When listening to a Linkin Park album, fans aren’t just getting music, they're getting a look inside Bennington’s very soul.
As a teenager, I remember blasting his music and letting his words fill my room as I would try to sing along. I found it incredibly brave how vulnerable he was through music and how he sang with such intensity—it was freeing. Whether it was on stage or in the studio, Bennington’s regrets, hopes, and demons were all laid out for the entire world to judge, or, in the best cases, to gain inspiration.
In loving memory of Chester Bennington, the man who helped us slay our own demons, below are five of Linkin Park’s most inspiring songs to encourage those in recovery:
1. "Part of Me"
Although overall a somber piece, “Part of Me” tops the list because of its third verse:
Freedom can be frightening if you've never felt it
Once it's been dealt with you feel like you've been touched by something angelic
And then melted down into a pool of peace
Cease to be the animal you used to be
Remove the broken parts you know were wrong
And feel the calm when the problem's all gone
And then you start to see another piece of yourself that you can't let be
Memories of the last fight to free yourself
Take it to the depths of the bottom of the well
And now you know you can choose to lose the part in your heart
Where your insides bruised
You can live if you're willing to
Put a stop to just what's killing you
In it, Bennington acknowledges a tremendous truth in actually fearing freedom and provides a powerful message to help sober fearful minds—it’s our choice to carry these hurts or to lay them to rest.
2. "Breaking the Habit"
What would an inspiring Linkin Park playlist be without this hit from Meteora?
Easily one of the most famous songs sung by Bennington, "Breaking the Habit" is a ballad empowering listeners to stop destructive behaviors. This song gets bonus points for, once again, offering the perspective of choosing our habits with these lines:
I don't know how I got this way
I know it's not alright
So I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit tonight
Whether you’ve heard this song once or one thousand times, Bennington’s promise of “breaking the habit” can resonate with each of us. If you’re tempted to do something you will regret, throw this tune on and use it as a tool to commit to yourself. Just promise to never give up on you.
3. "What I’ve Done"
Regret is one of the most difficult emotions humans can experience. It’s hard to forgive ourselves after knowing we’ve hurt those we love. But, in order to heal, it’s necessary. Bennington sings:
For what I've done
I start again
And whatever pain may come
Today this ends
I'm forgiving what I've done
These words are a refreshing reminder to release ourselves of resentment, guilt, or shame for our actions.
4. "Somewhere I Belong"
At the end of the day, we all want to know we have a home. Not just a place to hang our coats, but a place or person who we can be ourselves with; someone who loves us at our worst and accepts us at our best. All in all, we just need to know we aren’t alone in this world.
This song does well to point out that, even though it may be in silence, there are others who share our struggles. Take courage hearing these words and know you’re not “crazy” or “insane,” and above all, you’re certainly not alone in this, no matter what your feelings tell you.
Another power play in this song is the way Bennington cries out for what we all long for—freedom from hurts and pains that old wounds have left behind:
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long (Erase all the pain 'til it's gone)
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
Like I'm close to something real
I want to find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I belong
Once in recovery, it’s especially important to remember you never belonged in a place of addiction. Your home may feel uncomfortable for a while because the new you will take some getting used to. Put on this song and learn to feel home in your own skin—the one place you belong.
5. "Starting to Fly"
Let this song take you far away as you envision pure blue skies and a calm so deep it soothes you to sleep. No matter what our feelings tell us, we need to always carry the truth that we can’t escape ourselves. We will always have our baggage, but what we can do is confront our inner conflicts head-on. We can acknowledge and accept what’s within us and use the darkness to shape us into something we would never become without it—the best version of ourselves. That is how we get our wings, we become who we want to be instead of letting our pasts define us.
I think Bennington said it best here:
I'm alright though it's hard to feel
Open your eyes some place far away
I've seen the ocean and I've seen the sky
I've got my wings and I'm starting to fly
Even though you were not able to see the truth in your words that we wished you would, they will undoubtedly live forever in our hearts and continue pushing us through.