In The End

tl;dr: This is your typical Linkin Park post. With a lot of personal anecdotes.

What’s strange is that my iPod nano played “In The End” yesterday evening around 9pm.

A bit of context if you’re unsure. Chester Bennington, the frontman of an American nu-metal/rock band named Linkin Park, committed suicide yesterday. You’ll find out a lot more about him and his music – even reasons for his suicide through a Google search.

A senior of mine was told to take Arabic tuitions for me when I was in Grade 5, because it was my last year learning the language – since we were moving to India at the end of the year. I visited his house daily for a week before my exams, and he taught me a lot of Arabic. Especially easy ways to remember the tough words. I was extremely grateful. Arabic was the one subject that was always below a 90 for me, and had cost me 1st place in class in Grade 4. It was brutal, but I vowed to take that 1st place back in 5th Grade.

He was playing RuneScape and listening to this song I really liked, while I did some exercises. Amidst showing me what a Coco Pops bar was, this guy told me about Linkin Park. So I went home, and instead of studying, ended up listening to the entirety of Hybrid Theory – using up all my internet time in the process. Eventually I downloaded all the songs from CoolToad, and was going to buy more Sony CD-R’s to write myself a Hybrid Theory CD for my Walkman. It was stuff of legend, and the perfect way to celebrate the end of exams. By the end of the day, I knew the entire lyrics to “In the End”, one of my favourite songs.

I went to school the next day and found out the song was quite popular at school, but, we didn’t speak about it because of the serious atmosphere around exams. On the last day of exams, and my last day as a student at Dubai Scholars, my class teacher asked me if I wanted to sing anything. If you know me now, you know my voice cracked and made me sound very besura, but I was a pretty good singer back in the day – when I was young and 10 years old.

As a young kid, I thought “In The End” had fun connotations, especially about how much effort you had to put into things you had to let go of – very reflective of leaving Dubai. So I sang that to a Class of 5th graders. Bad choices, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Before leaving the UAE, my best friend bought me my blue iPod nano. And the first song I loaded onto the iPod was “In The End”. LimeWire burst onto my laptop when I came to India, so I downloaded their entire discography till that point – including the next album “Minutes to Midnight”, and listened to it at full volume. It was then that another senior from the complex introduced me to how I could add lyrics to the song (so I could read it on my iPod), and I dutifully did that for every song I downloaded. Eventually my parents realized I was listening to music at 100 volume, and made me put a volume lock that was at 25 percent. I also promised to listen to music on speakers for as long as I could – to ensure my ears didn’t go bad. So they sat through a lot of Linkin Park with me.

My first & only Frontpage designed website – the one I did as a class project in 6th Grade, involved Linkin Park greatly. It was a website that was a Wikipedia of sorts for American rock bands – I sat & created dedicated webpages that had profiles of each individual member of a band, and linked the pages to upcoming tours of the band. Linkin Park was the first page I made, because it was the band I was the most familiar with as a youngster. And Chester, the second person. Mike Shinoda got ahead because he also had the Fort Minor project going, and that was something I really liked.

Somehow it skipped me, in Grade 6, to read up about mental health in his personal life and the meaning of Linkin Park lyrics.

When the Transformers series became cult, I was more impressed with Michael Bay for bringing LP back into the limelight. And he stuck with them movie after movie. I also stumbled upon their collaboration with Jay-Z just as I got into my rap phase, and my God was I blown away. Numb/Encore was one of my top tracks for sure. Hell, at one point, my friend & I started an account on SoundCloud or something to make Linkin Park covers. The idea was also to make a YouTube channel where we played FIFA 08 to Linkin Park covers of our own. Insane ideas we never acted upon once the voice started to crack.

I didn’t like their subsequent releases, I’ll be frank. But I never let go of their music. Atleast 300MB of a 4GB iPod consists of Linkin Park. So yesterday’s news hit me hard.

A lot of people have brought to the fore how we don’t pay attention to mental health even though we lose celebrities to mental health issues. I’m surprised we need more deaths to teach us that mental health is important, and issues pertaining to mental health shouldn’t carry any social stigma with them.

I’ve never understood suicide. Sociology class tried explaining some theory behind it, but I’ll be frank. It’s a very complex emotion, to say the least. Our pop culture & our readings attempt to showcase suicide for what it is. To start some conversation. But it phases out – just like all news does.

I spent an evening on Genius verified lyrics looking at Linkin Park lyrics. Some themes I’m still getting over.

Rest in Peace, Chester Bennington. You brought to life a lot of the music I grew up listening to. I always wanted to attend a Linkin Park show live. And I always wanted to ask you how you managed some of the things you managed (like the insane vocals on Papercut, or One Step Closer, or even the long stretch you hold your voice for on In The End).

 

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