Imagine the look on my face upon reading the news of Chester Bennington's passing on Facebook.
I was in the middle of drinking with some friends at an ungodly hour when I wasn't able to control myself from cursing. But how does one react to their musical hero being found dead in his home from an apparent suicide hanging?
I haven't even listened to Linkin Park in awhile. I may have outgrown their more recent singles, but the iconic band's earlier material helped in defining my generation. As cliche as it may sound, personally, it was the soundtrack of my preadolescence.
Before falling in love with rock and roll, nu and rap metal were my "jam." I still remember borrowing a Hybrid Theory CD from my neighbor who had a bigger allowance. I was able to memorize the entire album after countless hours of "Papercut" and "Crawling" blasting through the speakers, but not without being scolded by mom.
My current mood is reminiscent of when I had to give that said record back; this sudden necessity to let go sucks. What's doubly sad is, I just realized I'd forgotten most of the lines from some of their tracks.
This morning, I woke up to my batchmates mourning Chester's untimely death, which made up around 90 percent of the posts on my social media feed.
It didn't suprise me. It was crazy how our whole class knew the words to "In The End" better than our school hymn. If late '00s kids had My Chemical Romance, those of us who grew up during the earlier part of the decade had Linkin Park to help us understand our teen angst. And the frontman's piercing lyrics and raspy vocals were at the forefront of that musical revolution.
The pinnacle of my LP fandom was getting the chance to watch them live in 2013, when the group visited the country as part of their "Living Things" tour. Seeing Chester, Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, Mike Shinoda, Dave Farrell, and Joe Hahn in the flesh almost brought me to tears, and not just because the live performance was as amazing as the record.
Linkin Park's songs have always been a loud yet poignant experience. Mike may have been the band's principal songwriter, but Chester always interpreted the verses in a unique manner. His singing always felt too real, as if he screamed on my frustrated behalf. For someone who has trouble with showing his emotions, seeing another individual let it all out during a song was something I admired.
Raised in an unstable household (financially and emotionally), I was grateful to have something to hold on to like their music. While the late singer's high-pitched choruses served as a form of release, his rap-rock melodies were sincerely comforting. Maybe that's the reason for the knee-jerk reaction last night: I feel as though I have some unexplainable subconscious connection to his artistry.
I can only hope that Chester finds his peace in the afterlife. He provided solace for my weary heart, even at the expense of his vocal cords, mental health, and emotional well-being. My heart goes out to his wife, six children, and the millions of fans whose lives have been touched by his musical talents.
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Spoilers ahead—read at your own risk