Post Traumatic

The music industry was thrown into mourning last year after the suicide of Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park.  While the tragic loss has of course affected fans worldwide, it’s impossible to imagine how hard it’s been for his loved ones.  But two weeks ago, bandmate Mike Shinoda released Post Traumatic EP, a fittingly titled three-song release that delves into these rough and unfiltered feelings regarding the loss of his friend.  Clocking in at ten minutes, it’s a short listen, but its open-hearted depth gives it intensity and substance that establishes it as a must-listen, especially for those who have undergone their own grief over the loss.

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Image courtesy mikeshinoda.com

“Place To Start” opens up the EP on a melodic, introspective note with deep synthesizer the sole backing to Shinoda’s soft vocals, conveying the mellow side of grief.  Its lyrics express feeling adrift and unsure where to go, powerfully combining with the song’s tone to truly embody the hopelessness that such pain induces, but what speaks loudest is the empty space of the song and its brief length (just over two minutes), conveying how hard it is to put any of into words.  To top off the haunting track, it concludes with a handful of voicemails from friends to Shinoda, giving a particularly solemn gravity to the song.

Things pick up in pace with “Over Again”, but lyrically the second track delves even further into Shinoda’s heartbreak.  Adopting his familiar rapping, utilized within both Linkin Park and his side project Fort Minor, he describes the progression after the immediate loss, discussing the concert Linkin Park put on as a tribute to their bandmate and how difficult it was to get back onstage.  The maelstrom of emotions he experienced is tangible in the timbre of his voice and the frustration of the lyrics, with the chorus working to the core of his struggles as it discusses the difficult reality wherein loss doesn’t happen just once, but rather seems to keep striking as time progresses.

Closing with its most energetic track, “Watching As I Fall” consists of aggressive beats and guitar, an electronic loop backing it all throughout.  This final track takes more of a look outward, examining his appearance to the rest of the world as the death of his friend takes its toll on him and discussing his internal struggle in pretending to be okay with it.  It’s a far cry from closure or being okay about his loss—if such things are even possible—but as it closes with the line, “But maybe I’m just falling to get somewhere they won’t,” it gives a sense of progression from the helplessness of “Place To Start.”

Even for an EP, Post Traumatic is certainly on the shorter side, but its musical portrayal of such raw emotion gives it an impact larger than some studio albums can achieve.  Linkin Park fans in particular will surely find the experience to be emotional and possibly cathartic, but music lovers of all kinds and those who have known loss in their own lives will be moved by this confessional EP.

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