When Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was 18, he wrote the lyrics to “Sometimes,” a soulful, song about longing for better days, for his grungy first band Grey Daze.
A new video for the tune starts with a recording of a woman calling Bennington, saying she’s going through a hard time. The clip proceeds to show Bennington’s lyrics comforting her. “Maybe things will get better, maybe things will look brighter,” he screams in the chorus. And over moody strumming, he offers, “Sometimes people surprise you.”
Before the singer’s death by suicide in 2017, he had reconnected with his former bandmates and had concocted a plan to re-record the group’s hard-to-find back catalogue. The group’s drummer, Sean Dowdell, decided recently to move forward with the project and he and his bandmates cut new music to Bennington’s vocals for what will be Amends, an album whose release date was pushed back to June 26th amid coronavirus concerns.
“Chester was already a masterful lyricist at the age of 18, when he wrote this song (which was initially recorded when he was 21),” Dowdell said in a statement about “Sometimes.” “I’ve said this in prior interviews but this is one of those songs that when I hear it now, I recognize the pain Chester was living with even more acutely now that I’m an adult. As so many of Chester’s lyrics do, this message in this song, that bad things happen and that things will get better, resonates in an entirely different way with the current crisis we are all living through, and brings a message of hope.”
Earlier this year, Dowdell and Bennington’s widow, Talinda, spoke with Rolling Stone about the album and the insights it has brought to them posthumously. “I never realized until he passed how dark our lyrics were, and I know that sounds foolish,” Dowdell said. “I just had never thought of it that way. Looking back at it now, a lot of this stuff is really prophetic as to what happened in life. It kind of makes me sad when I think about some of those lyrics that we wrote together.”
“It wasn’t a formal way of making an album, the way the other studio albums he made were,” Talinda said. “When you have millions of dollars behind you from massive record labels, you have to perform in a certain way. Grey Daze gave him the freedom to just be him.”