EP Review: “Post Traumatic” by Mike Shinoda

Mike Shinoda has managed to lend a hand to multiple musical opportunities over the years. He has produced songs and albums for not only LP, but other artists too! In 2004, he created Fort Minor, and released the album “The Rising Tied” and it featured different artists like Styles Of Beyond, Kenna, John Legand and Common. One of the artists included on the track “Where’d You Go” is Holly Brook, but you might know her by her other name Skylar Grey.

I’ve been back and forth whether I wanted to do this review. As much as I love Mike Shinoda and the rest of the guys of Linkin Park, it’s still so hard to listen to their music. The main reason why I ultimately decided to go ahead with it, is because it’s still music. Mike could have put what he was feelings into some kind of artwork, but instead he chose to go this route. He must’ve wanted us to really hear of the pain that he is going through since the passing of Chester Bennington.

So we’re going to start with the review now. There are only three songs on this extended play, so it’ll be pretty short then my normal posts.

We begin with “Place To Start” and I didn’t know what to expect, whether it would have an upbeat or not. It starts pretty slow, and the tempo does speed up once he starts rapping a bit. The one time we hear Mike rapping, it has a very somber feeling to it. You don’t usually him like that, to be frank, you hardly ever hear rappers let their emotions flow outside of the lyrics. Everybody has a reputation for being a hardass, but this is different in so many ways so I’m glad we got to see that, but those voice mails at the end are so heartbreaking and the fact that he included them was almost too much for me.

The next song is “Over Again” and it immediately starts after the first track. I like the honesty of it. You understand every word he’s saying, and it’s pretty raw. Despite the fact he’s speaking about what he has been going through these last six months, you hear the frustration and anger in his lyrics, I don’t think it’s directed towards one person, it’s a number of people. It gives you in clear insight of how felt about their concert they did in October. I know this may seem weird, but I think I liked this one the best. As much as it hurts to hear and for Mike, to sing it out for the fans, doesn’t make you feel too good either. And lastly, I really like the beat, it’s electronic and very heavy. The song is called “Watching As I Fall” and it’s not as brutal (personal) wise in the lyrics, I mean you get a little bit of it, but it’s not so much at one time like in the previous track.

This was interesting because I didn’t know what to expect, I mean I knew I wasn’t going to feel comfortable, I mean even after my papaw’s passing I think I’ve been fairly quiet because it’s a very personal thing for me, but since Mike is an artist both literally and lyrical–he can use that as part as his healing process and then pass it along to the other fans that feel as though they’ve not showing their emotions enough which is ridiculous to even think about, because unfortunately there are people like that! I don’t know what Linkin Park will do after getting through this hurdle. I don’t expect them to come back with anything for a while and I feel like they need that time to sort things out and heal themselves before diving into a new record and tour. However, I did see that Mike has a gig in Australia on the 18th of August, so we’ll just have to see what else Mike and the rest of the band has in store for us!

Have you listened to the “Post Traumatic EP” yet? What were your thoughts on it?  

Album Review: “Kaskade Christmas” by Kaskade

So this will be my last post for Blogmas 2017! And I’m kind of happy about that because I’ve reviewed three Christmas-y albums and since I do these ahead of time, I ended up getting my fill of Christmas music all in one week basically. However, I have had a lot of fun rediscovering old favorites and then on top of that seeing what other artists can do to these traditional songs that we enjoy hearing over the holidays!

So we’ve had Celtic Woman, which is all female Irish group and then there was electric violinist Lindsey Stirling, and now we have a male artist to finish out the last week before Christmas. His name is Kaskade and he is an American DJ who tends to do house music, which is like a lighter form of dance music. I don’t know how to describe it other way than that is it mellow, almost chill but still upbeat in tempo to dance to. Kaskade has released several albums over the years, plus he’s remixed other artists and DJ’s tracks, one of my favorites is of Swedish duo Galantis’ “U & I” that came out in 2015.

I actually haven’t noticed other DJs’ creating new sounds to well known Christmas tunes, but if anybody was willing to do it, I’m glad it’s a veteran to try it out! Like with Lindsey’s album, I did not listen to any of the songs before writing the review, so we will be going on this little adventure together. I do not know how many of these will be instrumental, as he has quite a few guests on here, but the others that don’t feature anybody at the side doesn’t mean that nobody but Kaskade on the other side and as far as I know, he doesn’t sing on any of his tracks.

Are you ready to begin?

Since Kaskade is a well known house producer, I’m not going to lie, I was really curious but also hesitant to know what exactly was going to be blasting through my speakers. The first song is “Christmas Is Here” and the introduction has a very soft, full of strings, and you hear Late Night Alumni’s voice and she has a mellow, voice that meshes well with the upbeat sound of the entire song. It has a nice groove to it. The second is “Cold December” and it doesn’t say who the male singer is in the background, but it’s another great uptempo holiday themed track. I really like the addition of the horns, I thought they were interesting element to put into a simple beat. Next, there’s “Deck The Halls” with featured singer Erika. This should be a familiar song for everyone, but the sound itself is different of course. It has that nice playful, Christmas-y mood built into the beat. Erika’s voice has a low quality, where the lyrics but where it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

We have “God Rest Ye” and it instantly has this R&B and soulful sound. The singer lending her voice to this track is Debra Fotheringham. I don’t really like the full on hip hop remakes of Christmas, I think they can get too much, so to say that I enjoyed the crap out of this is an understatement I think. Next there’s “O Come Emmanuel” with Miss Skylar Grey and I liked the mysterious, chill beat to back her soulful vocals. I think she brings out so many emotions in anything she does. It’s almost sexy. Can I say that with talking about in holiday themed track? Especially one that you mostly sing out loud in church? My favorite “Silent Night” is after that and it features Ilsey, and I love her voice too! She has such a sweet, but electric tone. I don’t know if I liked this version so much though. I mean, when it’s just Ilsey and the slow drum beat, it’s not bad but whenever she stops, the tempo is gone and it’s weird. It’s hard to describe. I was a bit disappointed with it.

“The First Noel” with Gabrielle Current is on after that one. I enjoy discovering new music, but I’ve been having fun finding these Christmas or old hymns that I haven’t had in a while. I think Gabrielle’s voice sounds like Ariana Grande, just a lot less overwhelming. I have nothing against her, but she tends to go crazy with her vocals sometimes. Anyways, I like the mellow beat to this one. You can easily dance to it, but it still keeps you in that Christmas-y mood. We have “In The Bleak Midwinter” and this has Kayrae, another artist that I haven’t heard of before. I’ve actually only heard of Skylar and Ilsey, so as I’ve been listening to these songs, I’ve been discovering these new singers too! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this song. My luck and this would be an original track! The beat for this song is very eternal and chill, the only way I can describe it is if you were having a Christmas party on the beach, this is what you’d be listening to on repeat.

Next is “Holy Night” and it features Erika once again. And everybody knows this a classic song for the holidays. so I think I’ve been quite critical to these tracks, but I think I approve of this one. Erika’s voice is gorgeous against the piano and humming beat that goes up in sound until it disappears after she’s ended that verse. The beat as a whole is set at the mild tempo, but more elements are being added towards the end. I really wanted more of that drums! “It’s Beginning To Snow” is on after that, and this doesn’t credit anybody on the vocals, but the holiday theme kind of takes a backseat on it. The beat is definitely more upbeat and what you’d sort of expect for any electric dance musician to do. And of course, it’s the shortest one on the album too!

We’re almost finished and we start with another classic “Santa Baby” is next and it features Jane XO and it has that modern feel to it, but it kind of also has this jazz-y sound to balance it out too. It’s fun and interesting! Next we have “Winter Wonderland” and everybody should know this one too! There wasn’t a featured singer on this, but you hear a mysterious male singer in the background in this echo-y effect. The entire track is weird, it doesn’t sound anything like the original but is this really a bad thing? The beat is nice. It has these playful notes in it, but I find it confusing. Lastly there’s “This Christmas Night” with Dia Frampton. I don’t know this song, so it could be a classic that I haven’t heard in a really long time or it’s an original, who knows? I like it though. It’s another one of those where you could play while you’re partying at the beach!

This was probably the most interesting reviews I’ve done! I’m all about finding music that isn’t played ten times in an hour on pop radio stations, so the fact that the last Christmas album I review is the probably the most outlandish was kind of cool! I don’t listen to Christmas music on full blast throughout the month of December like most people do. Anybody like me that is the same would probably enjoy this album more than other two, even though Lindsey’s wasn’t that “shove down your throat” type of records, I still think this was the milder version of them, if you get what I mean.

Are you the type that likes it when artists go all out on their Christmas albums? What did you think of “Kaskade Christmas” too?  

snowflake