“I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there. Become so tired, so much more aware. By becoming this, all I want to do. Is be more like me, and be less like you.”
Those are lyrics every one of us has heard at some point in our childhood. A song that became the voice of a generation put on repeat with Walkmans and mp3 players.
Chester Bennington was the frontman of Linkin Park. A talented singer, being able to switch between soft music and metal at will. Yet, he was much more than that. His songs weren’t just rock songs. They weren’t about being a rebellious teenager, acting wild or about lost adolescent love. They were real situations that he went through in life, they were reams of emotion, an ode to the troubled times he has been through, an anchor to the lost wanting to know they weren’t alone. His songs were so raw; his heartbeat became yours, his tears rolled down your cheeks. Lyrics like “I wanna heal, I wanna feel, Like I’m close to something real, I wanna let go of the pain I’ve felt so long.” (Somewhere I Belong), “When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done, help me leave behind some reasons to be missed.” (Leave Out All The Rest) and “Discomfort endlessly has pulled itself upon me, distracting, reacting. Against my will, I stand beside my own reflection.” (Crawling) are examples of those that tug at your heartstrings. The choices are spread throughout the 8 studio albums Linkin Park has released over the years. If you’ve been through depression or suffered the pangs of a broken heart, chances are you could connect with his every word. For the songs are so filled with emotion, if you can take them to heart, you cannot help but cry with the same intensity he must have.
Don’t take it the wrong way. Sure he’d struggled through a troubled childhood, substance abuse etc. Sure he underlined all his depressive, and sometimes suicidal, emotions in his lyrics. But the reason he put them out was to get it out of him, so he could keep holding on. He wanted to let go of all that was keeping him down. He loved and encouraged life. “We all fall down, we live somehow, we learn what doesn’t kill makes us stronger.” (Sharp Edges) is a poignant example.
Chester Bennington was a person admired for his resilience through the troubled times he went through, and the way people felt like he had a personal connection to them. His abrupt and early demise was not a loss only to his family and Linkin Park, but to the millions of fans worldwide who used his words to struggle on through the dark nights for a ray of hope holding them onto life.
Chester. You were an icon. And you will never be forgotten, but someone we listen to over and over again when we want to feel like there’s someone out there who knows what we’re going. We hope you’re at peace now.
Adieu, Brave Soul.