thu 18/07/2024

Album: Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By Side B | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By Side B

Album: Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By Side B

Diminishing returns in Slim's Psycho II

Becoming a has-been is Eminem’s main raw material now, the rocket-fuel for his rhetorical flights. He was a folk-devil 20 years ago, then a prescription drug-zombied recluse, then a huge comeback pop star.

Extending that third act has been hobbled by social media sneers since the unfocused but often excellent Revival (2018), and a perception that he’s run out of road.

Having finally retired his work’s real-life supporting cast of relatives out of belated respect for their privacy, and shown withering scorn for contemporary hip-hop trends such as mumble rap, he has fallen back on his core sense of artistic self as an MC: a matchless master of intricate rhyme and flow, subjects subsidiary to execution.

The bright anarchy of early Slim Shady and emotional and political weight of his mature mode have both only fitfully sparked in the resultant rap-flood - Kamikaze (2018), Music To Be Murdered By (2020), and now this 16-track sequel/special edition to the latter. The prolificness is explained by the breakdown of traditional release patterns, and because writing and recording is all middle-aged Marshall does. As with Prince’s vast studio stash, or Bob Dylan’s Never-Ending Tour, he has found refuge from artistic fame’s traps in artistic work’s simple constancy. Although as Side B shows, being your own factory lets quality control slip.

This isn’t a rigorously considered sequel such as The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013), more the afterburn from Music To Be Murdered By, a Hitchcockian conceit which emphasised the cinematic nature of the bloody Marshallverse. There’s no Rihanna or Ed Sheeran for pop ballast, no soaring redemptive choruses or crafted narratives like the parent album’s “Darkness”, with its haunting gun massacre. Perfunctory synths back raps which themselves lack the usual breath-snatching, dizzying flair. Maybe Eminem’s bored with speed-rap fireworks, but his ongoing investigation of vocabulary now ends with dopey puns, dick jokes or both (“My dick’s an acronym, because it stands for you”). The sex life which is all we hear of his presumed feelings sounds wearily hollow, either starfucker pick-ups or pining for violent passion with ex-wife Kim. His delivery is similarly distracted and ambivalent, as if taking the pressure off, even letting one skit, “Key”, return to the funny-voice humour of Curtain Call’s drug-numbed nadir.

Allusions to the pandemic, police racism (powerfully excoriated in the recent past) and apologies for the last album’s MEN Arena bomb joke blur into undifferentiated commentary on his career. Here, at least, he knows his subject superbly, getting in a knockout punch first on his critics with “These Demons”: “I want you to grow up but don’t age/I want the rage but don’t get too angry/I want the new but the old Shady/...Just don’t go too far but go craze/...Man, they keep moving the goalposts, don’t they?” Guilty. “Tone Deaf” muses on being cancelled, having already survived the millennium’s first culture wars. Really, Eminem’s earned a space impervious to critics, and will continue till he drops, with talent to burn. This semi-album still mostly runs on fumes.

As with Prince, or Bob Dylan, he has found refuge from fame in work’s simple constancy


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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That you got all that out of bars like: "Call her Cinderella. She loves balls." and "Stick a thermometer up your mom's ____," I have no idea. "Bit her in the liver, threw her in the river." But suffice it to say, he's also run out of listeners who graduated 12th grade.

After reading this review I have to ask you are you tone deaf talent unaware or just not generally a rap fan because I really think you have no idea and need to go back to writing reviews for the spice girls

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