Remembering Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, Watch Song

One Year Later: Remembering Chester Bennington of Linkin Park

One year later, remembering Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The first seconds of “Papercut” floored me in a way Slipknot’s “(Sic)” (the opening track to their 1999 self-titled debut album) did, instantly transporting me somewhere new.

Their pinpoint mastery of the nu-metal genre at the time totally turned things upside-down for me, mostly the result of the interplay between the two vocalists most powerfully Chester Bennington.

A month or so later, I saw LP open for Papa Roach at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. Shortly after that, LP was everywhere “One Step Closer” had put the rock community on alert, and “Crawling” and “In The End” catapulted them to arena-filler in a very short period of time as Hybrid Theory sold upwards of 30 million copies worldwide.

You know the rest for the next decade-plus, Linkin Park was an undeniable force in the music world. Massive venues, curators of their own Projekt Revolution touring music festival, multi-platinum stars of the highest degree.

They hit at the right time, broke bigger than their peers and, naturally, had many critics.

I can speak about the critics, since some at my high school who preferred more “authentic” music viewed Linkin Park with derision, their simple song structures and packaged angst the recipe for mainstream success.

That comes with the territory, of course. Also a topic for criticism was the band’s lyrics, which at times sounded overtly dramatic or even “faked,” as if they were merely pandering to their rapidly expanding audience.

Last week, Bennington was found dead in Southern California, by means of suicide by hanging. He had taken his own life at 41, with Linkin Park on the cusp of embarking on a huge world tour in support of their new album, One More Light.

Bennington, who had spoken outwardly and honestly about his battles with depression and inner turmoil over the years, succumbed to the very same demons he’d been battling for his entire life.

And it hit me all that criticism about the “fake” lyrics and otherwise inauthentic subject matter over the years was just wrong. All of Bennington’s pleas to find “Somewhere I Belong” weren’t coming from anywhere other than his actual, real existence and thoughts. And that’s what makes his death so jarring.

And the second is the Minutes to Midnight track “Leave Out All the Rest,” which takes on a sense of Bennington reading his own eulogy:

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