After the tragic death of Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington, band mate Mike Shinoda found some solace in what had held them together: music. He released a three song EP in late January, appropriately titled Post Traumatic. The project is also a collection of Shinoda’s first solo videos, each song complete with a homemade, lo-fi music video.
At the original release of the project in January, about six months after Bennignton took his life, Shinoda wrote “Today, I’m sharing three songs I wrote and produced, with visuals that I filmed, painted and edited myself. At its core, grief is a personal, intimate experience. As such, this is not Linkin Park, nor is it Fort Minor — it’s just me. Art has always been the place I go when I need to sort through the complexity and confusion of the road ahead. I don’t know where this path goes, but I’m grateful I get to share it with you.”
Shinoda’s honesty is staggering, each song encompassing the anger, overwhelmingness and fear of rebuilding. On “Place to Start,” he tackles some of the more general sentiments of existentialism and rebirth, singing “I don’t want to know the end, all I want is a place to start.” The video is raw and straight forward with Shinoda’s face half-obscured by sunlight as he sings into the camera. The only break comes in the last thirty seconds, which pans a child’s bedroom (presumably Shinoda’s son’s), as voicemails of condolences flood his inbox.
The EP’s second track follows the same distorted camera view as the first, but its lyrics get a little more specific. On the chorus he raps, “Sometimes you don’t say goodbye once, you say goodbye over and over again.” But then in the verses, Shinoda opens up about the band’s first show, a month after Bennington’s death, and candidly responds with honest anger to questions about what his music and life means now. “And everybody who I talk to is like ‘wow, it must be really hard to figure out what to do now,’ well thanks genius, you think it’ll be a challenge? Only my life’s work hanging in the balance.”
The last song, “Watching As I Fall,” shows Shinoda potentially reconciling with the coping process. “Maybe I should be more grateful that I got to watch it all come undone,” he sings. The video is nearly six minutes long and ends with a confessional from Shinoda, laying on a couch and letting loose a stream of consciousness update about where he is months after Bennington’s suicide. He talks about the fatigue from reading the “crazy racist shit on the news,” the struggles of every day things like trying to schedule appointments, and the difficulties in trying to celebrate the upcoming holidays without Bennington. As he closes his thoughts, Shinoda promises the regrowth he’s examined throughout the EP, saying that he’s going to try hard regardless, and that he’ll focus on his music.