Today would have been Linkin Park
singer Chester Bennington's 42nd birthday. The loss of any adored musician is painful, but losing someone like Chester, who spoke honestly and open about the pains of mental illness, isolation, and suffering, is downright brutal to think about. Chester Bennington lifted up and embraced generations of people who felt alone in the world, assuring them that someone saw them and felt the way that they felt before. There's no way to bring him back, or to make the loss any easier, but on this anniversary it helps to remember all he contributed, and 10 of his most impactful and beautiful moments.
10. "Heavy" ft. Kiiara
One More Light
-era Linkin Park didn't receive the hottest reception, with many criticizing the band's shift to more traditional pop sounds, but that's a tad ignorant of the band and Chester's versatility. As good as Chester is on his own, his power is accentuated by a chilling duet with Kiiara.
9. "BURN IT DOWN"
It's extraordinary listening to this song and realizing that even a decade after the release of the band's seminal Hybrid Theory
Chester and company were still producing and performing with the same level of intensity and skill. It was a nice reminder that Linkin Park was more than the rap-rock group that you listened to back in middle school.
8. "Breaking The Habit"
As well known as Chester was for his purging screams and cathartic hooks, there's just something so emotionally touching about his open and honest verses on "Breaking The Habit". The verse "I don't know how I got this way, I know it's not alright, so I'm breaking a habit tonight" is easily one of his best.
7. "Numb/Encore" ft. Jay Z
Don't worry, the original is on the list too, but damn if this track really didn't get you going. Jay Z and Chester Bennington were easily one of the most underrated duos in music history, and I'd give anything if it meant hearing them collaborating one more time.
6. "Bleed It Out"
As tight as Bennington and Jay were on "Numb/Encore", it just doesn't compare to the relationship that Chester and Mike Shinoda had. There might be better rap songs, hell, there's better Linkin Park examples, but the juxtaposition of Mike's raps and Chester's raw rock verses on this track is unparalleled.
5. "What I've Done"
This track definitely represents Linkin Park's transition from nu-metal, rap-rock to modern alt-rock pretty well, and as much as old heads much might resent the change, it really allowed Chester to flex his creative potential a lot more, and the highs he achieves on this track are a perfect example of that.
Okay, the remix was good, but the original is where it's at. Meteora
was the first, literally the first album that I ever purchased, and I remember the cashier looking at it and telling me what a good buy it was. Listening to this song with those words in my head I felt like the absolute coolest person in the world, discovering a wealth of music previously unknown to me.
3. "In The End"
No song better speaks to a generation of people who felt cast out and alone than "In The End". It's dark and emotionally draining, but also a reassurance that you weren't alone in feeling the way that you were feeling.
There's just something so unrefined and intense about the way Chester half scream, half sings the hook on this song. It's animalistic, and juxtaposed alongside his subdued verses it perfectly highlights the duality of power that Chester possessed.
My first introduction to Linkin Park and Chester Bennington. I remember seeing the music video for "Faint" late one night on MTV and immediately being captivated. Out of all the songs in his impressive and storied discography, Chester's raw power and emotion on "Faint" is simply unmatched.