The Doomsday Clock has long attracted interest from the creators of pop culture, whether their artistic form of choice be the cinema, television, comic books, or, in particular it seems, rock music. Through the years, groups as disparate as Iron Maiden, The Who, Bright Eyes, and Smashing Pumpkins all sang along to the tick-tock of the Bulletin’s apocalyptic timepiece. As did the Los Angeles-area band known as Linkin Park in its 2007 album Minutes to Midnight.
The lead singer for that group, Chester Bennington, told Rolling Stone magazine that the album was “definitely a reference to the Doomsday Clock, the Apocalypse, a metaphor for death and rebirth, but it could also be applied to the music industry, sort of tongue-in-cheek.” Bennington died Thursday in Los Angeles County, apparently a suicide. He had not hidden his struggles with substance abuse, and the New York Times has published a thorough obituary, full of details about the highs and lows of Bennington’s life.
But the death of this 41-year-old vocalist—whom the Times was correct to call “ferocious”—is perhaps more appropriately (if mordantly) memorialized by the live performance of a song from Minutes to Midnight, “Given up,” which features a 17-second scream and these suddenly, utterly heart-breaking lyrics:
Wake in a sweat again
Another day’s been laid to waste
In my disgrace
Stuck in my head again
Feels like I’ll never leave this place
There’s no escape
I’m my own worst enemy
I’ve given up
I’m sick of feeling
Is there nothing you can say?
Take this all away
Tell me what the f— is wrong with me!
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