After Chester Bennington’s tragic death, the members of Linkin Park were posed with several questions on the future of the band as well as their individual futures in the music industry. The second frontman, rapper, and one of the lyricists of the band, Mike Shinoda decided to deal with his grief the best way he knew how to. He wrote 16 stellar tracks and released an album very aptly titled Post Traumatic. Shinoda’s debut studio album contains material written by him after Chester’s death and the lyrics are a raw narration of his feelings and emotions.
The album starts with ‘Place to Start’ that depicts the experience of going through a great loss and how you could feel completely adrift. This leads to ‘Over Again’, a heart-wrenching track where he talks about how you are sometimes made to deal with loss over and over again. In ‘Watching as I Fall’ and ‘Nothing Makes Sense Anymore’, he describes his anger and despair. ‘About You’ features Blackbear and the duo he breaks the fourth wall with this track. The instrumental ‘Brooding’ manages to somehow convey the brooding vibe of the composer with no lyrics at all, even to someone who isn’t a musician.
‘Promises I can’t Keep’, ‘Crossing a Line’, and ‘Hold It Together’ are lyrical masterpieces that delve into regrets, explanations, and the process of picking yourself up after a hard hit to the heart. While ‘Ghosts’ is a chilling narrative of supernatural experiences that Shinoda seems to have had. We are yet to find out if the lyrics of this song are literal or figurative. Either way, it’s evident that he’s still talking about Chester. K. Flay collaborated with Mike Shinoda in the groovy ‘Make It Up as I Go’. Their contrasting vocals have a unique dynamic that effortlessly moves into ‘Lift Off’, a song that features Chino Moreno of Deftones and popular rapper Machine Gun Kelly.
By the time we get to ‘I.O.U.’ there is a marked difference between where we started and where we are now on Shinoda’s journey. He seems to be re-establishing his foothold on his life and dealing with the grief. Don’t miss the “Play major but Minor’s my main Fort” that he slyly slipped in as a wink at his former music alias, Fort Minor. ‘Running from My Shadow’ is a classic and catchy Hip Hop number that features Grandson and is predicted to be a fan favourite. ‘World’s On Fire’ seems to be directed towards the one person in Shinoda’s life from whom he draws the strength to go on. The album ends on a hopeful and much more positive note than it began with the ethereal track ‘Can’t Hear You Now’.
If the struggle through grief and loss could be put to music, Post Traumatic would be it. It is a deeply personal, almost diary-like lyrical progression from utter hopelessness and uncertainty to a bolder and more empowering conclusion. This album will most certainly be a helpful instrument for Linkin Park fans around the world to come to terms with the loss of one of this century’s greatest vocalists.