Following the recent passing of Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington, I have been having a nostalgia overload going through all of my old Linkin Park CD’s. I was 11 (2003) when their sophomore album “Meteora” came out. I remember seeing the video for “Somewhere I Belong” premiere on Much Music back when Much Music was actually a place for kids to discover new music (who would’ve thought, right?) and how intrigued I was by their extremely eccentric and completely mind-boggling version of “Nu-Metal”. They fused rock with rap, but unlike bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park’s vocals were about depression, angst, and healing the brokenness inside of you. (Perfect for the pre-teens). So I was hooked immediately.
Following this single came the rest: “Lying From You”, “Faint”, “Breaking the Habit”, “From the Inside”, and “Numb”, so naturally after hearing all these beautiful songs, I had to purchase the album. Here it is, in all of its glory. Man, this album is flawless (to me, anyway) from front to back, Chester was at the peak of his screaming vocals and singing range, and Mike Shinoda provided his most rhythmic and catchy bars to date. Songs like “Hit the Floor”, “Faint”, and “From the Inside” showed Chester’s true vocal capabilities, and I’m pretty sure he damaged his vocal chords quite often on the tour for this album; I’m definitely not surprised. There’s something about this album that just stuck with me growing up, before it I was listening to Eminem, and wasn’t really introduced into the heavy-rock side of music (I guess the rap element initially sucked me in). This opened so many doors for both myself and the rest of the kids listening to this album back then, so many genres to
dive in after discovering Linkin Park. Soon I’d be listening to bands like Nine Inch Nails, Alexisonfire, Tool, etc. and I can thank this album for introducing me to my passion for music. I think somewhere along the timeline of Linkin Park, it became “uncool” to be a fan of theirs, probably due to their rather simply worded, “emo” lyrics, and mainstream success… but take a look at the lyrics Chester wrote in all of these songs in relation to his now-revealed, severe depression. It was not just a way to compliment the dark and heavy instrumentals on this album, but words buried deep inside, eating away at him, and screamed at the top of his lungs as a way to release all of his bottled up anger. Chester’s death brings new meaning and untold truths to both the songs on Hybrid Theory and Meteora, and makes these albums, timeless.
It clicked to me how significant this album has been to me throughout my life, and even though I lost interest in the band, this album will always bring me back to my childhood, I would sit in my room with “Faint” playing full blast, oo-ing and awe-ing over the booklet of art and lyrics it came with.
I was going through Chester’s twitter after work tonight and I saw this retweet of his wife and daughter. I have to admit, I got quite emotional, realizing how many lives he has impacted, his family, and the legion of fans that feel the same way I do about this album. I was going to write an album review tonight, but I wanted to touch on this topic again because his life and body of work should be celebrated. Rest in peace my man, and thank you for the impact you have made on my life. I encourage anyone who hasn’t listened to this album to give it a good play-through, although I’m sure most people who owned a radio or a tv in the 00’s have heard its singles in one shape or form. It’s songs like “Nobody’s Listening”, “Figure.09”, and the gorgeous instrumental “Session” that give this album its true conceptual life.
“I can’t feel the way I did before
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored
Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored”