I don’t know how to warn you
For what I’m gonna say
‘cuz you’re holding too tight to
what I’m taking away
I’ve got demons inside me
So I’m faced with a choice
Either try to ignore them
Or I give them a voice
-“Crossing a Line”
If you have read any of my music posts you know that my taste in music is eclectic. While I will happily listen to dance or pop music from time to time I’m drawn to artists that have something to say. I like hearing music with some thought and honesty behind it regardless of whether I personally identify with the lyrics. So ever since I first heard first single “Crossing a Line” I’ve been waiting with anticipation to hear Linkin Park co-lead singer Mike Shinoda’s first solo album, Post Traumatic, and the expected focus on Shinoda’s life after his bandmate Chester Bennington’s death on July 20 of 2017.
On Post Traumatic Mike pours his heart out in songs with lyrics that are blunt, messy, and so intimate they can border on invasive. Post Traumatic explores what it means to Shinoda to lose Chester Bennington and the process it takes to move past his friend’s death. As a professional artist his way of coping is by writing and recording an album that explores multiple facets of the last several months of his life. Post Traumatic is a snapshot of an artist’s life at a transitional period. Shifting effortlessly between rapping and singing over songs that run the gamut from those that would not be out of place on a Linkin Park album to spare beats and electronic rhythms, Mike Shinoda demonstrates with authority that grief isn’t going to keep him down for long.
On the blistering “Over Again” Mike talks about having to perform without Chester for the first time and how it keeps hitting him over and over that Chester is gone.
“How do you feel? How you doin’? How’d the show go?”
Am I insane to say the truth is that I don’t know?
My body aches, head spinning this is all wrong
I almost lost it in the middle of a couple songs
And everybody that I talk to is like
“Wow, it must be really hard to figure what to do now”
Well thank you genius, you think it will be a challenge?
Only my life’s work hanging in the fucking balance!
But at the same time there are universal elements that will resonate with anyone that has lost someone but specifically a close friend. As he sings in “Hold it Together”,
They say that they sympathize
I’m grateful they take the time
But bringing it up at a 6 year old’s birthday
Kind of fucks up my vibe
We end on an awkward note
I make the most awkward joke
Too dark to be funny
I shouldn’t have come it’d be weird to go home
And I’m struggling
One of the most affecting songs, “Crossing A Line”, finds Shinoda explaining why he has to move past Linkin Park, at least in the near term, to find some kind of peace with his friend’s death.
It’s not about status
We know it never was
‘cause what good is the kingdom
when you’re missing the love?
This is not a goodbye now
I’m not going away
No I don’t have the answers
But I do have the faith
Post Traumatic serves as a journey though not only the stages of grief but the very specific journey Mike Shinoda is taking in his life adjusting to loss. As you can see even the videos are largely DIY and deeply personal. Post Traumatic is a remarkable album that should not be missed.