"Forgotten" as written by Mike Shinoda, Mark Wakefield, Brad Delson, Chester Charles Bennington, Joseph Hahn, Robert G. Bourdon and Dave Farrell....
From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture is there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care
From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture is there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care

There's a place so dark you can't see the end
(Skies cock back) and shock that which can't defend
The rain then sends dripping acidic questions
Forcefully, the power of suggestion
Then with the eyes shut looking thought the rust and rotten dust
A spot of light floods the floor
And pours over the rusted world of pretend
And the eyes ease open and its dark again

From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture is there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care

In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up

Moving all around
Screaming of the ups and downs
Pollution manifested in perpetual sound
The wheels go 'round and the sunset creeps past the
Street lamps, chain-link, and concrete
A little piece of paper with a picture drawn
Floats on down the street 'til the wind is gone
The memory now is like the picture was then
When the paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again

From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture is there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care
From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture is there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care

In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up

Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you

In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up
In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up


Lyrics submitted by Matt

"Forgotten" as written by Chester Charles Bennington Brad Delson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Forgotten song meanings
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  • +7
    My InterpretationHere is my interpretation:

    First it is important that the duality of the vocalists plays an important role in my interpretation of the song. I believe that the two voices are written as from two aspects of the same person. I choose to name them the Consciousness (C) and his/her Subconscious (S).

    C: From the top to the bottom 
    S: Bottom to top I stop 

    These two phrases to me are an easily dismissed clue. From the top to the bottom could refer to a person's states of consciousness, going from the top to the bottom (fully conscious to subconscious) as in going to sleep. The inverse is the process of rising from subconsciousness to consciousness, as in waking up. But note that on their way up from subconsciousness they stop. It is commonly known that the dreams we remember tend to be the last few moments before we awaken...

    C: At the core I've forgotten
    S: In the middle of my thoughts

    The writer's assertion comes in two parts; at the core, which could be quickly construed as the brain (core processor), but I believe is an allusion to the writer's conscious thought. The remainder is “I've forgotten”, therefore the subject of the sentence is a memory. Taking this and adding the remainder points that they have lost a memory but that it still exists elsewhere (just not at “the core”). Though the writer forgot the memory, it still exists in the center of the subconscious.

    C: Taken far from my safety
    S: The picture is there

    These two lines to me reflect that the writer believes the memory is gone outside their grasp. Their subconscious uses a metaphor of a picture (pictures are primarily stored to bring back memories) to assert that the memory persists, perhaps against conscious desire. This is further asserted in the following line:

    C: The memory won't escape me
    S: But why should I care (x2)

    In the first line I believe that the writer may be using a double meaning. Most commonly, the use of the word escape would indicate the writer doesn't want the memory to leave his mind. Escape could also be used in the less common “so and so's (boss, artist, friend's significant other's) name escapes me.” When used in this way escape means that we are trying to hunt for it but we can't find it. This indicates that the writer may WISH the memory will stay away from his conscious mind.

    The response form their conscience is interesting. Since the two lines are tied together this line is a response to the previous one. It seems the conscience is saying it shouldn't care because the conscience “feels” differently and the memory is causing a battle between them. The conscience may want the writer to experience the memory against their will.

    The following two stanzas used such clever metaphor and imagery that I was outright impressed. Notice that prior to this stanza the song was very clearly being sung by two different people which are easily distinguishable from one another. This is done not just by their tonality, but also by the fact that one line responds to the other. In the following stanzas the two artists still continue to take turns, but they start to sound similar and their parts build the imagery together until at the end they are in a chorus.

    Where does the conscious self and subconscious self meet on an even plane? In dreams.

    C: There's a place so dark you can't see the end

    It is my belief that the writer has fallen asleep, and begun to dream. This dark place is the emptiness before we dream, the void of conscious thought right before our recollection of dreams.

    S: Skies cock back and shock that which can't defend 

    In dreams we don't have the control. While conscious our writer can dismiss the subconscious, but not in dreams. The common term to “cock back” is to a wind up for a strike, and “that which can't defend” indicates something other than the subconscious (the conscious self) is vulnerable. I believe “shock” surrounded by the words in the line it indicates to “scare”, as any of us who have ever had a nightmare can attest. From the next line I believe it means the subconscious has scared the writer by placing them in a bad dream (not the memory) in preparation for what's next:

    C/S: The rain then sends dripping acidic questions
    S: Forcefully, the power of suggestion

    Rain is out of the writer's control, and the reference to acid rain could indicate a polluted dream, a polluted mind. I believe the reference to “acidic questions” also implies that the questions are both negative (causing pain) and penetrating (as acid does). The conscience's proceeding statement is clarifying that everything up to this point has just been a means to force the writer's consciousness to do what it wants. “The power of suggestion” is an allusion to the methodology used by hypnotherapists to uncover memories that have been repressed. Therefore the writer is having to suffer through the fear and self doubt brought about by the subconscious in order to uncover something.

    C: Then with the eyes shut looking through the rust and rot and dust 
    S: A spot of light floods the floor 

    The first line is simply asserting that the writer is asleep, which is the only time they can look “through the rust and rot and dust”, all allusions to a place that is neglected, old, and untouched. Once they starts looking in that “place” which is a metaphor for the writer's banished memory, light comes to that place. Light is a metaphor for remembering.

    C: And pours over the rusted world of pretend 

    This line is probably the single most important clue to what is happening. The light pours over, so the writer is remembering “the rusted world of pretend”. Again rusted is an allusion to lack of use. The “world of pretend” to me is a strong allusion tied to childhood. In no other venue is “pretend” used so widely. Adults imagine, brainstorm, act, role-play, day-dream, but they don't escape to the “world of pretend”. The fact that the “world of pretend” is rusted also indicates it has been abandoned for a long time. I must surmise that the memory that the writer experienced has something to do with his childhood. This is further supported further on.

    C/S: The eyes ease open and its dark again 

    The writer wakes up, so the memory of his childhood is hidden again.

    [Chorus]

    C/S: In the memory you'll find me 
    C/S: Eyes burning up 
    C/S: The darkness holding me tightly 
    C/S: Until the sun rises up 

    With all the foundational information already established it is easy to understand that the writer is reliving the memory in his sleep and it is causing them to cry, until they awaken. This would indicate the memory itself is the bad thing, but this conclusion is contrary to the rest of the song lyrics.

    C: Moving all around
    S: Screaming of the ups and downs
    C: Pollution manifested in perpetual sound
    C/S: The wheels go round and the sunset creeps behind the
    C/S: Street lamps, chain-link, and concrete

    The preceeding stanza seems to be the writer experiencing the real world in a busy and hectic life until the sunset comes again, alluding that we may soon enter the dreamworld once again. Based on the descriptions it appears to be written from the perspective of an adult, supporting my conclusion that the memory is of a childhood long ago.

    C: A little piece of paper with a picture drawn
    C: Floats on down the street till the wind is gone
    C/S: The memory now is like the picture was then
    C/S: When the paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again

    The writer here continues to experience the real world, but takes note of the paper. Using the visual imagery of a discarded “piece of paper with a picture drawn” seems to me an allusion, again, to childhood since it isn't a “painting”, a “sketch”, or some other “adult” sort of drawing. The wind is a metaphor for time, and perhaps the events which have occurred in between that childhood and the present which won't allow them to coexist in the writer's conscious mind. More to follow on that:

    The last two lines clears up the metaphor used in the chorus, and builds on it. Unfortunately they are confusing because they're in a difficult order. “The memory [NOW] is like the picture was [THEN]” emphasis is added to focus on the time of each. What is the difference in the memory/picture between NOW and THEN? Perhaps that is answered in the final line. The paper was crumpled up. The memory was damaged and cannot be repaired. Since “the memory now is like the picture was then” the childhood that is hidden in the writer's subconscious must then be perceived as having been perfect in the past. Whatever occurred probably occurred during childhood. The crumpling of the paper is alluding to some negative act but is unspecific and doesn't (at least in my mind) point to a particular trauma.

    [Chorus]

    C/S: Now you got me caught in the act
    C/S: You bring the thought back 
    C/S: I'm telling you that 
    C/S: I see it right through you

    The last stanza may give us a final clue as to the source of this conflict. The writer has apparently recollected “the thought” because of seeing someone. This someone must have had an impact on their life between the writer's perfect childhood and the current time.

    It is my opinion that the event(s) which blocks the perfect childhood from the present consciousness is never truly uncovered. It could be surmised that it occurred close to childhood, since that is the time which is both “perfect” and repressed. Perhaps that was the intent of the writer(s), to acknowledge people who have had a traumatic event in their life and have a longing for a “perfect” time in their childhood.
    gramirexon January 17, 2011   Link
  • +6
    General CommentHey Killerbird...I'm a Linkin Park fan. I don't think I'm stupid. I don't use emoticons. I say things a little better than "this song rox the house yo" (no offense to the 5billion people who do waste time saying things like that). I think you should stop making generalizations. The reason it's taken me so long to reply is because I actually don't spend all my time going through lyrics websites to make fun of all the fans. Personally, I think you should make your anti-Linkin Park comments outside of Linkin Park sites. It is people like you who are turning these websites from fun places where people can go to talk about music they like into places where you go to talk about something you like and leave feeling hurt that someone who has never even seen you decides that you're stupid. This has been a little long, and actually shouldn't all be directed at Killerbird...this is a message to everybody: if you don't hae anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. For shame.
    Duder987von June 12, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI actually wrote a college paper where I examined this song:

    Like most modern rock songs, “Forgotten” is a song centered about love, or more specifically a loss of love. These kinds of songs have become mainstream in our culture. Although artists of these songs often use lyrics help their listeners warmly embrace a loved one, Linkin Park has opted to take a more negative approach to their song. Although some will argue that this negative tone can poison a person, sending them into a deeper depression over a lost love (Are Love), this is not the case. Linkin Park sings “Forgotten” in such a way that some listeners can live vicariously through the lyrics. This approach is conversely positive in consequence, because it allows the listener to release his or her pain through music, thus either beginning or continuing a recovery process. Linkin Park’s lead vocalist Chester Bennington summarizes his purpose in writing this song very well by stating that, “In this country, people don’t think about the sensitivity of young men. It’s a real tragedy. For kids to be able to listen to bands like us who don’t express themselves through violence and vulgarity, it helps kids express themselves. (Linkin Park Alliance)” Through further examination of the song’s lyrics, one can see exactly how the band’s goal is executed.
    I am approaching from a rhetorical perspective. “Forgotten” is a form of rhetoric, both musically and lyrically; it is a symbol that provokes certain thoughts within its listeners. We can analyze this song because its musicality and lyrics do indeed send a powerful message to the listener. The song incorporates many rhetorical contexts, such as characters, place, time, and delivery, and communicates these strategies with the appropriate artistry, as effective rhetoric should (Zarefsky 17-4).
    Let us first consider the prelude to the song. We can break apart the prelude and then rearrange it into two distinctively different parts:

    Bottom to top I stop From the top to the bottom
    In the middle of my thoughts At the core I've forgotten
    The picture is there Taken far from my safety
    But why should I care The memory won't escape me

    This rearrangement is also acoustically perceived through the exchange every other line by the two vocalists, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda. Chester’s lines, as seen on the left, introduce a relationship in a very positive light. The words “bottom to top” imply an ascent, presumably in a relationship. A figurative character (presumably male) then stops when he sees his “picture,” a visual goal of what he wanted in his relationship, but then goes on to ask “Why should I care?” suggesting that his relationship to the implied female character was problematic. This problem is introduced in Mike’s lyrics, as seen on the right. These lines imply that a relationship has faded away over time, but the safety and happiness that the relationship brought him has caused him to become bittersweet in retrospect. The prelude does a good job of describing the conflict, but not necessarily defining it. This allows for the audience to interpret it as they may, but still be able to relate to this bittersweet forgetful feeling. The remainder of the song continues to define the character’s inner conflict in the same fashion.
    Two main verses comprise the majority of the rhetorical material in the song. The first verse is very poignant and suggestive indeed. Mike jumps right into the bulk of the song with a strong attitude and an arsenal of imagery and metaphors. He first refers to a “place so dark you can’t see the end.” Here, he clearly uses a main idea in rhetoric – place. He does not directly define this place, but describes it as being so dark that an end is not visible. Darkness is a word that carries a negative connotation. It is often associated with evil or madness, and in this case, he uses dark imagery to convey a message that he is lost. In this lost place – a reflection of his mind – he is “forcefully” assailed by lightning and acidic rain, both which serve as symbols of something harmful or destructive. In this case, they represent the memories of his past relationship that are attacking his innocence – an innocence that he wishes to remain intact, but is not due to the “forceful power of suggestion” that “shocks that which can’t defend.” The skies are “cocked back,” symbolizing a gun – another harmful symbol that attacks his mind. The question that the rain sends is the question that was posed in the prelude, “Why should I care?” In other words, an unwelcome thought is nagging him against his will.
    He then goes into a more profound explanation of this pain, closing his eyes to escape the dark, negative world that has been created in his mind. This itself is ironic because when we close our eyes, all we see is darkness. Knowing this, we can infer that the dark place that he is trying to escape is darker than dark, thus epitomizing the image. Mike hints at hope to overcome this feeling of evil when he describes a “small spot of light” on the floor. Light is one of the most powerful symbols in any text. It symbolizes everything good, derived from connotations of hope, peace, heaven or enlightenment, and the outdoors. Even this small amount of light temporarily gives him hope of escaping this dark place, completely overcoming, or “flooding” all things bad – darkness, rust, rot, and dust. But soon that light is overcome, and “the eyes ease open,” exposing only darkness again. This imagery can be seen as a metaphor, where negative feelings overcome the hope of escape or healing. This lines creates within the listener a feeling of being so close, yet so far away to a solution, where even the least bit of hope fades away (SongMeanings). After this verse, the prelude repeats, followed by the chorus.
    The chorus is a short, albeit integral and unique, part of the song. Although the other phrases in the song all incorporate underlying harmony, the chorus is the only phrase in the entire song that is actually compliments this harmony with a vocal melody line. It is also the repeated more than any other phrase. Both of these facts help to expose the chorus, suggesting that the writers, Chester and Mike, felt it is of particularly importance. The first line explains that the character is trapped in his own memories, where his eyes are “burning up.” This line introduces fire imagery. Fire often has a negative connotation, perceived as a symbol of extreme discomfort, destruction, pain, the apocalypse, or hell. The fire in his eyes, representative of negativity and evil, combined with a restrictive darkness, also representative of negativity and evil, gives a strong impression that the character being described is in a state of extreme suffering due to his inability to forget his past. Light imagery is again injected into the song in the last line of the chorus. The ideas of ascent as a mechanism for reaching a goal are reintroduced here as well. This last line, “Until the sun rises up,” looks very hopeful in text form, but Chester sings it in a minor key with descending pitches, thus acoustically counterbalancing any hope that the lyrics may imply. This is a clear example of how delivery alters the listener’s initial perception of the rhetorical lyrics. Soon after the chorus, Mike steps in with a second verse.
    The first two lines reiterate the feeling of confusion that Mike introduced to us in the first verse. He is screaming over the stress he feels inside. This screaming is, to him, eternal noise pollution. “The wheels go round” introduces the rhetorical element of time for the first instance in the song. Evidently, time is passing for the character, and his mental conditions are not improving. We see this static disappointment when the “sun creeps behind street lamps, chain links and concrete.” The sun functions as a form of light, again symbolizing hope of escaping his darkness. This hope, however, is (once again) concealed behind dry, lonely objects. Mike then describes a piece of paper floating down the street. He then uses it as a metaphor of his past relationship. It is “crumpled up” beyond repair, and “floats on down the street” until it is no longer in his reach. This intangible piece of paper is a symbol of his lost love. The “picture drawn” on the paper represents the love he once had. His bittersweet attitude is thus confirmed; he misses the love he once had, but he also wants to escape the torment that the memories bring him.
    Interestingly, the two main verses create very distinctive places within the listener’s mind. A floor enshrouded by darkness, rust, and dust creates and image of a small, dark room with rickety floorboards and decaying objects scattered within. In the second verse, an image of a barren and desolate street is created in the mind of the viewer, with bare concrete walks, a few scattered street lamps, and a piece of paper being carried by the wind down the lonely street. Both of these places create a feeling of solitude and loneliness. This enhances the previously discussed idea that in the character’s darkness, he is alone and misses the relationship he once had.
    The last phrase in “Forgotten,” the bridge, is probably the least relevant phrase in the song, but its four lines serve to confirm the character’s anger over his inability to forget the memories of his past relationship. When Mike says “I’m telling you that I see it right through you,” he is essentially trying to force himself to forget the memories of his past.
    It is at this point in the song that we see a shift from the negative to the positive. The bridge shows that the character is beginning to accomplish his goal of forgetting the past and moving away from the darkness he described earlier. This feeling of accomplishment is accented by the music; by the end of the song, both singers’ voices are elevated and at full throttle. In the last reiteration of the chorus, Chester slightly alters the tone of the last line, ending in a major key with an ascending melodic line. Hope now shines through, and the character has at least begun to overcome the feelings of darkness that he has been fighting for so long. In this respect, “Forgotten” is a song about tainted memories, but also about the struggle of overcoming those memories.
    WiseFleaon May 02, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is just one awesome song.Too bad they never did a Video for it or anything like that.
    DarkXiahouDun5925on June 09, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentVioletVirgo15 if my band would ever get on screen on MTV i would just die(and not for happi reasons..)
    so why improve the chanses of destroying LP?
    I hate ppl who says "oh dear, In the end is the best song i have ever heard" because they´ve seen the video on MTV and after two days they have forgotten about the song and listens to Christina Aguilera instead.
    creds to the REAl fans. of all bands. hate "one-night-stands"

    u see?:) this is what "Forgotten" is all about :D
    McDancin'on March 27, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"When the paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again." That's the best line in this song. For some reason, it hits me hard.

    On another note, xfesty, why do you use the word fag? What if I started calling stuff I didn't like "straight", or "hetero"? I'm not a lesbian, but they're people too. Show some respect.
    nietzsche_66on May 31, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJust to say... this song inspires freaky dreams... >_>
    It's still a great song. It's one of the many songs that I use to get across to people, seeing as how I don't do much talking...
    Malkie2003on July 01, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo this day, I think this song is about a piece of paper. It's a good song about a piece of paper though.
    YcSoCoLpon June 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a really good song...the first time i heard it, i didnt notice it too much, but then i really listened to the lyrics, and realized what a really great song it is. The second verse is the best one of the whole song. It's always stuck in my head. Oh yeah, and a quick note to the losers who actually take the time to put down the band...seriously, you have way too much time on your hands. There must be something else you can amuse yourself with.
    Wishmasteron January 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is an awsome song. But I found a very interesting meaning. Its about a little child, or maybe a teen, maybe even an adult, but the person has had a horrible life, they were neglected and beaten, or something like that. For instance:

    From the top to the bottom ]> I'm not exactly
    Bottom to top I stop ]> sure what this meant.
    At the core I've forgotten [the person has forgotten a memory he or she once had that made them happy]
    In the middle of my thoughts [the person is caught up in their thoughts]
    Taken far from my safety [the person doesn't safe]
    The picture is there [the memory the person once had is in the safe place]
    The memory won't escape me [he doesn't want the memory to escape his mind, so he tries not to let it go]
    But why should I care [the person doesn't think he should care because of his horrible life situation]

    That's the chorus, now here's my interpretation of the first verse. It takes place in a dark room, where the person is stuclk.

    There's a place so dark you can't see the end [the room is so dark, the person can't see]
    Skies cock back and shock that which can't defend [the person can't defend himself from being beaten]
    The rain then sends dripping acidic questions [he questions himself]
    Forcefully, the power of suggestion [he wonders why he is there, in that room]
    Then with the eyes shut looking thought the rust and rotten dust [the eyes are shut because he is trying to look for hope, but he stills knows he is surrounded by bad things]
    A spot of light floods the floor [the spot of light is a glimmer of hope, to what he wants to see]
    And pours over the rusted world of pretend [the light, or glimmer of hope, gets bigger, and he starts to believe that something good will happen]
    The eyes ease open and its dark again [he believes it so well, he wants to open his eyes to see the hope, but is brought back to reality]

    That the first verse. The song basically works off of that. I think that this is a very powerful and meaningful song. I hope my explanation helps. If you are interested in the rest of the song in my opinion, e-mail me sometime, brp_150@yahoo.com, or message me on my screenname for AIM, SuperxBritish.
    K-Pluson April 05, 2006   Link

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