History of Linkin Park
Linkin Park is a band which plays in multiple genres like alternative rock, nu metal, alternative metal, rap rock and electronic rock. But, it is better known as an alternative rock band. Three high school friends Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson from Agoura Hills, California first formed the band in 1996. Despite their hard work, the band couldn’t hit any major record deal. Xero, which was the name of the band in the beginning, started to fall apart. Due, to the rise in tension in the band, then vocalist Wakefield quit the band in search of other projects. But, Mike Shinoda was not ready to give up his hope. He advertised for a vacancy of vocalist. And luckily Chester Bennington approached him. Bennington had been the lead vocalist for Grey Daze. He left the band due to the difference of the taste in music between the band members.
After Bennington joined the band, they decided to change the band’s name from Xero to Hybrid Theory. Chester and Mike started to bond well with vocals and together started to create extraordinary music which helped revive the band. But, the bands new name Hybrid theory conflicted with the name of a Welsh band Hybrid, so they decided to change their name to Linkin Park. Initially, they wanted the band’s name to be Lincoln Park, but they could not acquire the internet domain name for it. So, they choose Linkin Park instead, thinking it sounded unique and even better than Lincoln Park (Leahey, n.d.).
Although the hard work and great chemistry between the vocalists Bennington and Shinoda, Linkin Park still could not sing a record deal. They turned to Jeff Blue for help, who was the vice president of Warner Bros. Records. He helped the band to sign their first record deal with Warner Bros. In October 24, 2000 Linkin Park released Hybrid Theory which was the breakthrough project of the band. The album represented the bands half a decade of hard work and was a huge success selling 4.8 million copies in the debut year (Leahey, n.d.). It was named the bestselling album of 2001 and the singles such as “One Step Closer” and “Crawling” were recognized as the one of the major standard alternative rock songs of all time (“Got Charts?”, 2002).
After the huge success of their debut album Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park released their second album called Meteora in 2003. It was also a huge hit. According to the billboards hits chart history Linkin Park’s Meteora peaked at number 1 in the year 2003 in terms of the albums sold that year (“Linkin Park Chart History”, n.d.). “Linkin Park’s ‘Meteora’ makes a crater-like impact on The Billboard 200, crashing onto the chart at No. 1. The Warner Bros. set sold 810,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, the third-best sales week of 2003.” (“Linkin Park’s ‘Meteora’ Crashes Chart at No. 1”, 2013). One of the popular songs of the album was Breaking the Habit.
Origin of Breaking the Habit
Breaking the habit is one of the amazing song from the album Meteora by Linkin Park. Originally, this song was meant to be a sound track. Mike Shinoda created it as a ten-minute-long instrumental track. The band members found the track amazing and requested Mike to turn it into a song. Mike agreed with the band’s decision and together they worked one the song. Mike tried to merge that song with the lyrics project he had been working on for almost half a decade. And with the help of the fellow band mates, Mike made some changes to the lyrics. Together they created one of the most inspiring song of the time which everybody could relate to. The song was a huge success.
Linkin Park makes it five for five as its ‘Breaking the Habit’ moves 2-1 on the Modern Rock chart, extending the group’s record at the format for most No. 1s from a single album.The five modern chart-toppers from the album ‘Meteora’ have spent 27 weeks at No. 1 thus far, which is three shy of the record for most weeks at No. 1 from one album (Pietroluongo, Patel, &Jessen, 2004).
The song wants the target audience, who are mostly the depressed individuals, to know that they are not the only one with those depressing feeling and to fight it.
Breaking the Habit Analysis
Instrumental analysis. The song starts with an interlude followed by the keyboard and sharp electronic beats. The drum tracks in the song seem to have a chirp glitch which was un-noticed until the song was mixed. In the end of the song there is the sound of the solder’s march. Similarly, live strings and piano play throughout the song. There are some simple dubstep beats by the bands DJ Joe Hahn as well. The song is mostly played in minor chords. The intro is played at E minor, C and B minor chords. The song is in high tempo but in the same pace throughout the song. Overall, all the instruments are organized and synchronized in the perfect way possible.
Lyrical analysis. Breaking the habit is a song about a person who is fighting depression and having suicidal thoughts. It depicts someone who constantly tries to hurt oneself due to the depression and loneliness. Almost all the people with emotional and physical abuse and struggle can relate to it. The song starts with Chester singing first verse. It says, “Memories consume, like opening the wound. I’m picking me apart again” the persons memories are all filled with pain and whenever he thinks about his past he starts to hurt inside. The person portrayed in this song, seems to have an awful past and lots of regrets.
“You all assume, I’m safe here in my room, unless I try to start again” This is one of my best lines in the song. This line has multiple meanings depending on the emotional and psychological state of the person listening to this song. The person without depression or frustration may view this line as a person trying to trick people by pretending that he is fine and later doing despicable things like drugs, hurting themselves and whatnot. But in the other hand, the person dealing with depression may relate to the lyric and may view it as a cry for help. And that the person acting fine and normal might be dying inside due to depression and needs help.
In the Pre-Chorus the lyric says, “I don’t want to be the one, the battles always choose, cause inside I realize, chat I’m the one confused”. This means the person is hurting himself against his will. The line “I don’t want to be the one, the battles always choose” might mean he is the one who usually gets bullied. He is depressed due to different unfortunate things in his life and is wondering and confused why it had to be him. He did not choose to be that way but cannot help it. So, he hurts himself to stop thinking about it.
The chorus is the main part of the song where the person’s emotions and psychological state are portrayed. The character in the song is clearly depicted as a person with suicidal thoughts. The time when Mike and Chester wrote this song, they both were going through tough times in their lives. Together they wrote this song to express their feelings. The line “I don’t know what’s worth fighting for or why I have to scream” means the person does not even want to fight their suicidal thoughts and he thinks that it will consume him one day no matter what.
“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.” this is the line which says the person is fed up with his life. He knows he is not sane. So, he is going to end his miserable life. One might argue that breaking the habit means he is going to find help since the lyrics clearly says he knows he is not fine. But, in the song, it is also said that he has tried and failed to fight his thoughts and cannot find a way to surpass them. So, the line, “I’m breaking the habit tonight” means he is going to end his life tonight. At the end of the song there is a bridge that says “I’ll never fight again, and this is how it ends” which clearly means he is going to end his life.
Linkin Park have multiple songs similar to Breaking the Habit like “Numb”, “From the Inside” and “Nobody’s listening”. One of their major song about someone struggling with depression is “Crawling”. It one of their major hits. The chorus of Crawling says “crawling in my skin these wounds, they will not heal. Fear is how I fall, confusing what is real.” The chorus of Crawling is somewhat similar to the chorus of Breaking the habit. They both talk about an individual who thinks things are never going to be the same and the thoughts inside them will consume them someday.
Chester Bennington’s Death
Chester Bennington was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California. The LA County Coroner said Bennington apparently hanged himself. His body was found at 9:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on July 20, 2017. In an interview with Los Angeles station FOX 11, his wife said, “It was nobody’s fault, but the years of untreated mental health”. Chester’s band mate Mike Shinoda shared the news of his death through twitter. “Chester had previously struggled with drugs and alcohol, according to the Associated Press. He was also close friends with Chris Connell of Soundgarden, who committed suicide in May.” (Caulfield, 2017).
The lyrics he wrote clearly reflected his psychological and emotional status and that he had been victim of depression which finally got the best of him. In April 2017, while promoting Linkin Parks tour in London, Bennington opened up during a Q&A session. He admitted to “hating the world”, adding: “I had a song in my phone at the start of the process called I Hate the World Right Now.” With and interview with Kiss FM Chester agreed that he often has hard times in his life where he keeps struggling with the certain depressive feelings. He even said that he had bad thoughts in his mind and should not be left alone to wander inside it.
Chester’s actions were comparable to the lyrics of the songs “Breaking the Habit”. Even though he seemed fine, deep down he was depressed. Should his family and close friends had recognized his cry for help? Or were there no patterns to his suicide? A person’s actions can reflect his feeling better than his actual words. Chester did cry for help in that interview and he could have been saved from his own destructive minds. Linkin Parks new album was released in May 2018, two months before the death of Chester.
The album has certain songs which Chester wrote like “Heavy” and “Talking to Myself”. Both the songs clearly express that he is utterly depressed and needed help. We should always care about the actions of our closed ones, even the smallest ones. It could be one of our family or close friend who is in the verge of depression and require our help. We must let them know that suicide is never and option and there are too many things to live for. We can prevent someone from ending their life just by letting them know they are not alone. And that, suicide is not the answer!
- Pietroluongo, S., Patel, M., & Jessen, W. (2004, August 28). Linkin Park: Its ‘Habit’ Is Breaking Records. Retrieved from https://eps.cc.ysu.edu:3248/ehost/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=27332e5c-4907-411d-8f86- [email protected] sessmgr03&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVpZCZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2N vcGU9c2l0ZQ==#AN=14232988&db=a9h
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- Shinoda, M. (2017, July 20). Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one [Twitter Post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/mikeshinoda/status/888112045190561793?lang=en
- A. (n.d.). MODERN ROCK. Billboard. Retrieved from https://eps.cc.ysu.edu:3248/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=8e9beea1-dcfb-4283-add6- f069a745c53d%40sessionmgr4007&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVpZCZzaXRlPWV ob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=14094725