Shinoda explores personal loss
Mike Shinoda, “Post Traumatic” (Warner Bros.) “Post Traumatic” is the first album Mike Shinoda has released under his own name and it’s pretty obvious that this wasn’t the way he wanted to do it. It is a raw and painful tour through sorrow, created in the wake of the death of his Linkin Park partner Chester Bennington. Bennington’s name is never mentioned on the 16-track album but his suicide last July looms over every song as Shinoda moves through a continuum from despair to anger to depression and detachment. It’s like listening to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. The album begins with the delicate “Place to Start,” where Shinoda wonders “Can I put the past behind me?” and then plays tender voicemails from friends reaching out after Bennington’s death. “Over Again” aches, as Shinoda is “tackled by the grief at times I would least expect.” “Watching As I Fall” is a portrait of a broken artist alienated from his fans.
In “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore,” he’s “a shadow in the dark/trying to pull it back together.” He freezes in the spotlight in “About You.” At this point, the dark, personal sadness is almost too much. But stay with it: After the neat instrumental “Brooding,” Shinoda emerges from the tears, feisty even. Until now, he’s been mostly singing. The rest of the album increasingly finds him rapping. It’s as if he’s recovering his voice. Shinoda looks back to his old certainties and renegotiates them with “Promises I Can’t Keep.” On the standout track “Crossing a Line,” he broaches the idea of making his own music without his bandmates. (“I’ve found what I have been waiting for/But to get there means crossing a line.”)
He confesses many personal interactions now get awkward quickly in “Hold It Together” and that he’s haunted in “Ghosts.” He teams up with K. Flay on “Make It Up As I Go,” confessing he has no idea what he’s doing but, “I have to make my own lane.” In the final stretch, the spacy “Lift Off” finds Shinoda recovering his swagger and demanding respect on “I.O.U.” He’s tired of biting his tongue on “Running from My Shadow” and celebrates a friend’s friendship on “World’s On Fire.” “Post Traumatic” isn’t perfect — it sorely needs some more editing — but it’s a remarkably honest and intense record. On the album’s last cut, Shinoda is finally floating above it all: “I’m somewhere far away where you can’t bring me down.” May he find his peace.
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Arthur Buck, “Arthur Buck” (New West Records) Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and often-experimental singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur have teamed up for an album that was written mostly in a few days after a chance encounter in Mexico and recorded nearly as quickly. Fresh and spontaneous, it’s also filled with precious sonic details, like little flashes sparking the songs. Unsurprisingly, Buck’s layers of acoustic guitars and bright and brief solos provide numerous R.E.M. textures and the tunes bear plenty more traces of the 1985-1995 pop decade. Arthur’s role and contributions are just as significant. As he often does on his own albums, he plays most of the instruments, wrote the lyrics and sings the songs. “American Century” sounds like “Pop Life”-era Prince, but sung by Axl Rose in his low register, while “If You Wake Up in Time” echoes the Talking Heads. David Bowie’s spirit infuses “Wide Awake in November” and the brief “Summertime” could be a David Sylvian/Robert Fripp interlude.
“I Am The Moment” would have fit seamlessly on one of the last R.E.M. albums, while closer “Can’t Make It Without You,” with its haunting, dolphin’s cry-like faux string section, could be from “New Adventures in Hi-Fi.” Lyrically — in line with the urgency of their creation — there is some topical material, like “American Century” and maybe “Wide Awake in November,” but the dominant mood seems to be about making the most of one’s opportunities amid our frazzled lives at hyperspeed. Buck is a known and treasured commodity but if you’re not familiar with Arthur’s albums, search out gems like “The Family” and you’ll hear just how much he brings to the collaboration.
LOS ANGELES: The iHeartRadio Music Festival, to be held Sept 21 and 22 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, has added Fleetwood Mac to a lineup that includes Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Jason Aldean, Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Rae Sremmurd and Logic, among many more. The two-day event will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest. It will be Fleetwood Mac’s first time performing with new band members Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, and the group’s debut performance at the festival, which is geared at the broad audience listening to iHeartMedia’s over 800 radio stations. The announcement arrives ahead of a tour that kicks off in October. Member Lindsey Buckingham left the group in April. It was announced that former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Campbell and Crowded House singer Finn would fill in for Buckingham.
The iHeartRadio festival has traditionally included a veteran act on its lineup. In previous years, Aerosmith, Queen + Adam Lambert and Billy Idol have held that slot. This year, Lynyrd Skynyrd will also be featured. “It is an honor to be performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival for our very first time,” said Stevie Nicks. “The beauty of an event like this is that it is a true representation of the power of radio. It’s an opportunity for artists across all genres to share one stage and what we all love most — music!” The iHeartRadio Music Festival will be broadcast live across the iHeartMedia network to more than 150 markets and on the CW Network’s CWTV.com and The CW App. A two-night television special is scheduled for Oct 7 and Oct 8. (Agencies)
By Mark Kennedy