Numb by Linkin Park: 2003 success signed by Joe Hahn
Numb by Linkin Park is part of the album “Meteora” and it’s among the greatest hits of the American band. Even a person who does not know Numb, as soon as he hears the first notes, remembers hearing it on the radio! Now the song is a piece of history. The video is from 2003 and it is directed by Joe Hahn, director and official DJ of the band, who worked on many of Linkin’s videos (to name a few, In The End, Papercut, Breaking The Habit, Burn It Down).
From the very first images of the video Numb by Linkin Park, we immediately notice dark, gloomy, gothic and dark colors. This is a feature of Linkin’s videos: both the narration and the colors adapt to the lyrics, which as we know have a nostalgic and melancholic inclination.
The lyrics and the video want to represent the situation of many teenagers who feel forced by their parents and school to become and to be what they don’t want.
The music video shot between Los Angeles and Prague
There are two main scenes. One is located inside a Los Angeles cathedral, where Linkin Park plays on the altar.
The other is the life of a girl (the American actress Briana Evigan) victim of loneliness and emancipation, who lives in the city of Prague, in the Czech Republic.
This is clear because we see the young woman walking on the Charles Bridge, the beautiful bridge of the city, also used by other music stars for their videos. For example Dolores O’Riordan with “Ordinary Day”, Human League with “Tell Me When”, Muse with the song “New Born”.
Even Linkin Park chose Prague as the location for another video, “From the Inside”.
Let’s go back to the “Numb” video. The protagonist of the scenes shot in the cathedral is certainly Chester Bennington, who appears in numerous shots. The location is really suggestive with the band playing above the altar covered with a giant Persian carpet and with numerous candles all around.
The story told in the video Numb
In the story shot in Prague, the protagonist, as we said, is a girl who lives difficult moments in her adolescence.
She is isolated from her schoolmates and at home her mother is annoying and unpleasant. The only beautiful thing for her is art: she really likes drawing.
During a math lesson the professor scolds her after discovering her to draw angels.
The angels represent her desire to escape from that world and change existence (even inside the cathedral you can see the statues of angels).
Very significant the scenes where she is among the people but she feels alone, everyone passes around her as if she didn’t exist.
The video ends with an artistic crisis of the girl: even the one she likes the most begins to make her suffer and starts hitting the canvas with a brush. Finally, he goes to the cathedral where Linkin Park are playing, he runs towards the altar but they aren’t there anymore.
Some interesting facts about Linkin Park’s video by Numb
To prevent Chester Bennington and the band from going to Prague, the director thought of a trick: he chose two similar cathedrals, St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague and one in Los Angeles. The observer does not notice the difference in the final scene, where the girl runs inside the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague, instead of in the cathedral of Los Angeles where Linkin played.
The school you see in the video is Johannes Kepler Grammar School in Prague.
In the final scenes the young woman shows cuts on one arm. But these cuts are shown only in two shots: they are not seen in the other shots. Director error or intended effect? In my opinion it is a desired effect: the cuts, rather than real, are wounds of the soul.