Chester, I care if One More Light goes out.
The world is still reeling from the sudden tragic loss of Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington (a.k.a. sunshine in human form). I am so heartbroken and can’t even imagine what his family, band-mates and friends are going through.
As I relisten to LP’s songs, I realize how poignant they are in hindsight; a cry for help, a glimpse into the sadness and turmoil within. So many fans online are expressing how Linkin Park’s music helped them get through depression and saved them from the brink of suicide. It’s the worst irony imaginable. So painful; I can’t wrap my head around it (I guess that’s why I felt the need to write about it).
Linkin Park has meant so much to me in different ways over the past few years. As for most people, it began with “Numb”. I remember rocking out to it with my brother who loved to blast music from his music system until it felt like an earthquake, my heart pounding with adrenaline. Yes, there was teenage angst, but it was also a period of time in my life in which some of the darkest, toughest moments seemed to be compounded.
Linkin Park’s changing styles and Chester’s brilliant vocal range gave me a language to express myself. I recognized that I wasn’t alone. That I could be a person that could have a soft, heart-melting voice, but could also rage and be heavy in the space of a few beats. I didn’t have to feel like I was betraying some part of who I was because I could be all of that, and more, and it was OK. That’s what music means to me. That’s what Linkin Park means to me.
Some fans had started to hate on Linkin Park when their sound started to shift from what it used to be in the early days. When I would begin to listen to a new album, I would think, “Oh, this is different”, but if you read my previous story about Quickstyle, you’ll realize that I don’t get fazed too easily. I took it in stride, I appreciated the change because I was a constantly changing person. How could I expect a group of live, creative human beings to remain the exact same through the years? That would be impossible, unfair and an insult to the creative energy of the awesome people who are Linkin Park.
One of the periods in which I had a renewed love for Linkin Park was when I watched a mini documentary about the making of the album art for Meteora. I was absolutely amazed. I love art as much as I love music so I was so happy to know that Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn were trained artists. Their mural gave me so much inspiration that year. It reminded me of why I love that kind of art and bands in general: it’s a group process. I’m always jealous of the beautiful connections I see made through art and music; it brings people together like nothing else. The collaboration and harmony created brings together the creators and also forms incredible bonds with those who experience and engage with the art. This is clearly demonstrated by the colossal, dedicated global fan-base that Linkin Park has.
Another major shift occurred for me was when I was introduced to Music for Relief and the Power the World initiative. It revealed to me a totally different dimension in my quest to figure out how music and art could play a role in making a positive social difference in the world. In my first year of university, I attended a leadership workshop called Leadershape. The outcome of this week-long retreat was to come up with your vision for life — how could you use your unique personality and interests to do something for your community, for the world. My main source of inspiration was of course Linkin Park.
I then went on to start an organization called “Artists for Change” which was meant to provide a platform for creatives to express what they cared about and thus, get others involved in the fight to make their own visions for a better world a reality. For a myriad of reasons, I could not sustain this, but it taught me so much and I now definitely have moved closer to realizing what I should be doing in life. Linkin Park has been a constant for me throughout this process.
I’m listening to the “One More Light” album as I write this and it’s bringing me to pieces. Chester will never really be gone because he’s left a mark on the hearts of his fans that won’t go away. He’s the star in the night that you may not see so clearly, but is always there, just too far for our eyes to see.
Much love to everyone who has been affected: family, friends, band-mates, fans all around the world. Stay strong.