I was 15 when I started listening to them. They were among the few rock bands that you could see on TV during the day. Their music spoke to my emotions, it helped me calm down my anger and understand my fears. I was a happy kid who didn’t understand much of the world and who got scared easily but I had my music to explain things, to pass time, to practice my English and not only. They were loud, my poor parents and neighbours had to bare with me raising the TV volume to a really high level. They went hand in hand with HIM for a while and Guano Apes or K’s Choice. They are a band I am still listening to now, years later, but while HIM, Guano Apes or K’s Choice didn’t appeal to a large number of people, Linkin Park seemed to be the band of a generation, the voice of a generation. After I’ve moved to Bucharest I’ve met quite a few people my age or close to it, that listened to them. We went to their concert when they played in Bucharest in 2012. I have waited eagerly for that concert and I remember wanting to listen to “Crawiling”. They didn’t play it.
“Crawling” was the first song from them that hypnotised me. The beginning of the song was so catchy and Chester’s voice screaming the chorus just to go down into such clear and calm vocals during the verses and to break down into screams again was something new and appealing. And the video was interesting to watch, the girl playing in it was beautiful and expressive and wore black eyeliner, which I did a lot those days.
“Papercut” was probably the song that got me to like them for good and forever and back then I found the video to that song quite scary, yet fascinating. This song made me go back and pay attention to “One Step Closer” as well, one of their earlier tracks, and in the end I bought their album, “Hybrid Theory” and started to listen to it on repeat. It truly became an icon for my teenage years and besides the songs that I already knew from TV, I really liked to listen to “Pushing Me Away”. It was the last song on the album and it always left me so calm, it seemed such a perfect ending for all the emotions that were expressed in those songs. Of course I filtered the songs and gave them meaning according to my feelings and even though their music is not the calmest, it always gave me such peace. It also sounded good to me, don’t get me wrong, the guys rock!
“In the End” was a song they played so much on TV that one could get sick of it. I didn’t. It’s such a good track with so good and relatable lyrics, and years later I still listen to it and they still have meaning and they still speak things out loud. Plus the piano part sounds so good! I remember leaving the TV on and going around the house and when I heard the piano part start I would return and watch the video.
Then came their next album and with it came “Numb” which is probably one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. And “Faint” and “From the Inside”. And one after the other their songs were played on the radio, on TV, in the pubs where we were hanging, they were played live in front of our eyes when we saw them performing, they ended up in my playlists. And it the end the music matters!
The news of Chester Bennington’s death a few weeks ago seemed unreal. Linkin Park have been there since I was 15, they were a band I wanted to see live again because they were worth it. I listened to their music carefully and with passion, I sang along, I transformed their meanings so I could relate to them better, to understand them better and to like them more. I hope he finds peace, may God rest his soul! He will be dearly missed, a talented artist and the voice of a generation.