chester to scream and we kept that lyric. I remember thinking that was a great calling-card song. It said, 'Hello, we are going to crush you.'"
  • Chester Bennington recalled to Kerrang! January 29, 2011 how the band were forced to fight for this song during the recording sessions for Hybrid Theory: "When we were recording it, (producer) Don Gilmore was really drilling me and Mike (Shinoda) about lyrics, and it had gotten to the point where we had rewritten some songs 30 times! I remember walking into the control room, handing Don the lyrics and he grabbed them, passed them in front of his face without even looking, handed them back to me, and told me to do it again. I lost my f---ing mind, thinking, 'This guy's a f---ing maniac!' But that kind of inspired the lyrics - 'I cannot take this anymore/I'm saying everything I've said before/ All these words make no sense,' and the chorus, 'Everything you say to me takes me one step closer to the edge.' - it all came from that frustration. So I guess in the end he inspired me the way he wanted to."
  • The concept for the music video was thought up by the band's Joe Hahn. Originally it was going to be a live performance of the song with fans getting carried away. Instead, Linkin Park ended up filming the visual 63 feet underground in an abandoned subway tunnel in Los Angeles. The clip costars a locally famous artist, Tony Acosta, who goes by the moniker "TonyMech."
  • Delson was so used to the live version of the song that he forgot what the studio version sounded like and was pleasantly surprised when he revisited it. "I think about this song as being so heavy because it has so much power live," he told Kerrang in 2020. "And what I love about the actual song, the recording on Hybrid Theory, is it's not just heavy. It's electronic, it's super melodic sounding, there's an alternative quality to the vocal performance. It's just a beautiful song, and that riff is certainly, it's probably the riff that I love the most that I've kind of just channeled. And while it's the intro of the song, it really serves as the backbone of that song, that very syncopated riff."
  • Delson says even well-known professional guitarists have trouble replicated the riff, not because it's technically hard to play but because "it's all feel."

Comments: 39

  • Luna Loud from Royal Woods, MichiganTo Evilkittenproductions from Europe:

    That's pretty much how all music is made nowadays. The only thing that really matters to me is, 'CAN THE BAND PERFORM IT LIVE?'
    And the answer was, YES! Definitely, yes!

    LP kicked ass live, unlike a lot of these over-processed, auto-tuned goons of the last decade or so. Chester and his bandmates put their heart and soul into every live performance they did. Watch them on YouTube if you need proof.

    And yes, they were very much a studio band as well. Records like Reanimation and Collision Course with Jay-Z and their success showed that. Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn were the real stars in the studio. They and their band and producer put a lot of time and hard work into making and perfecting their songs. They definitely didn't have the budget for Hybrid Theory that they would have for later records because they were just starting out. It might have been cheaper to record the songs live or mostly live in the studio, so I guess you might have a point there, but I think that would go against the vibe that they were aiming for.

    Anyways, I'm done with my rant now. LP was awesome, R.I.P. Chester, and GO WATCH THEM LIVE!

  • Evilkittenproductions from EuropeI'd like to add 2 things to the facts:
    1. All repeating lyrics were only sang once, then were just copy and pasted.
    The line "Everything you say to me" appears 5 times.
    Chester only sang it the 1st time. The 2nd, 4th and 5th are just copied and pasted from that.
    The 3rd time is the exception, which is another real take.
    The same goes for the line "I need a little room to breathe".

    The line "Just like before" appears 2 times, and is doubled.
    It was only recorded once in both tracks and pasted the second time.

    The layered hook lines "Takes me one step closer to the edge, and I'm about to break" and "'cause I'm one step closer to the edge, I'm about to break"
    are partly copied and patched together quite badly from many different takes and also quantized to fit together.
    The lower harmony is just a pitched copy of a regular take.

    2. There are 5 guitar tracks, 1 of them contains the intro riff and the short band-limited part before choruses.
    The intro riff is only played once. The second time it comes around, you guessed it, it's just a pasted copy of the first time.
    Same goes for the band-limited part.
    The other 4 are just the same part quadruple tracked with 2 distinct tone differences. Or 1 take reamped 4 times with different amps (or settings) and effects, it's hard to tell with the high gain.

    Also the drums are quite sample "enhanced".
    In conclusion, it's quite the amateurishly/lazily made song.
    It's amazing how this song is pretty much a quickly hacked together project, compared to the success it got them and how good the end result sounds.
  • Natalie from Lorena, TxI love love love this song. I remember being in the seventh grade and our English teacher went around asking all of us 12/13 year old's, "What is your favorite lyric of all time?" Me being me, he comes to me and I go, "Chester screaming shut up when I'm talking to you!!" That's when everyone related that lyric to me being some scary kid, and I'm not, I just love the life that lyric has in it. He screams it, he genuinely uses all he has to just scream it out. It sounds like he is just so fed up, he is so ready to get it all out. And sometimes I really want to be able to do the same. Imagine hearing yourself scream with all your heart on the radio, and remembering how enveloped you were with that feeling. Imagine being on a stage and being able to scream out that feeling, and everyone in the audience understands perfectly well that you are going all out. Chester and Mike really are something amazing when it comes to their lyrics and vocals.
    April 16, 2021
    Age: 15
  • River from Gloucester, Vathis song is literally my life, my parents seem to never listen to a single word i say, and it does get annoying
    Although if it's about the producer's stuff, that's insane
    But I think it was probably first made to be a sort of song for teen angst and some was added on.
  • John from Chester, VaIt's so ignorant when people hate on artists for being moody and quote un quote "complaining or whining" in their music. The lyrics of a song aren't necessarily about the writer's own life, he's trying to relate to their audience.
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjI remember listening to the radio around the time when this song first came out and the band weren't very well known and they were advertising this album and there was a snippet of an interview describing this song and Chester (I think) was saying somehting along the lines of, "We were at the point where we were just fed up with our social lives and we just had to try to find a way to express ourselves," so yeah, it could very well be about not fitting in at school, although they were probably just writing about the frustration of the producer making them write the song over and over again and went back and saw that the lyrics were relatable to being picked on.

    By the way, does anyone know what the line, "I find bliss in ignorance," could pertain to?
  • Snow from ..., NyStory of my life. All those little things everyone does without even thinking about it... it's taking me one step closer to the edge and I'm about to BREAK
    There's no better way to describe it than just listening to this song.
  • [p3yt0n} from Somewhere, InI remember thinking that was a great calling-card song. It said, 'Hello, we are going to crush you.'"

    HAHAHAH. best line ever!!
  • Sanya from Shelbyville, Uzbekistancan somebody plz tell me the name of the movie this song is in its about angry teens or something like that an there in an institution an they lock there self in the meal room an this song comes on an the start flipping over chairs an stuff it awesome
  • Azalea from Hot Springs, ArIn my perspective, this song is about teens dealing with their parents and how what the parents argue with their kids about gets on their last nerve and pushes them closer to the edge. It really reminds me of how I feel when my mom tells me about how wrong I am all the time and I just want her to shut up.
  • Taylor from G-ville, Ohoddly enough this is the song i listen to when i REALLY need to calm down
  • Aless from Houston, TxMy God, I want to scream this at my parents sometimes...
  • Elmer from Zamboanga, Philippinesmikey ur ryt.....y is dat charles andrew williams so famous in here??
  • Josh from Grasonville, MdWow, song of my life.
  • Naanoo from Kuwait, Kuwaitthe song is about anger, i dont have any problems but when i listen to this song i feel so angry i dont know why, maybe because the lyrics is pretty good, and when chester shouts (wow amazing)
  • Amy from Nunyabiz, Alperfect song for teen angst. lol.
  • Alex from Kinnelon, Nji like this song. i feel like that alot of the time.
  • Daniel from Ada, OkThe remix of this song is good because the lead singer of KoRn ( Jonathon Davis ) sings in it. I saw linkin park on a MTV show that interviews singers and bands. I can't remember who it was, but some guy stated this song is simply about Chester's home life and how much trouble he had with it. I'm sorry to say that that has nothing to do with getting beat up and cetaintly has nothing to do with not fitting in. So in my opinion this song is about how your parents never want to listen to what you have to say. They think they know everything. "Shut up when I'm talking to you." So you get very angry and frustrated and you feel like you're about to explode. "I'm about to break." I pretty much agree with all of the above comments except for the very first one that's suppose to be a true song fact. So, what do yo'l think of the lyrics to the verse of the remix to this song that KoRn's Jonathon Davis sings?
  • Mikey from Galesburg, IlThis song really explains what I've been going through for the past 2 years. Have you guys ever noticed that Linkin park has a way of reaching out to teens? It's like they know what we are going through.
  • Jake from Houston, TxKieran, Reanimation was the best, if not their only good album.

    Live in Texas' version was better mainy for the fact that they used both the remixed and regular version combined.

    And Aaron Lewis of Staind sung in the remixed version of Crawling, dunno about live stuff.
  • Kayla from Rancho Cucamonga, Cai love this song. it opened the doors for lp and that alone is effin awesome!
  • Jon from Small Town, IcelandUsually Linkin Park writes lyrics that have deep meanings, but this one is an exception. This song, like some smart people have pointed out, was basically written out of frustration with lack of progress of writing another song, Runaway. This one does not have any deeper meaning, it's just frustration in its purest form. "I cannot take this anymore" Get my point?
    Aside from all that, I just want to say that the lyrics of the bridge, "SHUT UP!", are the best lyrics ever written, especially being screamed like that. Can't begin to tell you how much I love it.
  • Shaun from Chandler, Azthis may sound weird, but listening to this song really helps me with my anger management issues
  • Mercedes from Portland Yah!, OrIts About Bullies Who Are Mean And Push Someone Soo Far They Just Explode They Cant Take It Anymore And They Do Something Stupid....I Love This Cd It Is My Ultimate Fav I Would Give Anything to Meet The Band Seriously.....
  • Taylor from Ofallon, IlMichael,
    They are not angry to be angry, they are xpressing their thoughts and feelings which in their case happen to be anger and SADNESS. thats right sadness. WE have all been through tough times, some of us worse than others. If you say you haven't your lying. they help kids to put words to the emotions they feel inside. I find it very helpful to listen to them when i am depressed or hurt which happens very frequently. they are like having a friend to sympathize with you. thats what they are, a sympathizing friend. They are a band that has experienced the hard parts of life. And what does 'Spengy" Mean anyway?
  • Abbey from Essex, EnglandThis song was actually a by-product of Runaway. The guys were having real problems writing it, so they wrote One Step Closer about the frustration of not being able to say what they felt. Abbey, Essex (England)
  • Dude from Tx, TxThe Humble Brothers reinterpretation was actually a remix made before Reanimation was compiled. Linkin Park put Korn's singer in the track to fix it up for Reanimation.
  • Michael from Sutton Coldfield, Englandthis song is embarassing marketed angst which is just angry for the sake of been angry, which doesn't take a song all, the whole of LP are spengy.
  • Rebecca from Peoria, Azwow i just love this song its my anger anthem i just listen to it when i get angry and it works very well with that just to chill and clam down
    so i just love this song.
  • Rossana from Long Beach, Cai love chester and linkin park
  • Gabe from Utica, NyThis song rocks! I love the bridge in this song. The video is kinda weird but it's ok. This song is about someone who's just frustrated with another person and how he's warning that other person you'd better stop if you still want your voice. This is one of the many LP songs that can help convince people to stand up for themselves.
  • Heather from Plattsburgh, Nythis song is great as is... remixing tends to do songs great injustices!
  • Heather from Plattsburgh, Nythis song was GREAT as is... remixing sucks (for the most part)
  • Anonymousthis song rocks big time i love the way they did the music video also and the band did very well on the song anyone who says didfent is not much a of linkin park fan just a not a linkin park freak like me.
  • The Jorge from Hell, OtherThis is good music for when you're up 4 in the morning, getting caffeinated from 7 or 8 cans of Pepsi, playing Tony Hawk, and carving things into the arm of your chair.
  • Natz from Brisbane, AustraliaThe version that i like the most is off live in texas. for the reason that it is live. but the one off hybrid theory is good to cos chester is still screaming a long note when he starts the next line thats what i like a good screamer go LP u rock!
  • Darbey from Mount Vernon, OhThe part when hes yellin SHUT UP wasn't supposed to be in the song when he went in the studio he was really frustrated so they let him at it and he ripped that part. Its a really good part in the song too, kinda like it was supposed to be in there
  • Zac from Drexel, MoThis song is about how every little thing people do in ignorance(such as make fun) is pushing him over the edge and he is about to explode
  • Sarah from Morganville, NjThis is a great song if you just need to blow off steam. ;)

    The remixed version on "Reanimation" is AMAZING.
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