"The Catalyst"

Music review by
Jessica Dawson, Common Sense Media
"The Catalyst" Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Intense anthem about God, violence is best for older kids.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 20 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The overall feel of the song is intense, asking God to save everyone, "for the sins of our hands, for the sins of our young." Implies that we are driven to violence and/or war, but not without consequences. A lot to explain to younger kids.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's not clear if the song condones violence, via the military, or is asking God's forgiveness and grace because of it. But getting people to contemplate it certainly has merit.


Featured on video game "Medal of Honor," which has a military theme and some violence. Lyrics say, "We're a broken people living under a loaded gun."


Featured on video game "Medal of Honor."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this song is featured in the popular military-themed video game "Medal of Honor." The song is intense, talking about God, violence, and sins of our hands. There's no bad language or gory details, but the lyrics are too mature for younger kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byTakeshi kim March 31, 2013

The Catalyst is safe to children age 10 and older

The song mean 1. God save us .. phrases describe the current state of affairs in the global politics 2.broken people living under loaded gun means it's abo... Continue reading
Adult Written byHot Fuss March 10, 2012

Angst-ridden rock deals with intense topics.

Parents should note that "The Catalyst" by Linkin Park is an instant classic, due to its powerful vocals and transdecending chorus lines. However, the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCooltiger37 August 31, 2018

Boring album has occaisonal profanity, violence

Teen, 13 years old Written bykeybladek1 June 2, 2014

Linkin Park does it again!

This song has nothing bad and is a great song for pre teens and up

What's the story?

Linkin Park's passionate, war-themed anthem "THE CATALYST" is the lead single from their upcoming fourth album titled A Thousand Suns. Featured in a military-themed video game called "Medal of Honor," it's a passionate, synth-rock single that showcases an evolution from the band's earlier, nu-metal days.

Is it any good?

Although diehard LP fans may be surprised at the tamer sound of their newest single, "The Catalyst," the intensity of the music and band's flair for poignant lyrics is still there. Obviously, LP is trying to send a message, or warning, about the consequences of war and violence in this life and thereafter. The simple, repetitive lyrics drive home their intentions, and the infectious music lingers in your head long after the song ends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the lyrics are simple, yet full of passion. What do you think the song is about? Do you think it's condoning violence and the military, or condemning it? How do the lyrics make you feel? What about the fact that this song is featured on a military-themed video game? Does that make you like it more, or understand it better?

  • Linkin Park is evolving its music, and with this song, introducing a different sound. Do you like the music and use of instruments in this song? Do you like it when bands change their music to fit the changing trends? Does it make them smart for adapting, or weak for selling out?

Music details

  • Artist: Linkin Park
  • Release date: August 2, 2010
  • Label: Warner Brothers
  • Genre: Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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