Yesterday it was a simple text message that broke the news to me, I quickly typed ‘Chester Bennington’ into my google search, thinking ‘no way, this can’t be real.’ – and there it was, it was definitely real. I’ve never been so gutted by the death of a celebrity before, this voice that I had listened to in good times and in bad, the voice I would scream along to – was gone.
It was the year 2000, I was 14 years old – that tender age where one searches and tries to shape their identity. I remember Sara bringing in the Hybrid Theory album to school one day – I hadn’t listened to anything much harder than Serial Joe… but from the first screamy choruses of “One Step Closer” – I was hooked.
I identified with all the rage that the lead singer had, all the feelings in that song. I was a victim of bullying through most of my school career and listening to Linkin Park loudly was therapeutic.
I rushed home to download what I could find of Hybrid Theory and realized that I needed to own the entire album – so I took what allowance I had and bought the CD. I listened to it endlessly, every song in that album finding it’s way into my own personal life soundtrack.
… crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal… I want to run away, never say goodbye… In the end, it doesn’t even matter… do I trust nobody and live in loneliness?
In 2002, the reanimation album came out – it explored a new sense of sound for LP – a mix of hip hop, alt rock and EDM – all genres that I would move on to explore growing up.
Hearing Aaron Lewis (StainD) and Chester sing this powerful song together still brings chills to me even now.
2003 was the year that Meteora was released, I remember all of us piling into Shannon’s car at lunch to run down to the Future Shop to buy the CD on the day it came out.
‘Somewhere I Belong’ became an anthem for my late teens – early 20s, searching for a place I fit in, a crowd to call my own.
‘I want to heal, I want to feel.. like I’m close to something real, I want to find something I’ve wanted all along.. Somewhere I belong.’
Again… EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. from that album resonated with everything I was feeling at that age, each song a perfect soundtrack to my life and it’s goings on – therapy for my ears, keeping me going, keeping me skating.
…If I could change I would.. I can’t feel the way I did before, don’t turn your back on me, I won’t be ignored… I don’t want to be the one the battles always choose.. I’ve become so numb…
After high school, life would grow and change and I’d jump through different social groups until I found my crowd… weekly car meets and racing every week..
At this point, Linkin Park was departing from their signature Nu-Metal sound and experimenting with more various genres of music – somewhat almost pop-y… and although not every song resonated from Minutes to Midnight – there are parts of that album that speak to that era in my life.
As I grew older, so did Linkin Park – and so did their sound. Many fans strayed because they didn’t identify with the band… but I listened to every album and found myself in a song in each one of them.
Waiting for the End kept me going through a very toxic relationship, I can’t even count how many times I repeated the song over and over in my head when we would fight or when I’d be in tears
“I know what it takes to move on, I know how it feels to lie.. all I want to do is trade my life for something new.. holding on to what I haven’t got”
In 2012, I got to cross a massive item off of my bucket list; I got to see Linkin Park live. It took them 13 years to finally travel to my hometown of Calgary – and I paid full price for a festival ticket and drove my ass solo to Calgary and spent an entire day at a festival with my friends to wait for one band, and one band only.
From the opening riffs of Faint, to Somewhere I belong, to what was their new single Burn it down, they played an amazing cross-section of their music. It was easily the best few hours of my life, it was so worth the trip.
His lyrics spoke to every stage of my life, like he was writing my story with almost every song – lyrics that helped me through tough times – to know today that even though his music helped so many that essentially nobody could help him, it’s heartbreaking.
Music is therapy – it brings a deeper connection through lyrics and beats. Linkin Park was therapy to a lot of people and today we’re missing a voice in this world – today the world feels a bit louder – from everyone playing Linkin Park’s albums over and over.
I know that this isn’t the end of Linkin Park, but this is definitely the end of an era.
“When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
Don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest”
Please know that if you are suffering from depression or considering suicide, you are not alone. Seek help, there are people that love you.