Linkin Park’s MC shares the battles he’s dealing with since Chester Bennington’s death last Summer.
It’s taken me a while to write this one up as it’s been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster when it comes to all things Chester Bennington, and Mike Shinoda’s three-track EP, entitled Post Traumatic, is part of that ride.
Linkin Park’s fan-base have been hit hard by the passing of Chester Bennington, with many fans having used their music to help them get through their own struggles with depression and anxiety for nearly two decades. The immense impact his death has had on their supporters has been palpable from the moment the news broke last summer. That said, nothing could really match the grief and struggle that his family and his band mates must be feeling, especially Mike Shinoda whose bond with Chester was tangible. For Shinoda and the other members of Linkin Park, an extra layer of anxiety comes with Chester’s death: what do they do now? This is explored in Shinoda’s aptly titled Post Traumatic EP – the battle between losing a friend, a band brother, and seeing his life’s work under threat. ‘Place to Start’ is a track questioning that outlook. It is an anxious track about new beginnings, at a time he felt he was at the top. It’s a track that acknowledges that with the death of his friend, he fears the death of his career is following. It’s a very honest admission.
It is the second track, ‘Over Again’, that has arrested the Linkin Park family (the fans) the most. It’s a song they could relate to. The anxiety represented in ‘Place to Start’ continues, focusing on having to perform without Chester. As a life-long fan of Linkin Park, I can honestly say that when they performed the memorial concert, as the lump catches in Shinoda’s throat, it does with all of us. There were tears in the audience, and tears at home from the people who streamed the concert online. When the band played ‘Numb’ with an empty spotlit mic, it was difficult to watch. It was difficult to listen to. ‘Over Again’ is a receptacle for Shinoda’s anger towards the situation too – which is part of the grieving process. These emotions can be heard in Shinoda’s voice, making this track raw, and he must be admired by allowing the world to see his vulnerabilities and fears.
To conclude this confessional EP, ‘Watching as I fall’ is the best produced of the three tracks, and perhaps the saddest. As the chorus kicks in, there is an impending sense that Chester’s vocals are about to feature, and this impacts on the impression of the track.
The EP seems structured in such a way that it takes you on an emotional journey, leaving you feeling the same uncertainty of the future that Shinoda clearly feels. And although it draws out the sadness and grief in us all, I’m happy that Shinoda decided to share this with us.
No one knows what’s going to happen with Linkin Park in the future. In a Q&A with the fans recently, Shinoda said he’s going to focus on some solo projects for a little bit, to see how they develop. It’s hard, as a fan, to see Shinoda feeling lost in such anxiety. But it’s also be uplifting to see the Linkin Park family support him and encourage him.