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"Hands Held High", A Reflection After 15 Years

Fuck. I just. I was winding down, right? New OT, new Marcel Vos.

Then blammo. This absolutely impeccable live performance of Linkin Park's "Hands Held High" the recently-late Chester uncharacteristically doing the backing vocals, a breathtaking performance. Just devastating. Pile of goo and uncontrollable sobbing for like half an hour so far.

Just thinking about how awful it is that 13 fucking years after that performance in London, every goddamn word is still relevant.

It was 2007. We were so tired of war. So tired of Bush. Apprehensive about...what the hell is life gonna be but just more of the same shit for another 50 fucking years? College was going to be more high school, work (if you could even get it) was going to be more college. An endless dark tunnel stretching out into the future.

Minutes to Midnight came out, and was a good, solid album. And then this song. Not even the closing track, just in the middle as real and raw as a fucking IED.

And it was just the epitome of all our feelings about everything. It resonated with the bitterness and anger and fatigue. It was distilled millennial activist.

And it is a fucking sin it is still relevant to this day. Nothing changed.

Still wrecking me 15 years later. Goddamn Mike, you perfect lyricist.

It was a lot. It immediately flashes me back to that warm fall day, my teacher scrambling to turn off the classroom TV around 9am.

To the awful mid-March evening spent curled up and bawling my soul out on the bathtub floor under the shower as the buffoon in power did what we had feared for a year.

To that afternoon I came home to my folks crying at the TV, watching another American dream break up in the high atmosphere.

To the sickening night at the space, desperate to avoid the news I knew was coming but dreaded, watching the last glimmer of hope drain from Rachel Maddow's eyes on screen.

To a month ago, watching yet again as humanity fails itself. Fails to reach even the barest levels of ascendancy.

Fifteen years. I wish I could hope that fifteen years more we will see a difference, that this song by Mike and Chester will no longer ring true.

I truly, truly wish I could hope that much anymore.