The first Post Traumatic listening party for fans came down on the top floor at Warner Bros. Records today, one skylight window open to the sky. Twenty fans sitting in chairs and sofas, two large speakers waiting. Roughly a year ago, that same room played One More Light for fans.
I don’t want this to be a review, with the usual need for details. I don’t want to take away your first listen to the rest of the songs; but because of where we sat today, a year later. There are words that want to be said while it’s still quiet enough.
I have been open and honest in my inability to listen to Linkin Park the past ten months and ten days, even if it’s a song heavily led by Mike. The urge to listen to even Fort Minor just hasn’t sparked much anymore, especially after hearing the heartbreaking rendition of ‘Where’d You Go/Waiting For the End’ at Identity. And Post Traumatic?
I sobbed for hours listening to the EP that Thursday it dropped. Didn’t listen to “Crossing A Line” after the two listens on Sunset Blvd. in Tower Records’ parking lot; I remember the anxious excitement, the reunion, the grins. Mike’s eyes and smile as he sang in a crowd of fans holding a bluetooth speaker. But the words were still a bit hard to face, and it was overwhelmed by the three songs released just before.
And I hadn’t listened to “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore,” “About You,” and “Running From My Shadow.” I was afraid they’d be a lot like “A Place To Start,” “Over Again,” and “Watching As I Fall.” I was afraid the whole album would be, and I wasn’t ready to face it all.
So, I opened my email from the LPU with my phone shaking in my hands.
The first three songs, I had been able to brace myself for them. I knew what Mike said in them, and I knew what they exposed of me. Looking at others, it was obvious I was the only one hearing new music for the next two songs. Then, we hit “Brooding.” Had I read the tracklist just like every fan has, I would have known I didn’t have to hold my breath, waiting for words.
“That was sick,” came from someone.
“Promises I Can’t Keep” was the first to make me cry. The only one, thankfully, not to say that others weren’t ‘deep.’ The lyrics were the main hit- a hard one- but it’s the first where it truly sunk in, that this was really happening. New music none of us knew anything about, not the seven songs we Ambassadors and fans loyally shared, liked, and retweeted. And then shared some more. None that we read others’ reactions to, that we heard small snippets of before we could tap our screen and continue to the next Instagram Story.
“Crossing A Line” remained that comfort, that warm memory of that night in March. A breather in the internal panic I had. Eight songs to get through where I couldn’t find familiarity to lean on.
But, again. I don’t want this to be a review song by song.
In the next eight songs, we found a calm, controlled aggression in one of them, that even surprised me. ‘Over Again’ and ‘Watching As I Fall’ had anger, I think is important to point out, different to this. We found two of the most stunning songs to feature another’s voice; for seventeen years I have groaned and whined and bitched at any studio albums having guest vocals, yet here I am, completely wanting these two on repeat.
We found a song that immediately squeezed my chest as I couldn’t help but think back endearingly to the sounds and feel risked for ‘Waiting For the End’ as I listened to it. It was different, unique, full of vocals because that’s certainly what Mike gives us in this album with his sharp verses.
And I know he can hear how much Mike’s voice has grown.
The emotional crawl through Post Traumatic is a turning point for us, much more as we are here a year after One More Light, where heavy lyrics were balanced by uplifting vocals, sounds, and undertows of hope; and as we come closer and closer to the trauma that brought us here. Because that’s what Post Traumatic does, too, whether Mike could help it or not. It takes the raw emotions and thoughts within and turns them into a light. Exactly what he did with five others before.
If you haven’t been able to listen to the past seventeen years of our lives, this album just may be that breath you’ve needed, the smooth dive under a rough wave, the steady pace your feet have been stumbling for. That’s what it was for me, as I sit here counting down the seconds until I can take this album and use it to breathe, just like before.
You can hear the strength and confidence steady Mike’s voice the further into the album you go once you hit play. We can start with those fifty three minutes first. Then through a day. A week. A month. A year. Even if you have to start song by song. Let Post Traumatic pull you forward, whether it’s into a walk or run.
As a friend to the band kindly shared with us- ‘It’s pulling us out of a dark hole.’
Thank you, Mike, truly, for being with us as we figure out the ‘post’ after the trauma together.
The songs I can barely stand waiting for: Promises I Can’t Keep, Ghosts, Make It Up As I Go, Lift Off, World’s On Fire, Can’t Hear You Now