It was hard not to read too much into the lyrics to Linkin Park‘s “Heavy” when the song was released earlier this year as the first taste of May’s One More Light album. The emotional electro-rock collabo with Kiiara found singer Chester Bennington asking “I’m holding on/ Why is everything so heavy?”
For many fans the track has instantly become a kind of aural security blanket, something to hold on to and play on repeat in grief as they mourn the loss of Bennington, who died of a suspected suicide on Thursday (July 20) at age 41. LP’s albums are littered with songs about depression, struggle and battles against demons, from within and without.
Bennington was an open book when it came to the darkness he wrestled with, from talking about depression, anxiety and substance abuse, to revealing that he was molested by an older man over several years when he was a child. In the wake of his death an interview he gave to Music Choice in February has resurfaced, shedding further light on the painful inspiration for the song.
Bennington explained that all of the songs on the album began with conversations about what was going on in the band members’ lives at the time, some of which he tagged as “heavy stuff.” Even when life is good, he said, he’s uncomfortable “all the time, so his goal was to just live life on life’s terms and not just try to be happy all the time.
“My whole life, I’ve just felt a bit off,” Bennington said in one of the Music Choice clips. “I find myself getting into these patterns of behavior and thought — especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]. I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighborhood, and I should not go walking alone.'” Bennington was forthright in pinpointing the location of many of his struggles. “Most of my problems are problems that I cause myself,” he said. “That’s what that song’s about — that time when you consciously look at that. Once you acknowledge what it is, you can separate yourself from it and do something about it, as opposed to just being in it.”
Watch the interviews: