Post Traumatic

Suicide is prevalent.

Thankfully, as this has become more discussed, society has begun to realize the issues many face.

Unfortunately, one thing that isn’t discussed as often is how the friends and family get through the grieving.

While this article isn’t directly about suicide or how to continue on without a loved one, the album I chose as the best of 2018 deals with it heavily.

Mike Shinoda dropped the album Post Traumatic June 15, 2018.

Clocking in at 53 minutes, the album consists of 16 songs.

Many know Mike Shinoda, but often can’t put a face to him nor fully know where they remember the name.

Shinoda is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer. He is most famously known for being the founder and co-lead singer of Linkin Park.

Linkin Park is a band with much critical acclaim, having successfully made seven studio albums such as Hybrid Theory.

Linkin Park blended alternative, electronic, hard rock, and hip hop.

Between the powerful vocals of Chester Bennington and the influences and ideas of Shinoda, Linkin Park emerged from the underground to be one the most popular bands of the 2000’s.

Or at least it was.

On July 20, 2017, news broke that would hit the music industry hard.

Bennington ended his life after years of struggling with depression and drug abuse.

He was 41-years-old.

Fans and media were shocked and in mourning, none more than Bennington’s family and band mates, including Shinoda.

At the time of this article, Linkin Park still has not made music or announced what its next move is.

However, after spending time to reflect and mourn, Shinoda produced Post Traumatic.

“It’s a journey out of grief and darkness, not into grief and darkness,” Shinoda said.

Shinoda starts the album with “Place to Start,” a track about finding a way to continue again.

The track was made in partnership with Linkin Park drummer and bandmate Rob Bourdon, who did percussion on the song.

In an interview with U.K. magazine, Kerrang!, Bourdon discussed how the track started as a demo during sessions the band had for their last album, One More Light.

He said it was almost the intro track for the album, but after the passing of Bennington, the lyrics were mostly remade to fit the feelings they had.

The end of the track features voicemails from various friends checking on Shinoda following the death.

Starting the album this way provides a link to the past while breathing a breath of fresh air on Shinoda’s new solo career.

Further into the album, the track “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore,” discusses reflecting on the mental state a person has after a traumatic event.

With lines in the chorus such as, “my inside’s out, my left is right, my upside’s down, my black is white,” it highlights how the thinking process through grief is no longer easy.

Life is completely hazy with the feeling of no light to look towards.

The chorus continues by repeating the phrase, “nothing makes sense anymore.”

Shinoda, when discussing the song with the media company Genius, attributed his love for Nine Inch Nails as a source of inspiration, specifically the song “The Downward Spiral.”

In the second verse, the song describes a broken sleep schedule, his heart continuing to break, and no longer having the friend he turned to who helped get him through so much.

In my opinion, this is easily the darkest song on the album, as Shinoda sings over a slow melodic guitar with an effects pedal to change the sound of chords.

After this, the tracks on the album gradually get lighter, signaling that grief heals over time.

The turning point in the album is the track “Ghosts,” an upbeat song where Shinoda sings about accepting his inability to bring Bennington back.

The track features a fun music video that opens with Shinoda saying he has had enough hard days and shouldn’t feel guilty for waking up and having fun.

For the video he has sock puppets singing the lyrics with various paper and digital animations he created on an iPad.

Aside from his singing, Shinoda brings back his rap flow on the track “Lift Off,” which features
Deftones’ front man Chino Moreno and rapper Machine Gun Kelly.

Shinoda opens with lyrics comparing his careers heights to multinational spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, and stating that his bars are comparable to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest particle accelerator.

He also discusses in this song how his career is not over, saying if he quit it would be a tragedy – like the Challenger space shuttle.

The album ends with the track “Can’t Hear You Now.”

The song doesn’t say who he can’t hear.

Some speculate it is about the critics who tore apart Linkin Park’s last album while others believe it is for the members of Bennington’s family who were angered by the bands management during the aftermath of his death.

It could also be sung from Bennington’s perspective, with the line “I’m somewhere far away, where you can’t bring me down.”

The pre-chorus for the song can be viewed as Shinoda’s perspective, with lines saying that some days are worse and he can’t keep control but, right now he is above it all.