Linkin Park has been an inspiration for millions of fans around the world. Their music gave hope to countless souls in times of obscurity. The band has constantly changed and evolved their sound throughout the years, which is one of the reasons why they are still a household name. From their chart breaking, metal-meets-rap debut album Hybrid Theory, to their recent pop centric album, One More Light. Linkin Park always managed to keep things fresh and exciting. It broke my heart when I heard the news that the band’s lead singer, Chester Bennington committed suicide by hanging himself in his apartment. The news of his untimely death sent a wave of shock to the world. Musicians and fans alike (including myself), took to social media to express their sadness and sympathy towards his family. According to various online websites, the reasons for his suicide might be due to depression and drug abuse, but nothing is for certain yet. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden who was Chester’s friend committed suicide earlier this May and apparently Chester hung himself on his birthday. The singer had six children from both his marriages.
For the kids brought up during the 2000’s, Chester’s screams were iconic. Linkin Park’s music resonated with teens driven with angst and looking for a place to fit in, somewhere they belonged. Chester was definitely a loud Rockstar but he also had a beautiful soothing voice. ‘Leave Out All The Rest’ and ‘One More Light’ are some of the best pacifying songs in the band’s discography. My life would have been very different if I had not stumbled upon a couple of their greatest hits on my buddy’s disk-man, ‘In The End’ and ‘Numb’. The music video ‘What I’ve Done’ portrayed the band as being environmentally and socially conscious. The video consisted of footage from historical moments and disasters, even Gandhi. Their fourth album, ‘A Thousand Suns’ saw the band take an experimental route. Heavy guitars were replaced by techno sounds and beats and somehow their music was still a breath of fresh air.
With his advent of fame, Chester’s drug abuse issues and problems began to surface. The song ‘Breaking the Habit’ was reportedly written about his struggle with addiction. The band’s recent album ‘One More Light’ debuted at No.1 in the US just this March proving that the band has an incredible fan base even with their transformation in genre. Although, many fans and critics have been heavily criticizing the band as ‘sell outs’ because of their change in sound from rock to pop, their shows were the only thing that sold out. Instead of doing the same old act, Linkin Park and Chester took risks going out of their comfort zone to make the music they loved. The late artist had contemplated suicide many years ago as a result of being a victim of rape and abuse.
The members of the band consists of not only die-hard musicians but also a few graffiti artists and art majors. I personally owe a huge debt of gratitude towards the band. More often than not I fall back for inspiration, along with thousands of fans, to their lyrics and music videos. Almost every music video and album cover is a work of art. Fans desperately looked forward to the band’s upcoming albums and videos. It’s hard to fathom a world without Chester’s voice. The Arizona–born singer was always so full of life in every concert he performed and every interview he was in. One regret I have is that, Indian fans including the fan writing this will never be able to see the legend play live. Depression is a real problem and musicians from around the world have joined the fight against depression. Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Nickelback have posted heartfelt messages along with a suicide helpline number on twitter. Some artists like Corey Taylor and even Avengers director Joss Whedon have expressed their empathy on hearing the sad news. Whedon tweets, “A Thousand Suns got me through a horribly dark time. I'm indebted. Thank you and RIP Chester Bennington wish you were here”. Wherever Chester rests, may he know that we care if one more light goes out in a sky of a million stars.