With every Linkin Park fan, I mourn the loss of Chester Bennington, co-frontman and singer of alternative music group, Linkin Park. Billboard has released an article out already, stating the confirmed report of the singer's suicide. But could we have seen his untimely death coming, especially after the release of the latest single, "Heavy"?
Growing up, I remember listening to Linkin Park on our local alternative rock station as my sister drove me to middle school. I didn't think much of band or any similar alternative music group; in fact, I couldn't stand to listen to such angsty, aggressive music. But as I've gotten older, their music has meant so much more to me and I have grown to understand and in fact, relate so strongly to much of their songwriting.
Since the late-90s/early 2000s, Linkin Park has been chart-tops for alternative rock groups across the globe. The pairing of Bennington's exposed lyrics and enticing, lurid vocals and co-frontman, Mike Shinoda's rapping crafted together was a brilliant concoction of misery and songwriting brilliance.
After the success of a Billboard 200 chart-topper, Linkin Parks' "Heavy" featuring Kiiara, we heard the frustration within the lyrics and were happy to see the acclaimed rock group partnering with an emerging indie singer-songwriter/producer. I am one of many fans that love to see such collaborations in the music industry.
But if we pay attention to those lyrics in "Heavy" and especially, watch the music video, this is no single the music duo planned to be as some sort of mental health anthem or huge success on the charts.
Bennington starts off saying, "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."
Easily in this opening verse, I know he is referring to his severe depression and mental health obstacles. The chorus doesn't shy away from his inner demons, ready to almost let go of life for the release of pain that has yet to come.
"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"
In the video, Bennington is seen attending an AA or similar support group, with Kiiara, sitting and trying to make herself invisible as she keeps her hood up and avoids confrontations. At one point, as Chester speaks of feeling that the world is out to get him, lashes out to another guy, then quickly runs to the men's bathroom. Flashes of himself sitting at home, trying to reason with the paranoid Chester intercut between scenes as the alter-ego Chester snaps into the present moment, dragging him down to the ground, trying to make himself get a grip of his reality and deep frustrations.
Kiiara, the on-looker in the meeting, watches Chester rush out of the room. After a few minutes, she decides to go check up on him, opening the bathroom door to see the dishevelment and crouches down to prove moral support for the exhausted Chester.
After hearing this song again and paying much more attention to detail, this song speaks more than any chart-topper or award could speak. This was a gift to Bennington's fans, a suicide note, an apology for unavoidable, inner frustrations that poisoned his mind. And this process haunts a lot of artist and non-artist going through the same struggles.
It's important to look beyond music today. Songs like "Heavy", there's more meaning behind the music today then there ever was. I never understood what feelings or life experiences Linkin Park shined a light on until I got older and became an artist and writer, but I hope those that aren't see notice these things.
Let's not take songs for granted. Don't push "Play" because it sounds great. Be more than a fan. Pay attention to what 'gifts' these artist put out in the word and share similar thoughts.