Ever iri­des­cent

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music - By MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

CH­ESTER Ben­ning­ton’s voice is one that sound­tracked a gen­er­a­tion of rock mu­sic fans.

He was an un­der­rated, multi-faceted pow­er­house of a singer – angsty yet emo­tional, ca­pa­ble of the most ten­der of verses but could crescendo into an ear pierc­ing shriek that

One Step Closer

The song that an­nounced Linkin Park to the world. Over the glo­ri­ous head­bang-wor­thy riffs, Ben­ning­ton snarls and spits out the verses like a wounded lion wait­ing to pounce. When he fi­nally lets loose dur­ing the cho­rus, it’s a fist-punch­ing pay­off that makes you want to scream along with him. Also, there is no bet­ter way to let out your (teenage) angst scream­ing along to the “SHUT UP WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU!” bit at the end.

In The End

Linkin Park wasn’t just about Ben­ning­ton, of course. Mike Shin­oda was equally in­te­gral to its sig­na­ture sound. We’d al­ready got­ten a taste of Shin­oda’s po­tency with Paper­cut, but it was In The End that re­ally ce­mented the rap­per/singer chem­istry be­tween Shin­oda and Ben­ning­ton. It hooks you in the sec­ond that dis­tinc­tive in­tro comes on, with Ben­ning­ton whis­per­ing “It starts with ...” be­fore Shin­oda’s rap­ping kicks in, all the while with the singer in the back­ground wait­ing to break loose with that iconic cho­rus. In the end, the song turned out to be Linkin Park’s big­gest hit ever, hit­ting No. 2 on the Bill­board Hot 100 in 2002.

Numb

Re­leased in 2003, Linkin Park’s sec­ond al­bum, Meteora, went straight to No. 1 on the Bill­board Al­bum Chart. All four of its sin­gles – Some­where I Be­long, Faint, Numb and Break­ing The Habit – were solid of­fer­ings that hit No 1 on the Al­ter­na­tive Rock chart. How­ever, only Numb man­aged made many of Linkin Park’s songs per­fect for scream­ing in the car, karaoke, or when you just wanted to let off some steam.

While Linkin Park has had many iconic hits over the years, these are the five songs in which Ben­ning­ton’s vo­cals have stood out the most, whether on his own, or as part of the band’s sound. to make a ma­jor dent on the main­stream chart, go­ing to No. 11 on the Bill­board Top 100. A song about de­fy­ing parental ex­pec­ta­tions, Ben­ning­ton sounds des­per­ately vul­ner­a­ble and hurt as he sings lines like “tired of be­ing what you want me to be”. Though the later Numb/En­core col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jay Z also turned out to be a ma­jor hit, noth­ing beats the raw emo­tion of the orig­i­nal.

Shadow Of The Day

The big­gest hit on Linkin Park’s third al­bum, Min­utes From Mid­night was What I’ve Done (thanks in part to it be­ing the main theme of block­buster movie Trans­form­ers in 2007). But this soar­ing, al­most ten­der track that stands out most. It doesn’t even sound like a Linkin Park num­ber, with its (rel­a­tively) sim­ple ar­range­ment and lack of recog­nis­able hooks. How­ever, Ben­ning­ton’s vo­cals are at his most heart­felt and hope­ful in this song, al­most mak­ing you be­lieve that he had found some peace in his life at last.

The Cat­a­lyst

A Thou­sand Suns, re­leased in 2010, was ar­guably Linkin Park’s most ex­per­i­men­tal al­bum yet, with al­bum opener and lead sin­gle The Cat­a­lyst un­der­lin­ing the bands new ap­proach. Sound­ing like a prog rock/nu-metal mashup at first, it speeds up into a snarling, sav­age hur­ri­cane of a song that has both Shin­oda and Ben­ning­ton match­ing their vo­cals to perfection. Though not Linkin Park’s most recog­nis­able song, it stands out as the duo’s best vo­cal part­ner­ship in the later half of the band’s his­tory.

Photo: Warner

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