Fresh off of the still spinning wheels of January’s Post Traumatic EP, by Mike Shinoda, which was the songwriter and vocalist’s first solo release underneath his own name (separate from Fort Minor), the established vocalist/multi-instrumentalist has just announced his first complete solo album, Post Traumatic. Along with the announcement of Post Traumatic Mike Shinoda has also released the album’s first single titled “Crossing a Line”, that includes a bonus track called “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore”, which also has a slot on the new album.
Crossing a Line is a song that tackles the internal struggle of what it is like to cope with dealing with the grief of losing someone close to you, in Shinoda’s case, his band member, and dear friend, Chester Bennington, and then running those emotions through a variety of creative outlets as a form of healing. The song itself takes influence from modern indie pop and R&B music, and features vocals with slight delay effects and an instrumental that builds up in diverse layers as the track builds up. In the first chorus is a quatrain where Shinoda passionately sings:
“They’ll tell you I don’t care anymore
And I hope you’ll know that’s a lie
Cause I’ve found what I have been waiting for
But to get there means crossing a line”
In the first verse, Shinoda speaks of either completely ignoring all of the fiends that torment him, or instead giving them a voice, using demons as an analog to the layers of grief, confusion and wayward thoughts that assail him.
Later in the song are the lyrics “This is not a goodbye now, I’m not going away, No I don’t have the answers but I do have the faith” which speaks to the fears of his fans and supporters that he could become lost in the echoes of tragedy along with his courageousness, hope and passion for creativity. This is a line where Mike quite literally says that despite the pain, he has faith in himself, and those around him, and he is not going to give up. Ultimately, “Crossing a Line” is a song about by crossing an invisible line which others may feel is a betrayal of your loved ones memory but is instead a method of coming to peace with grief that comes loss, and then finding a balance for healing.
The bonus track “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore” is more similar to recent Linkin Park songs, and has a bit more modern rock influences. The song shares similar themes to “Crossing a Line” but where as that song is mainly about healing, this one is more about confusion and being caught in devastation where your reality is usurped by surprise tragedy and the feeling of being lost and helpless, which is graciously demonstrated with songs first verse, where above an instrumental with a resounding reverb effects, Mike Shinoda despondently sings:
“I used to know where the bottom was
Somewhere far under the ocean waves
Up on a ledge I was looking down
It was far enough to keep me safe
But the ground was cracked open
Threw me in the ocean
Cast me out away at sea
And the waves are still breaking
Now that I awaken
No one’s left to answer me”
While it’s up for debate as to which track is actually the better of the two, they’re both great in their own right, and they both convey their message intimately, with lyrics that stay in your head, and pull at your heartstrings.