The Linkin Park song Chester Bennington struggled to sing

In the glory days of nu-metal, being a world-class singer was never a priority. Since most bands were liable to rap more often than they sang, the vocals usually took a nosedive whenever any emcee tried to show off their technical chops during any of the choruses. Although rap-metal may have had its place in history, Linkin Park had an ace up their sleeve with Chester Bennington.

Forming in California towards the end of nu-metal’s peak, Linkin Park operated as a vocal tandem, with Mike Shinoda taking on every rap verse while Bennington focused on the massive screams and clean singing that would typify the band. While the beats may have been centred around hip-hop, Bennington was unapologetically a rock and roll frontman, informed as much by the sounds of grunge as he was with artists like Metallica.

Since Bennington came late to the band, most of Hybrid Theory included him collaborating on pieces that Shinoda had already assembled. Although every song saw Bennington shrieking his guts out over heavy guitars, one of the biggest tracks from their early days gave him trouble until his final shows.

Outside of the more metallic tracks like ‘Points of Authority’ and ‘By Myself’, Bennington thought the song ‘Crawling’ was the most challenging for him. Featuring Bennington at the top of his range, the listener can practically hear the frontman’s vocal cords being put through their paces, especially on the line about feeling so insecure before coming into the chorus.

Besides being a physically demanding track, the song also features the most depressing lyrics on the album, as Bennington realises how upset he feels every time he looks in the mirror. When discussing the song, Bennington explained how demanding it was to play it night after night, recalling in an interview, “‘Crawling’ has caused me the most trouble live more than any other song. ‘Crawling’ is about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol, hence the line ‘These wounds they will not heal”.

While most of Hybrid Theory dealt with heavy themes of addiction across its runtime, ‘Crawling’ encapsulates the regret that comes with relapsing, as Bennington feels helpless at the hands of his vices. Although Bennington would have his connection to the song, it would only be a drop in the bucket for the vocal gymnastics he had to pull off in every single song.

When working on the rest of the songs, Bennington put every piece of his soul into his performances, with ‘A Place For My Head’ containing the most impassioned screaming he had ever laid down on record. Although Bennington would scream his pain onto the tape, millions of people would find solace in knowing that someone else was feeling the same way.

Despite nu-metal dying off, Linkin Park was able to transcend the genre, eventually working on projects like A Thousand Suns by taking everything they were known for and adding electronic flair to them. While most nu-metal fans went out of style the minute their audience grew up, the raw emotion behind ‘Crawling’ is why it has endured for so long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *