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REVIEW: Mike Shinoda processes loss in Post Traumatic

Watching as I fall…

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda wears his heart on his sleeve and puts his grief on the table for the public to see in Post Traumatic

On July 20 of last year, a light went out when the world lost Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington due to suicide. This has been immensely hard on many people, especially his best friend and Linkin Park band mate, rhythm guitarist and rapper Mike Shinoda.

In order to process this grief and start moving forward in life, Shinoda did what any passionate musician would do: he wrote music about everything he was feeling. Not just a song or two, though. An entire album. The result was Shinoda’s debut solo LP Post Traumatic.

Post Traumatic is pretty straight to the point, almost as if we are being read straight from a diary written by Shinoda. Every last word is poignant and can be felt deep to the core.

In terms of sound it is a rather grand production that ranges from modern hip-hop to moments that sound like classic Linkin Park such as “Running From My Shadow”, “Promises I Can’t Keep”, “I.O.U.”, “Make It Up As I Go”, and more.

The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are all present here, even if not all in order. Post Traumatic is almost a prime musical example of this process.

“A Place to Start” was written shortly after Bennington’s death and it clearly shows just how at a loss Shinoda is, all while set to a track that seems dreamy. Kind of like he is in a daze and is completely unsure of everything – even the ground he stands on.

One of the most poignant tracks on the whole record is “About You”, which features blackbear. It is a song that has Shinoda discussing how no matter what he has written in the past year, it somehow ends up being about Bennington even if he did not mean for it to be.

It has a rather aggressive vibe set over a pounding electronic beat, but the chorus hook seems to mellow it out a bit and show just how ever-flowing emotions like these can be.

The record is not all sadness and anguish, however. The closing track “Can’t Hear You Now” acts as a beacon of hope of sorts. It has this pulsing, almost anthemic vibe to it that makes it feel tremendous. It makes it feel as though there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is a ways off.

Post Traumatic is one of the most honest and emotionally raw albums in the mainstream right now. Although it is not stripped down and raw in terms of production by any means, the heart, soul, and unadulterated grief is undeniably there. The high production only helps to give it a bit of extra punch.

Rating: 4/5

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Listen: Mike Shinoda Post Traumatic

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