On Losing Chester Bennington — The Unlikely Titan

Truthfully, Linkin Park was never “that band” for me.

They’ll never crack a personal Top 5 list. They’ll never be debate fodder between my close friends. They’ll never be considered a ground-breaking signature sound in my little nook of the universe.

And yet, I still recall every detail behind my first hearing of Hybrid Theory. I remember rushing on my bicycle to Wal-Mart to snag a copy with my allowance. I fondly reminisce about jamming out to that album in my best friend’s driveway while shooting hoops.

At 12 years old, Hybrid Theory was the perfect rocking-and-rapping-revolution we teenage boys didn’t realize were thirsty for — it became a turning point. It was seminal.

Cliche as it sounds, the truth remains — Linkin Park connected so many of my adolescent peers — we discovered previously unacknowledged common ground. And I still carry droves of lyrics in my head.

In the aftermath of the past 24 hours, it feels as though losing Bennington has rattled more of my personal friends/peers/collaborators than any yet I’ve seen. This one feels different; hurts deeper. It’s personal. Another reminder of humanity’s struggle and simultaneous thirst for connection.

Like it or not, this is a devastating blow to whole generation. A generation of young people who found an authentic voice of emotion, coping, and the one-day-at-a-time battle in Bennington. A generation that understands the depth behind sharing a song or playlist with another better than any other. A generation who’s lives are on display in more ways than one. My generation.

Music has way of haunting us with reminders we should never forget and healing the hurts we otherwise thought too deep. The potent beauty of it — the music — survives, even when its vessels do not.

Indeed, Hybrid Theory feels a bit heavier now.

Writer | Podcaster | Marketing Strategist | #BeAMaker