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You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
We Laughed At It All. 
5th-Aug-2017 01:02 pm
we'll be the darkness
I posted a thread about Chester Bennington on an anonmeme and got some nice replies, so I'm going to link it here in case I ever want to look back at it. (I'm not good at being anonymous. I was thinking 'isn't it weird to link to something I posted anonymously?' and then thought 'well, it's not as if anyone who happened across that thread wouldn't have been able to guess it was me.') It felt really good to celebrate his music, rather than just mourning his death.

So I'm going to do some more celebration of his music here! Two songs for each of Linkin Park's seven studio albums, one popular (more than ten million views on the official Linkin Park YouTube channel) and one more obscure (fewer than five million). Compiling this list really made me realise how varied Linkin Park's output has been.

Hybrid Theory:

The musical love of my life when I was twelve or thirteen years old! I never actually owned a copy of my own, but I'd insist that my friend put it on whenever I went over to her house. It's a little less polished than Meteora, but I have a lot of nostalgia tied up in this album.

Popular: It has to be In the End, doesn't it? The piano riff really makes it. God, look at that video. They were all so young. Chester looks so good when he's singing in isolation on a weird CG tower. Apparently Chester didn't actually like this song at first and didn't want to include it on the album, and was a bit 'wow, okay, nobody trust my opinion again' when it turned out to be incredibly popular.

Obscure: Forgotten. This isn't a track people often think of when they think of Hybrid Theory (one could even say it's been forgotten), but it's actually my favourite song on the album. Not a big fan of the abrupt beginning, but I love every other aspect of it. I love the way Mike's lines are slightly layered over each other in the verses. I love the 'in the memory you'll find me' chorus (I almost always end up singing along with it when I listen to this). I love Chester's 'oooooooooooh's towards the end.


oh God this is already an impossible task, all their music is just so good, how the hell am I supposed to choose between 'Numb' and 'Faint' and 'Breaking the Habit'

Popular: It wrenches me not to say 'Numb', which is a strong candidate for my absolute favourite Linkin Park song, but everyone's heard it already, so let's go with Faint instead. The energy, the anger, the violins! Possibly their sexiest song? I don't know what makes it sexy in my head, but somehow it's sexy. But also I'm going to sneak a link to Numb in here, because it's the best. Until I rediscovered Linkin Park in February, 'Numb' and 'Leave Out All the Rest' were the only post-Hybrid Theory songs of theirs I'd listened to, and I had listened to them approximately twenty million times.

Obscure: Lying From You. There are two types of Linkin Park song. There are songs like 'What I've Done' and 'In My Remains' and 'The Little Things Give You Away', which I'm in love with before I've finished hearing them for the first time. And then there are songs like this, where I listen and go 'huh, not sure this one works for me', and then a few days later I find it stuck in my head and I'm compelled to listen to it five times in a row. Took me a while to warm up to this, but I warmed up a lot.

Minutes to Midnight:

This was the point at which Linkin Park went 'okay, we've made two albums with a similar sound and we are NOW BORED, time to do something different, no songs that actually sound like what people would expect from us allowed.' The result might possibly be my favourite Linkin Park album, although Meteora is also a strong contender. There are a lot of songs I love on here.

Popular: What I've Done. Well, obviously I wasn't going to be able to resist a song about atonement. This was one of the first songs I heard from their later work, and I really love it. Great tune. Great intro, but that almost goes without saying on a Linkin Park song. Excellent use of piano and 'na na na'ing.

Obscure: The Little Things Give You Away. Chester's associated with his screaming, but this is a quiet, slowly building song that really lets him show off the singing side of his voice. I assumed at first that it was a song about a messed-up relationship and the drowning was a metaphor. Nope. Absolutely literal drowning. It's a song about the US government's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. I was slightly bowled over when I learnt this. That's a very weighty topic for your song!

A Thousand Suns:

This is what I've previously referred to as 'their concept album about nuclear war, designed to be listened to from beginning to end, which they released in 2010 because they're maniacs'. Obviously, as the songs on here weren't written to be listened to individually, not all of them really stand alone, but there are a handful I'll happily listen to by themselves.

Popular: Waiting for the End. One of the many, many Linkin Park songs that are a bit of a hard listen now. The day after the news about Chester broke, I was trying to mow the garden and kept breaking into tears because this song was stuck in my head. Like 'Lying From You', I wasn't sure about this on a first listen, and then it grew on me to the point where I'll happily play it over and over again. I love the way Chester and Mike's parts start out separate and end up woven together by the end.

Obscure: The Messenger. I'm linking to a live performance here, rather than the studio version; the studio version is good, but I love the more gentle way Chester sings it live. A more hopeful song than much of Linkin Park's work. This was another song that emotionally wrecked me after Chester's death. Remember you're loved, and you always will be.

Living Things:

I just looked up the list of songs on this album and went 'wait, are all of these songs really on the same album? Are you sure?' A very varied album! My song blurbs for this are a bit short, but that's not because I don't love the songs; I really do. It's just that I couldn't think of much to say about them beyond 'I love these!'

Popular: Castle of Glass. Look, it's basically impossible for me to resist a song where they start quietly and then rock out. Highly satisfying guitars.

(EDIT: Actually, let's add a bonus extra track: Burn It Down. Somewhere along the line, this entry became a celebration of the variety of Linkin Park's music as well as a celebration of Chester Bennington's voice, so it seems wrong not to include one of their dance songs. I wasn't sure about this the first time I heard it, and then I had it stuck in my head for the entire next day. Love it now.)

Obscure: In My Remains. The beat is so catchy! It's difficult for me to listen to this without dancing in my seat.

The Hunting Party:

There are a handful of songs on this album I haven't heard yet, so it's possible better choices exist. Now that Chester's gone, I feel I'm holding back on listening to everything, trying to save a few songs for the future.

Popular: Guilty All the Same. This just makes me feel so cool. Love the riff, love the 'you're trying to weasel your way out of this and we're just staring you down like a pack of wolves' feel of it. Tell us all again what you think we should be. If I ever become a vigilante crimefighter (unlikely), I'm going to listen to this to pump myself up whenever I'm preparing for some crimefighting.

Obscure: A Line in the Sand. This is such a varied song! I love the way it gradually builds up from Mike's soft singing to Chester's YOU'RE GONNA PAY FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE. Some of my favourite Linkin Park lyrics, too.

One More Light:

A controversial album! It's not my favourite thing Linkin Park's done, but I loved seeing them experiment with different styles, and it's got some songs I really enjoy.

Popular: Good Goodbye. I first heard this at the gig I went to, which was a fantastic evening, so it's possible I'm biased! But I love the chorus, both the lyrics and the tune, and the contrast with the rapped verses.

Obscure: Sharp Edges. Chester put this in his personal top three Linkin Park songs, along with 'Breaking the Habit' and 'Papercut', so it seems right to link it here. It's an unusual Linkin Park song in many ways - it's an acoustic guitar and Chester's voice and not much else; it actually feels a bit country - but I enjoy it a lot. Another in the 'I wasn't sure at first, but it's grown on me' category.

As a bonus, my favourite non-Linkin Park song by Chester: Inside of Me, Dead by Sunrise. I love the pace and energy and ferocity of it, and I find it really difficult to resist a well-timed 'whoa-oh'.

I'm also pretty sad that this apparently never became a full-length song. 'Down on the fairytale path, there is a wizard awaiting you...'

So many songs in this entry, and it barely scratches the surface of Chester Bennington's contribution to music. Sometimes I can hardly believe he was a real person. He once broke his wrist at the start of a live show and went right on singing for the next hour. What a guy.

If you're particularly fond of any of his songs, incidentally, I'd be interested to hear about them!
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