Mike Shinoda – ‘Post Traumatic’ (Review)
Following a traumatic event involving loss, those left grieving and trying to pick up the pieces often find themselves experiencing a set of healing stages first described by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance do not necessarily arrive in that order; grief is a chaotic and confusing process, not a linear path. As all rock fans know full well, following Chester Bennington’s death by suicide last year, his Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda – along with the rest of the band and their friends, family, colleagues, and fans – was immediately thrown into Kübler-Ross’s process, with no say in the matter whatsoever.
Post Traumatic sees Mike Shinoda attempt to come to grips with the trauma so plainly referred to by this album’s title. Cleaved in two by eighth track Crossing A Line, Post Traumatic first looks backwards as Shinoda ruminates, questions, and mourns – then sees the Linkin Park mastermind begin to consider what lies ahead of him. This is an album you have to take in its entirety; the fact that it even exists is incredible, but it’s also a landmark recording for music and its history in general.
Cutting Post Traumatic into cherry-picked pieces does it a disservice, but there are nonetheless some standout moments. Place To Start is perfect, seeing Mike Shinoda find precisely the right words to kick off an album about grief; Over Again references Linkin Park’s Hollywood Bowl show and Shinoda’s feelings before and after it; and the chorus to Promises I Can’t Keep is a haunting earworm. The title Hold It Together speaks for itself; K.Flay lends her awesome pipes to Make It Up As I Go; Running From My Shadow tackles denial and pins it down; and Lift Off is easily this album’s ultimate highlight.
You can’t go wrong with Chino Moreno’s crooning, Mike Shinoda spilling a sick stream of rapped lyrics, and London Grammar-evoking trip-hop vibes.
Post Traumatic is a long album – sixteen tracks stretched over nearly an hour – but it clearly needed to be. Although there are imperfections, such as the necessary but weak spot Ghosts, this remains a timely response to a horrific act of self-destruction. Mike Shinoda shows signs of recovery throughout this album’s latter half, and that is by far the most important thing.
Post Traumatic is not all about the music; it’s something more. Something undeniable. Something vital. Something that will stand for a long time to come, remembered as the result of a courageous, tragedy-defying decision, and proof of musical mastery.
LTK RATING: 95% (Essential Listening.)
Post Traumatic is out now.
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