Do you feel cold and lost in desperation
You build up hope but failure’s all you’ve known
Remember all the sadness and frustration
And let it go, let it go.
– Iridiscent, A Thousand Suns
It’s 12:16 am on a Thursday night, and the internet has broken down.
It’s 12:21 and the world is shell-shocked into denial.
A million throats tighten up in the face of heartbreak, in the advent of our childhood idol snatched away so suddenly.
We may be spectators to disapproval, as euphemisms about “these millennials” and “their rabid obsession with pop culture” will be spat in our faces, as we discover that venom and wisdom do not go well together.
Here it comes. The thirteen-year-olds within us scream in adamant disbelief at the loss of a god-damned phenomenon. The loud, piercing cries that were once music to our ears, never to be experienced in the same manner again. Every Linkin Park song will seem even darker now. Like a punch to the stomach, news of Chester Bennington’s passing was devastating – even more so for the younger, middle school versions of ourselves nesting within us like Russian matryoshka dolls. For a lot of us, Linkin Park’s music defined an era of our lives.
When you think of the catharsis that is found in grief, you remember the tear-strung hours spent listening to old records from the early 2000s, dusted with memories to be cherished for a lifetime, even as we attempt to wash away the scratches with torrential grief.
A tryst formulated in 1996 with the release of their debut album Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park became one of the few bands to attain a diamond certification in the ’00s, selling 24 million copies across the globe. The band heralded a revolution in hard rock with masterpieces like Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns, Living Things, Hybrid Theory and so many more.
The opening song of their debut album, Papercut is assaultive, ferocious and unrelentingly unapologetic. This was our angst resort for all of those pent-up emotions. Experimenting with everything from nu-metal to pop-rock, they uninhibitedly embraced their melodic core, and offered no apologies as they expounded upon it.
Leave Out All The Rest
Soulful, sublime and immeasurably intense, this song resides somewhere between dire, dusky spaces and warm fireplaces.
Minutes to Midnight was a direct departure from the Rap-Rock sound they had become famous for. As an insignia, this song was softened smoother than cream cheese on a bagel. It shall be infinitely more unbearable to deal with the host of emotions this track inevitably begets.
Majorly reminiscent of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, the very crux of this song chills you to the bone. As a child, we’d only ever known to sing along to the beat of the music, and overlook the intricacies of music. This song exposes so much about Chester’s own instincts and characteristics, as testimonial to the fact that when you’re a musician, you’ve placed your life on a chopping block for the masses, vulnerable as ever. Little did we realize the burden on the shoulders of this man, never failing to deliver with his honewdew-ed voice of reassurance, albeit from the dark. He left behind a million reasons to be missed.
The unmistakable gentle wind chimes seem so haunting now. This piece is testimonial to the fact that at their core, Linkin Park has always been about channeling life lessons amidst those captivating riffs – alive, kicking and glittering rock perfection.
May our love never end, and if we need a friend, there’ll be a seat here, alongside him.
Chester, with his mammoth heart had a penchant for pioneering acts of goodwill. In 2005, the band founded a nonprofit organization called Music for Relief after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. They’ve actively responded to multiple natural disasters and managed to plant over 1.3 million trees to help truncate climate change.
Here was an ensemble that immaculately expressed teenage angst better than anyone else. They came to the aid of a myriad millennials at the cusp of puberty, delivering the perfect soundtrack to suit all ranges of emotion. Especially when these emotions grew progressively inexplicable and occasionally terrifying, listening to that one Linkin Park song, whether it was Numb or Leave out All the Rest, irrevocably never failed to make us feel understood. It evolved from a raging mutiny of symphonic melodies into a disquieting haven, somewhere we belonged.
They grew to be something much more than a band. We grew up to their music, solving countless assignments with his reassuring voice blaring through the earphones. Hummed along to In the End during those long restless car rides. It may take a while before we can relive that familiar snug, almost homespun sensation upon hearing Chester’s distinctive crooning.
Perhaps this is Chester reminding us yet again that nothing’s ever meant to last.
Perhaps if we follow a faction of angsty teenagers into dark alleys, we’ll discover him again?