I was really looking forward to talking to y’all about how I'm not going to FYF Fest this weekend and Raf Simons’ new collection he showed this week, but there I feel there is nothing else I could open this week’s letter with other than the news that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park is dead. Reports state he died by suicide in his Los Angeles home this week.
A friend sent me a text asking if I had heard about Chester, and my first thought was he had been in an accident or diagnosed with a disease - but nothing could have prepared me for this. It’s all still fresh and doesn’t feel real.
So, I took a few breaths before I started to silently grieve at my desk. The loss of Prince and Bowie felt much different - they were legends of another space and time. Chester’s impact hit me so much harder as he was a huge presence in my life during my tween years.
Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory came out when I was just 10 years old. When my best friend in 6th grade introduced me to “In the End,” as corny as it sounds, I felt I had listened to music that ‘spoke’ to me for the first time ever. Being 11 years old in middle school with vicious bullies who verbally abused you wasn’t easy, but like most angsty teens who turn to music to find meaning for their existence, I found a way to cope by obsessively listening to Hybrid Theory and scribbling down a lot of poetry in my locked diaries from Claire’s.
As I matured through middle school, my love for Linkin Park never waned. My identity became synonymous with Linkin Park - I talked about them all the time, purchased all of their CDs and DVD sets, ordered my first book online through Barnes & Noble for their coffee table book. I tuned into every damn interview or Making the Video they had scheduled on MTV or FUSE. These dudes shaped my worldview at such an impressionable age: Linkin Park, particularly Chester and Mike Shinoda (who are inarguably the mouthpieces of the band), introduced me to loads of new music, and showed compassion through their extensive charity work.
Young, anxious teen me cared so much about Linkin Park because Linkin Park’s music became a reflection of myself. Their sound reflected my feelings, their lyrical content resonated with my own dark thoughts - Linkin Park truly were a revolutionary and game-changing sound for music at the turn of the millennium. I know it’s become a mockery in retrospect within the last few years - that entire “nu metal” genre of gritty rap rock with overproduced bionic beats. Laugh all you want: Linkin Park were a cornerstone for a major shift in the sound of mainstream rock.
I’m so grateful to have grown up with Linkin Park. I’m so grateful to have admired Chester for being open about his own depression and personal traumas.
Rest easy, man.
If you or someone close to you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feel like there is nobody you can turn to, please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Lines are open 24/7.
Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too.
As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.
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“Virtue” - Kllo | What a breath of fresh air. “Virtue” is Kllo’s first single off their forthcoming debut album, and it’s a blissful, euphoric UK garage bop. Sounds very much like candy floss, and that feeling you get when you’re sipping a ginormous margarita whilst floating down a lazy river. Listen here
“That’s The Way It Is (Survival of the Sickest)” - Rude GRL | BRAT POP CONTINUES TO THRIVE! Rude GRL are Ben Langmaid (formerly????) of La Roux and the very talented MC Jenna Dickens. They’re absolutely killing it on their DEBUT single with this Run-D.M.C. sample on a hyperloop smeared in Vaseline. That lo-fi charm sounds a bit like a long lost J.J. Fad demo tape unearthed from a dusty attic in Wales. It’s the first release off RAT BOY’s new label SCUM RECS. What a damn bar to set. Listen here
“Real Thing” (Jim-E Stack Remix) - Lower Dens | Imagine: Ra Ra Riot singing a sad-ballad with a Prince twist. Lower Dens typically sound much more like a dreamy-pop The Walkmen, but this Jim-E Stack remix has “Real Thing” emerge as a strong contender for a Drive sequel soundtrack. Listen here
“Frontier” - Queue | Love me some dreamy, 90s indie rock inspired tunes with a female lead vocalists. “Frontier” is a brash, frenetic whirlwind of a song. Best bit: when the subtle tambourine jumps in the chorus. While rattled with layers upon layers of noise, it’s a tightly crafted instrumental with no second wasted between each wavering guitar string. It’s a good amount of busy, like a beaded Alexander McQueen gown. Quality tunage, y’all. Listen here
“TTYN” - vivienxo | Sometimes I wish Carly Rae Jepsen could just spit it out and casually slip a grandiose “fuck you” into one of her seemingly endless catalogue of bops. Instead, Jepsus remains the Queen of Keeping Things PG, but I can’t complain since she never misses the mark on crafting a pop hit. Since Jespsus has yet to deliver it so blatantly, cue vivienxo dishing up one fantastic anti-fuckboi anthem we were WAITING to hear on the EMOTION B-sides album. Listen here
DECLAN MCKENNA’S DEBUT ALBUM WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CAR? IS OUT AND YOU SHOULD REALLY PRIORITIZE LISTENING TO IT Listen here
Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life album is out now. She has two songs with A$AP Rocky and one song with Stevie Nicks. Twitter is buzzing about this, so if you wanna but up on The Culture... Listen here
Louis Tomlinson (of One Direction, because I have a moral obligation to always report their wearabouts in solo careers [Speaking of; Harry Styles’ acting debut opens this weekend in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and appaz Hazza does surprisingly well in his role, and you should see it on IMAX but definitely take a Xanax beforehand - this is all hearsay]) has a new solo single with Bebe Rexha called “Back To You.” Was really hyped because the promo aesthetic and the instrumentals are DOPE. Ultimate verdict: it’s a country folk ballad dressed in Ventements Listen here
GO ANALOGUE, BABY!!! Sabrina Carpenter continues to follow in Selena Gomez’s Disney-star-to-pop-star footsteps with her newest banger “Why” (which I’m high key in love with). She shared the music video for it on Wednesday starring her and Casey Cott (aka, Kevin Keller from the hit TV show ~Riverdalé~), and my favorite bit in the video is them eating Chinese in candlelight. Watch here
If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal July 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.
A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.
See you next week!