Remembering Chester

"I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end, it doesn't even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end, it doesn't even matter"
- In The End, Linkin Park

This week it was announced that Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, had died. He took his own life, which is a tragedy, and has led to a lot of discussion and reflection. Suicide is awful for everyone. It's the last resort of those who see no hope for the future. And it can be deeply painful for friends, family, and loved ones. If you are feeling lost and alone, please get help.

In addition to feeling sad, I've been reflecting on Linkin Park, a band I've loved for more than a decade. Their first album, Hybrid Theory, was released in October 2000, and it wasn't long before I began hearing their songs. One of my favorite songs of all time is "In The End," the song quoted above. It still is, and I think always will be.

In college, I listened to Linkin Park all the time, something that didn't change after college. While I haven't always loved their recent stuff, so much of their songs spoke to me. The raw, real emotions and life. And a big part of that was Chester, and his powerful vocals.

I loved how they could change the style and tone of their songs, too. One of my favorite songs, "Pushing Me Away," has three different versions that I love. But when I purchased a live CD/DVD version of a concert in England, I heard a piano-only version, with Chester singing the song like a power ballad, and it was so powerful.

He was a talented singer who had a dynamic voice and we were blessed to hear him sing. But many of Linkin Park's songs were about dealing with pain beneath the surface, and I can't help but think that takes on a new meaning now.

Their latest single, "Heavy," is a great example of that. 

"I don’t like my mind right now
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary
Wish that I could slow things down
I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything's about me
Yeah, I drive myself crazy
'Cause I can’t escape the gravity

[Chorus: Chester Bennington & Kiiara]
I'm holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what's bringing me down
If I just let go, I'd be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy?"
— "Heavy," Linkin Park

The track is great, but it also feels like a cry for help and understanding. Hopefully it will help someone else, as will this whole tragic situation, to get the help they need.

What happened is sad, but the legacy of his talent and songs will live on.


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