Generally, I am not a fan of rap or pop. However, Mike Shinoda’s Post Traumatic is a wonderful record. The roots of the album are tragic and thoroughly sad in every imaginable way. Post Traumatic was born from an artist suffering the loss of his best friend. Shinoda spreads his grief across this disc and freely shares his pain with his listeners.
If Mike Shinoda’s work with Linkin Park didn’t indicate he is a gifted musician, this album will. He strings together painful lyrics that are utterly personal yet categorically accessible. Everyone, especially those that know the searing touch of death, will connect with this record.
Post Traumatic is described as an utterly personal album for Mike Shinoda. Given the horrible incident that spawned much of the record, this is a fair description. On my first listen through, the tunes sliced through years of recovery and brought me back to the months after my father’s death.
Shinoda’s lyrics transported me back to a time drenched in confusion and despair. I felt the tension and pain that inspired the music and ran through his being. Within the first thirty seconds of the record, Post Traumatic became a personal album for me. I feel this will be true for others as well. I think there are powerful truths beneath Shinoda’s words.
iTunes calls the album “Alternative Rock”, even though there are hardly any traditional rock elements. The album was sown together with pop and electronic elements. Synthesizers and other artificial instruments create an airy, and occasionally spooky, atmosphere that drifts below Shinoda’s heartfelt lyrics. Shinoda trades off between singing and rapping often, sometimes within the same song. I like when artists mix styles like this. I feel it adds character to the album and showcases their talent as a musician.
Musically, the album is split in two parts. “Crossing A Line”, the eighth track, foreshadows the imminent change of pace. I prefer the first part to the second, but I generally dislike rap and pop. However, Shinoda was able to craft quality songs, even with this style of music. To me, this is a testament to his musicianship.
The first half of the record consists of slower and lyric-centered tunes. A lot of these were posted on YouTube before the album’s release. “Place to Start”, “Crossing A Line” and “Over Again” are good places to begin listening.
The second half of the album predominantly features more rapping and heavy synthetic instruments. There are some gems hidden on the back half. “Ghosts” is a great song. The theme of “Hold It Together” and “Make It Up As I Go” are generic, but timeless.
Both lyrically and vocally several songs in part of the album feel very raw and off-the-cuff. At times, it feels like Shinoda just came up with the words on the spot and stitched the songs together. This enhances the personal nature of the album and draws on the random explosion of guilt and agony that can capture someone struggling with grief.