Months before Chester Bennington tragically passed away from suicide, he was working on a song with Mark Morton called “Cross Off.” Almost a year and a half later, the track is finally out, and its lyrics are very cryptic, almost relating to how the singer died.
In the tune, Chester immediately starts singing “Cross off the days,” before bursting into a full heavy metal tone and finishing the lyric with “gone by,” which becomes a significant theme throughout — eliminating the past. From there, the late musician sings: “Wasting away an inflicted slow decay/what should’ve been/what never was/became the end for both of us.” That verse stands out in particular because Chester often dealt with mental health issues internally, which led him to take his own life by hanging on July 20, 2017.
In the chorus, the Linkin Park vocalist touches on confrontation, as well as a farewell. “So black out and hide behind the lines/Keep staring down the sun and hope the light will finally blind your eyes from seeing/Cross off the days gone by,” he roared. Since the sun is bright, it can represent something positive and perhaps the singer was trying to see this goodbye or escape as a good thing, erasing all the memories.
After the chorus, Chester sings: “Cutting you free/The phantom lime was part of me/You have lived/You have lost/The separation’s worth the cost,” which can be interpreted as him talking about himself or his life. In this line, he sums up the good and the bad, and gives us the chills with the last part when he claims disconnecting makes it all worth it.
Towards the end of the heavy track, Chester gets amped up as he shows off his famous screaming singing style and contradicts himself by revealing a vulnerable side lyrically.
He gets pretty direct and opens up about his own battles: “Making my way back from the madness/Shifting my thoughts from the blackness/And the sadness/But the fact is/I’m swinging through life like a clenched fist/F-ck sanity/I want to bleed/Can’t kill the the pain/It’s everything/It’s all I feel/It’s what I breathe/Turn the hate I breed into what I need.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.