Among the world’s most loved bands (at least at some point in their career), American nu-metal, rap-rock and alternative group Linkin Park seem to have arrived at a point in their career that’s buried in deep anguish all of a sudden. The suicide of their vocalist Chester Bennington last month left the music world in shock, more so for fans around the globe.
To celebrate Bennington’s inimitable vocals and the band’s hard-hitting style that took them to the top of the worldwide charts, Hard Rock Café has organised tribute nights to the band and the singer. Here is a playlist of some of his best tracks.
Among the first songs many of us would have seen on our TVs one lazy afternoon or even a late night (depending on which channel you found it on), Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory was straight-up aggression, but with an emotional weight that remained unmatched.
The sample of a string section that forms the lead melody of Faint will always be an instant indicator of how the band became innovators in rap rock – from Mike Shinoda’s quick-fire vocal verses to Benninton’s anguished shouts that were just perfect for a breakdown.
Somewhere I Belong
Beyond songs like In The End, Numb and Crawling, there were singles that Linkin Park released that often don’t get their due despite being hugely popular. Just like with Faint’s string section, there’s producer and turntablish Joe Hahn who weaves an unforgettable sample to open one of their aggro return to form.
From the Inside
The word ‘shattering’ shouldn’t be used unless absolutely necessary when you’re describing a song. This single and music video taps into Linkin Park at a point when they could weave heavy with catchy like few other bands. And of course, then there’s the signature breakdown.
Among their B-sides that arrived when fans were still waiting on new material before their third album Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park performed and released a demo version of a song that’s still referred to as Qwerty that’s all rage and fury. It shows that even their throw-away songs, which aren’t the strongest, were memorable.
When their third album Minutes to Midnight finally arrived, it showcased their climb into alternative rock, with help from veteran producer Rick Rubin. While the album had plenty of aggressive songs, the band also dived into vocal hook-driven rock that was no-nonsense.
On their harsh, industrial-rock album A Thousand Suns, there’s snarling guitar lines and huge drum blasts, but their real winner was the amazingly sparse, acoustic guitar-led closer about love and life, pushing Bennington’s soul-stirring vocals to the front in a way they’d probably never done before.
Lies Greed Misery
When Living Things came in, Linkin Park had already settled into a groove and had their own happy spot in mainstream rock and chart-topping success in general. They had made songs for films like Transformers and more, so the heavy aggro side was always something fans delighted in hearing from a band who were loved in the mainstream.
Keys to the Kingdom
The seething opener to their album The Hunting Party was undoubtedly to set the bar very high for listeners. Linkin Park were going to make a devastatingly heavy album and our ears were about to be subject to it. Bennington’s scrambled vocals instantly told us this was going to be a rager of an album.
Heavy ft Kiiara
And on their latest album, One More Light, there was a shift in the complete opposite direction compared to the guitar-led anger of The Hunting Party. A completely electronic pop album that led to Bennington trying many more vocal hooks than ever before, the first taste arrived with ‘Heavy’, a sappy number that will resonate for many years to come.
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