Breaking the Habit

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"Breaking the Habit"
Single by Linkin Park
from the album Meteora
B-side "Crawling" (Live)
Released June 14, 2004
Genre Electronic rock, alternative rock
Length 3:16
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Linkin Park1
Producer(s) Don Gilmore, Linkin Park
Linkin Park singles chronology
"From the Inside"
"Breaking the Habit"
Meteora track listing
"Breaking the Habit"
"From the Inside"
Meteora track listing
Music video
"Breaking the Habit" on YouTube

"Breaking the Habit" is a song by American rock band Linkin Park. It was written for Chester Bennington since he had issues with narcotics (by Mike Shinoda). It is the ninth track from their second studio album Meteora and was released as the fifth and final single from the album. It became the fifth consecutive single from Meteora to reach #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, a feat unmatched by any other artist in the history of that chart. It was also the third single from the album to reach #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was a hit, peaking at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. On September 4, 2012, "Breaking the Habit", "Shadow of the Day", "New Divide", and "Burn It Down" were released in the "Linkin Park Pack 02" as downloadable content for the music rhythm video game, Rock Band 3.[1]


"Breaking the Habit" features a strong electronica-influenced opening, live strings and guitar. It is an exception from their previous nu metal/rap rock performances as no distorted guitar riffs are included nor are there any rapping vocals from Mike Shinoda, a style they would further explore on their later albums.

A common misconception about the song is that it was written by lead singer Chester Bennington due to his struggles with substance abuse. In fact, band member Mike Shinoda began writing the song before he met Bennington based on another close friend's drug addiction.

In the album notes, it was said that the song was originally going to be an instrumental track lasting a little over three and a half minutes, but Shinoda was convinced by the band to change it. The instrumental was later released on the Underground 9.0 Fan Club as a demo track entitled "Drawing".

Mike had a lyrical idea of an emotion he had been trying to express for 5 to 6 years before the production of Meteora. To him, the lyrics had sounded wrong until listening to the "Drawing" demo one night and they fell together. He showed the lyrics he wrote to Chester who read them and teared up, relating to the words to a point where he had difficulty performing the song live for almost a year after the release of Meteora.

An original Mike 2002 demo of this song with different lyrics and Mike Shinoda on the lead vocals appears on LP Underground XIV.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Breaking the Habit" was animated by Studio Gonzo,[2] it was directed by Joe Hahn and co-produced by Eric Calderon. It uses an anime-stylization which was supervised by Kazuto Nakazawa, who had previously directed the animated segment of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1 among other things.[3][4] The video was shot of the band performing the song and was later rotoscoped.[5][6] The video has gone on to be a favorite amongst MTV viewers, going as far as winning the 2004 MTV VMA Viewer's Choice Award.

As the video begins, a deceased man is shown lying on a car's roof. The surrounding area has been taped off and is littered with investigating police officers as well as onlookers. The video cuts to another character, a girl who breaks a mirror, then writes "I'm nothing" onto a sheet of paper. She then picks up a shard of broken glass, clenches it in her hand, and smears her blood on the note. Throughout the different scenes, a wisp of smoke meanders around the characters as their stories play out, and the human face of Chester Bennington singing the song flashes various times. Another character is a young woman throwing tomatoes at a man. At a point, the ubiquitous smoke drifts over the deceased man's body and enters his mouth, and the video begins to seemingly rewind itself, the woman throwing tomatoes at the man who is her husband or boyfriend, is shown coming home to see the man with another woman in bed suggesting they just had sex. The body of the deceased man begins to rise, falling in reverse, towards the roof of a tall building. It is revealed that the body is that of Chester, who had apparently fallen to his death. Upon landing on the roof, he joins with the rest of the band in performing the remainder of the song.

There is also a second music video, entitled "Breaking the Habit (5.28.04 3:37 PM)", showing the band in their studio performing the song. The video was directed by Kimo Proudfoot and is available on the Breaking the Habit DVD.[7][8]


The video for "Breaking the Habit" is available on iTunes, along with a live video version of the video. The live video was taken from the Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes DVD concert.[9][10][11]

Live performances[edit]

"Breaking the Habit" was not initially performed in the tour for Meteora, until it received a full performance on November 15, 2003 in San Bernardino. Since then, it has found itself in the majority of their concerts. From its debut up until the end of the tour cycle for the band's 3rd album, Minutes to Midnight, "Breaking the Habit" was played with a piano intro, where the first verse and chorus were played, and after that, the actual song would start. "Breaking the Habit" is also sometimes played live with an extended outro consisting of an a cappella performance of the chorus. After Linkin Park's 'Concert for the Philippines' on January 11, 2014, "Breaking the Habit" was dropped from the band's setlist. It would not be played live again until May 17, 2015, at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Linkin Park. 

No. Title Length
1. "Breaking the Habit"   3:16
2. "Crawling" (Live) 3:30
3. "Breaking the Habit" (Video) 3:16

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 23
Austrian Singles Chart 43
Dutch Top 40 19
France Singles Chart 27
German Singles Chart 25
Ireland Singles Chart 46
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 27
Polish Singles Chart[12] 1
Swiss Singles Chart 56
UK Singles Chart 39
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 20
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 15
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks 25
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Year-End 79
Preceded by
"Just Like You" by Three Days Grace
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
August 28, 2004 — September 18, 2004
Succeeded by
"American Idiot" by Green Day
Preceded by
"Just Like You" by Three Days Grace
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
September 11, 2004 — September 25, 2004
Succeeded by
"Fall to Pieces" by Velvet Revolver


Linkin Park


1.^ Band member Mike Shinoda began writing the song before he met Bennington based on another close friend's drug addiction.


  1. ^ Harmonix (August 31, 2012). "Four Linkin Park Hits Come To The Rock Band Music Store!". Harmonix Music Systems. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917. Stone Bridge Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-933330-10-5. 
  3. ^ Steve Hochman: Anime finds its match in Linkin Park, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2004
  4. ^ Jeffrey Rotter: MUSIC VIDEO; Faith, Hope And Anime, The New York Times, May 30, 2004
  5. ^ J.C. Maçek III (2012-08-02). "'American Pop'... Matters: Ron Thompson, the Illustrated Man Unsung". PopMatters. 
  6. ^ Jon Wiederhorn: Linkin Park Avoid Bodily Harm In New Video By Using Anime Stand-Ins,, May 17, 2004
  7. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Official Video) on Youtube".  from Linkin Park's Youtube Channel
  8. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Official Video) on Youtube".  from the Warner Bros. Records
  9. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Live at Milton Keynes) on Youtube".  From the Warner Bros. Records Youtube Channel
  10. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Live at Milton Keynes) on Youtube".  From Linkin Park's Youtube Channel
  11. ^ "Breaking the Habit (5.28.04 3:37 PM) on Youtube".  From ShinikLP's Youtube Channel
  12. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 

External links[edit]