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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Homage to Linkin Park (R.I.P. Chester Bennington)

I wrote about it in the past. In July 2017, right after Chester Bennington’s death. It was impulsive. And I promised myself I would write about it again, putting more into it. But now it’s hard because I know that, no matter how much I try to reach into myself and everything that Linkin Park’s work meant to me growing up, I won’t be anywhere close to making them justice through a few words in an article. And it’s also difficult because I’m not sure I’m ready to be that open and vulnerable. But I’m not special for it. Linkin Park helped a vast amount of us get through angst we didn’t even know we had, let alone know how to face and handle, while our intrapersonal intelligence was abysmally poor. And we could see the genius in that.

By the time I first listened to Linkin Park, my fangirling days were over. Yet, it was easily a band I’d look forward to hearing (and seeing) more from. So I kept up with them to a degree. They tackled topics that intrigued me and drew me in. And at this point, I owe much of my depth to them. Maybe I would have sought it out and gotten to it through other means if they hadn’t been around, but I got it through them and that’s just a part of me now. They got me thinking and feeling plenty. And now I can’t help wishing I could somehow turn back time and drop a “thank you” to Chester Bennington somewhere even if he could miss it. I wish I could believe in spirits roaming or watching from above, too. Although the day I heard of his passing and the days that followed I was shaken in ways I could not quite make sense of, I was still quite indifferent to it. However, as I become more and more aligned with what matters the most to me, it pains me more and more that he’s gone.

Ironically, rock and rockers had a reputation for being “a bad influence”. Linkin Park included. And back then, before knowing and understanding as much as you may now do, with all the information from different perspectives made available (especially the psychological), it could make you wary. But if you truly pay attention, who is really the bad influence here? This is a typical case of rocking the boat and what it entails.

Linkin Park, in particular, came off to me as anti-corruption. Not anti-establishment, rebelling for the sake of rebelling, showing off how indomitable they are, but specifically anti-corruption. “Corruption” in the usual and the wider sense. Whether it was within relationships, families, among peers, in regards to communities or societies, or within oneself. They addressed it in numerous instances, from various angles. Pointing to whatever was rotten or rotting. To those not caring to listen, it could sound like mere whining and complaining. But to those more attuned, it was insightful.

I’d say that there are artists so extraordinarily perceptive that it hurts. They notice and take in more than most. And then they carry that - which consumes them. They may release a bit of it through the art that they make and perform, but the rest remains for them to keep or let out in other ways. It can be maddening. So it’s not too shocking if some choose to cope via desperate means. Crushing if they eventually give up, though. It is a heavy burden bestowed upon them that’s not always sufficiently alleviated. They’d be the first to sense trouble. Possibly warn others of it before it is too late.

My personal favorites are many. Songs I could listen to at a time when I needed them. That practically guided me through what I was experiencing and/or witnessing. And that will always be important to me. Such as:

- Papercut
- Numb
- Breaking the Habit
- From the Inside
- What I’ve Done
- Points of Authority

These are only a few. You can check them out if you’re curious enough. But in short, they’re practically a self-awareness trip. While Points of Authority, instead, is a song that everyone should probably hear - and steer away from anything similar.

Taking on all the problems of the world can make anyone lose hope. And even if you go through them one by one, it can wear you out. I would never consider Linkin Park pessimistic in their work. On the contrary, they were optimistic enough to be courageous enough to do it. And regardless of how much it means to anyone, the effects of it are undeniable. We took an honest look at ourselves and at what was around us, prompted and aided by them. Although divine intervention could come in handy too.

R.I.P. Chester Bennington. You will be fondly remembered and your work highly cherished. Linkin Park and your voice in it is an immense gift to the world and to the lives of all of us who were in dire lack of it.

Linkin Park, you've become forever a part of my life and it is an honor!