POST TRAUMATIC IS A SPECTACULAR POST-TRAUMATIC ALBUM. A HEALING RECORD.
Mike Shinoda released his new album Post Traumatic, today, and is being consumed by many eager fans right now. The album starts with the three tracks he released as the EP a few months back, opening with ‘Place to Start’ – a really obvious and perfect introduction to his journey. However, like many Linkin Park fans, ‘Over Again’ is where it truly starts. We relate to it in a very anomalous way. Let’s face it, we didn’t know Chester Bennington, and yet, like Shinoda, we’re grieving. Listening to this track, absorbing the sound, the lyrics, in a silent space, you can truly hear that he was living it as he was recording it. You feel the build up of the grief. In the chorus you have the sadness and the pain. In the verses you have the anger and the fear. This track is perhaps the rawest for me.
Shinoda hasn’t shied away from exposing his vulnerabilities on his online platforms or in his music, which is something I have a lot of respect for. As his third track, ‘Watching as I Fall’ stipulates, everybody is watching his actions, and watching his reactions.
‘My inside’s out, my left is right, my upside’s down, my black is white, I hold my breath, I close my eyes, and wait for dawn, but there’s no light.’ – ‘Nothing Makes Sense Anymore’
Although Shinoda’s solo sound is somewhat different to that of Linkin Park’s, his ability to write a memorable chorus is incredible, and the music itself is emotive. I’m not a fan of instrumentals, I like lyrics to relate to (and shout out, at the top of my lungs, in the car), or to understand the narrative of the author, but Shinoda has captivated me with his instrumental ‘Brooding’, I was right there with him, I could feel that sense of being inside myself, the many voices, questions, anxieties.
There is definitely a lost and found element to this album. He’s lost direction, he’s finding direction. He’s lost his friend, he’s rediscovering himself. He lost control, he regains control. It really is a roller-coaster.
‘And they’ll tell you I don’t care anymore, and I hope you’ll know that’s a lie…this is not a goodbye now, I’m not going away, no I don’t have the answers, but I do have the faith.’ – ‘Crossing a Line’
The album also feels like a message to the Linkin Park family, and perhaps to his friends and family too.
‘I’m just trying to hold my shit together, together, darlin’ ‘ – ‘Hold it Together’
Shinoda’s ‘Hold it Together’ track is something that many of us have felt, and it’s so encouraging almost, to have someone else feel the same way – but then again, that’s what bonded the Linkin Park family in the first place. Throughout the past six months particularly, Shinoda has been helping many fans hold their shit together, as much as I think the fans have helped him.
‘So I play along, I nod my head when they say I’m wrong, but each night falls and away I run, on the other side until the daylight comes.’ – ‘Ghosts’
The album contains some amazing collaborations, but K. Flay is my favourite – what a voice! It pierces your soul. The album, as a whole, exudes a strong emotional charge, and even the track that I was least impressed by, ended up winning me over by the end of the 2:43. Don’t hate on me, I rarely like every track on an album. To counter that thought, there is also a little treasure buried within all the tracks. A song which has a completely unique feel against the backdrop of the rest of Post Traumatic, possibly because Shinoda sings all the way through, no rapping, and is clearly a message to his wife. It’s the penultimate song on the album, giving a slightly more hopeful resolution to the record.
In short, this album is a record of Shinoda’s grieving. It has the emotional obstacles he’s faced, and facing, rendered in song. It is a vessel in which he shares with you his heart, his soul, his journey. The only thing I wish was different about the album, would have been the inclusion of his song ‘Looking for an Answer’ which he debuted at the Linkin Park & Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington in Los Angeles, late last year.
I am so pleased for Shinoda. He has made Chester proud, I’m sure. But most importantly, I think he’s made himself proud. I find the death of Chester very hard sometimes, a sadness which is perhaps more profound than it should be towards someone I didn’t know, and yet it seems to be quite normal when you talk to other people when someone they admire pass away. But it’s important to understand that the impact his passing has had on those who did know him is clearly massive for many reasons, and Shinoda’s album demonstrates this in a passionate and acute way. This will be my healing record.