Last week, I woke up to the shocking news that Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington is gone. It is hard to accept his passing, more so when it was ruled with finality that his death is a suicide. More than being an icon of 21st-century rock music or bringing nu-metal music into the mainstream, Chester was one of the most recognizable voices that lent credence to a generation’s angst, sorrow, helplessness, and anger. There is no question in his skills as a vocalist – he can transition from a mellow tone to a deep growl at the drop of a hat. But what set him apart from other rock vocalists of his time was the authenticity to his rage and the vulnerability to lay it all open for all to hear and feel. The raw emotions he delivers in every song were fueled in part by his personal issues. He has been upfront regarding his struggles with bullying, sexual abuse, and drug addiction when he was growing up, as well as his life-long battle with depression, which he eventually lost.
I am one of those kids that grew up listening to Linkin Park to vent out negative emotions that you can never really express openly for fear of being ridiculed or belittled. Ironically, it brought relief to whatever pain it was that I felt at the time. Just pouring my heart out singing along with Chester’s retort to the world that has failed him repeatedly made me feel less alone. Even up to now, Linkin Park is still one of my go-to artists when I need to let off some steam or when I feel like everything’s crashing down on me. I know I am not alone when I say that losing Chester was like losing one of your childhood friends that helped you through some of the roughest times in your life.
In honor of Chester Bennington’s death, I’d like to share my top fifteen Linkin Park songs with you. I’ve selected the songs based on how heavily I played them and then ranked them according to which ones had the most impact on me personally.
Here it goes: