I think it was the summer of 2004 or 2005. I am not very sure about the year. I went to a friend’s place during the summer vacation. It was long before households had access to internet, mp3. Even audio CDs were a elite affair. My friend used to buy tons of audio cassettes the relics of which can be still be found in some houses kept as a memento of the days gone by. All his music collection revolved around rock music. We just passed our board exams and our blood contained too much adrenalin. It was my friend who lent me ‘Meteora’. He said I needed to return it to him within a week so that he could lend me the another album. I was laughing inside. I knew I won’t like the songs at all. So, I might return it way before a week.
That album shook my life.
In our house, we had a big-ass music system. For weeks after that, it only played Linkin Park. My mother used to get really irritated. And I used to read the lyrics from the album booklet as the songs played on, paying no heed to what my mother had to say. It felt like all of the songs were written for me. And only for me. Teenage me used to get really surprised as to how the songwriter knew it all.
Then came ‘Minutes to Midnight’ and audio CDs. I was too broke to buy international music CDs which used to cost tons then. So I listened to LP from pirated CDs. I didn’t care about the quality of music. All I wanted was the music, the ‘wordings’.
Over the years that followed Linkin Park slowly transitioned from hard rock and explored newer avenues in music. I liked them all. It was like LP somehow knew the kind of music I would like and they were making the same kind of stuff. Linkin Park became too intimate, too personal for me. They were my own ‘My December’.
As broadband and internet connectivity slowly made its way to our house, my brother and I were hooked into videos of live LP gigs. I remember downloading a video of LP live in Milton Keyenes. It was a whopping 4.7 gigs file. Bandwidth came limited with our broadband tariff. I took couple of months to download the entire file, making intricate calculations of the remaining bandwidth and how I had to browse less and download more. That file is still with me, burned into a DVD. Till date, I spent more time watching it than all my favourite movies taken together.
Looking back at my teenage years, it was all Linkin Park and Fossils. I was too engrossed in their music, songs. I am 30 now. Even today, I could not get over them. My iPod Shuffle is only 2 gigs in size but yet it contains 4 LP albums. Listening to them is like re-living those days when I had a hard time coping with worldly affairs, making compromises. It is a refuge from all that’s happening around. It was Chester’s voice that kept me awake in late night coding streaks, took me to sleep on solitary train journeys.
Now, he is no more. I hate this morning.