Crawling was the first music video I watched in its entirety.
Hybrid Theory was my first ever album purchase.
Faint. To this day. Gives me chills.
Chester Bennington was the first music artist's name I ever wanted to remember.
While there was usually a cultural snubbing of the band throughout their musical stages of life, many of my fellow students knew lyrics to at least one of their songs. The emotions Linkin Park evoked, while overtly heavy, were also precise. Gripping. You could sync with their frustration and feel charged by their disciplined rage.
But to me Linkin Park also represents a decade-old subculture of remixed anime YouTube videos.
Linkin Park's music definitely influenced the birthing YouTube subculture of fan made, anime-synced music videos. Before patent trolls could fight against fans through intellectual property, a surge of new users sourced Linkin Park's albums to reinvent significant scenes in some of their favorite anime series. Creative Commons advocate Larry Lessing talks about the significance of this newly developed art form in his 2007 Ted Talk The Law is Strangling Creativity. He claims:
“The culture that your kids are producing all the time...you should recognize what your kids are doing right now....Taking the songs of the day and remixing them to make something different....it's opportunity to revive the read-write culture that [John Phillips] Sousa fantasized.”
The dramatic and gut-wrenching, layered voice of Chester Bennington complimented the strong emotional struggles Toonami-viewers were used to watching every afternoon on Cartoon Network. And so many of the first YouTube videos I watched in 2005-2006 started from the fusion of my favorite bands and anime.
While these decade-old, unpolished music videos might appear trivial to highlight during the passing death of an angsty music icon, they also shine a light on the beginnings on a new way to create. And Linkin Park's music fit perfectly into the soundtracks of shows that similarly challenged their fans' emotions.
Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and Reanimation served as the soundtracks for some of YouTube's first videos. Today, Google returns nearly 300k YouTube video results for “Linkin Park” and "anime."
The video subculture that bred thousands of music videos tied to their songs, merging the anger, angst and challenges in anime, video games and other fanbases. Their songs sharpened the emotional complexities anime fans identified in their favorite shows.
These were the songs I listened to calm myself. They harmonized with my worldly frustrations, neutralizing any physical manifestation of frustration. Linkin Park's music channeled emotions you could sing in energetic solidarity with your friends.
The vulnerability Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda shared through their lyrics touched millions, and while the band's future is in the air, the impact Linkin Park held on the world and its subcultures will ripple in.
Rest in Peace Chester Bennington.