Music has always been a great uniting force. Reaching across time, language, culture and any other barrier to touch people in a way that few other mediums are capable of. Plenty of philosophers and all manner of people smarter than me have tried to quantify what exactly is it about music that allows it to permeate humanity the way it does but by far, my favorite quote that explains it comes from Joe Budden: “Music is just what feelings sound like.”
Not only do we as fans fall in love with music, we begin to feel like we know and connect with the artists who make it. Which is why when one of those artists dies, we feel it in a deeper way than we would for most other strangers. Especially when that artist wrote so candidly about their own demons the way Chester Bennington did. We’ve seen all manner of tribute shows and songs written to mourn or celebrate the life of an artist who passed away but rarely do we get an album about the grief that comes from somebody close to that artist. That’s why Post Traumatic by Mike Shinoda is such a must listen on multiple levels. If you were a fan of Linkin Park or someone who has lost something or both, like myself, this album will take you on a journey through the emotions that come with loss.
Mike has been releasing music from this album since shortly after LP’s concert honoring their friend and bandmate and with each track, the picture of just what he was feeling got a bit more complete. What I like about this album is, it’s not pretty. It’s not polished and it’s not trying to be. It’s a picture of what it’s like after that initial barrage of people checking on you slowly fades. It’s picking up the pieces and figuring out how to function again and realizing that there’s no manual for it. Mike manages to take you on that roller coaster ride all while making a cohesive album which is all the more impressive. As I listened to the album, the further away you get from the first track, the more the album feels like it’s coming together and the songs get lighter, but you never forget the theme, almost mimicking the nature of grief itself.
One of my favorite things about Mike Shinoda as a musician and artist is that he never tries to make you think he’s great at any one things. He’s an okay singer, and above average rapper/producer. But with this album, he doesn’t have to be great at any of these things to make it work. Although he does take time to remind you he’s a lot better at emceeing than a lot of rappers on “I.O.U.” Post Traumatic isn’t an album for everyone and that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be. It’s an album that serves a purpose. It hits the notes it’s supposed to and by the end, you’ll probably feel a little less alone in dealing with whatever it is you are dealing with. As Mike once put it on Waiting For The End: The hardest part of ending, is starting again.