‘I’m tired of feeling like every next step’s hopeless,’ declares a dazed Mike Shinoda on Post Traumatic’s tender opening track, the appropriately titled Place To Start. ‘I’m tired of being scared what I build might break apart…’
So begins the Linkin Park guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter extraordinaire on his debut solo album. Not only is Mike addressing the overwhelming volume of feelings that followed the passing of his bandmate Chester Bennington on July 20 last year, but also the bewildering trepidation that comes with suddenly having to go it alone. By the end of this moving, powerful journey, however, emphatic closer Can’t Hear You Now hears him tackling – and seemingly overcoming – this whirlwind situation head-on: ‘Thought that I was finished, but I hardly had begun, in fact.’
Mike hopes that devastated Linkin Park fans will find Post Traumatic a source of comfort. The record’s story follows something of a chronological thread, detailing more than just the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – that Mike faced in the wake of his friend and bandmate’s death. Naturally, those thoughts are all there (‘And everybody that I talk to is like, “Wow, must be really hard to figure what to do now” / Well thank you, genius, you think it’ll be a challenge? / Only my life’s work hanging in the fucking balance,’ he sarcastically spits during Over Again), but they’re spaced out throughout the whole length of the record. There are also the more practical, equally poignant real-life moments that this life-shattering event brought with it: the aforementioned Place To Start culminates with touching voicemail messages from friends offering their sympathies in the aftermath of losing Chester.