Roundtable Talk: “Ghosts”

“The lights go down
Holding every memory close
Tonight is for our ghosts”

Artist: Mike Shinoda
Song: “Ghosts”
Album: Post Traumatic
Year: 2018

Song Meaning

Embracing the paranormal and inexplicable that haunt your psyche.

After the Grieving, It’s OK to Have Fun

As an artist, the only way you can truly put a tragedy behind you is to lean in and imbue your feelings into your craft. Once the condolences have come and gone, art is the final solution – the ultimate way to set the grief free.

Linkin Park frontman Mike Shinoda recorded¬†Post Traumatic¬†entirely as an emotional response to friend and bandmate Chester Bennington’s death, and the repercussions that came in its wake. This album wasn’t supposed to happen: In a perfect world, Linkin Park would be selling out stadiums and enjoying the worldwide success that they built over the past 15-plus years – the future as bright as it had ever been.

Instead, not only does Mike have to deal with the loss of a friend, but he also has to confront the uncertainty of where his career will end up. No matter what the band decides to do going forward, their metallic soul is gone. Chester was one of a kind and the band can never be the same. Each member has to deal with the loss and uncertainty in their own way.

So Mike did what an artist does: He wrote an album about it.

The album balances between all the stages of grief – Mike’s somber lows to his swaggy uprising – but “Ghosts” stands out because it’s so upbeat in the midst of all these emotions. The music video is the ideal companion to the song: from the recorded intro about having fun to the DIY sock puppet performance.

We are not defined by or relegated to a singular emotion for a specific length of time. Just because you’re enduring a tragedy doesn’t mean you can’t smile at some point. “Ghosts” is a nice anthem for when that time comes.

Random Notes

  • If this is the closest we get to new Fort Minor for a while, I am OK with that.
  • I read an interview where Chester talked about Mike’s work ethic – how the band would be on a plane and while everyone was sleeping or doing Sudoku puzzles, Mike was plugging away laying beats or lyrics on the computer. After this past year, we’re starting to see what a resilient powerhouse Mike truly is. As such, I think the best of his career is ahead of him.
  • Also, Mike did all the drawings you see in the music video above because he can’t be good at just music.
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