Tag Archives: rap

Eminem: Music to be Murdered by Album Review

30 Nov

I had to deliberate long and hard to decide where to place the album on the list.  It contains probably the best rap song of all time (yup, I said it) and also a really powerful song, that’s ne of the best of anybody this year.  Unfortunately, it also contains that Eminem-brand misogyny, violence, and toxic masculinity, as well as a denial of white privilege.  I used to overlook those things a lot because I was younger, and I could think of the guy’s real life upbringing and struggles and somewhat justify all that toxicity.  Rap is a historical record of racial politics and socio-economic struggle.  But also, it’s 2020, and these issues are at the forefront, and Marshall Mathers has had plenty of time to get counseling, perspective, and education.  So I could not bring myself to rate it in the Awesome grouping for those reasons.

Premonition- Intro:  I don’t care for all the violent and murder imagry in his whole catalog.  I do like the Alfred Hitchcock sample.  Eminem talks about fans and critics.  How each are fickle.  And at least he admits in the song he sounds whiny.  The system is unfair to most–just try to be a woman (of color) in the music business.

Unaccommodating:  Em can rap so fast!  I’m impressed anew every time I hear it.  He can both say words quickly, and write verse that makes sense, and has meaning.

You Gon’ Learn:  The chipmunkee backing is different.  I like when Eminem is cheeky/funny.  It’s hard to listen to his misogyny and all the “bitches” peppered throughout most of the songs.

Alfred:  This Hitchcock vocal is even better than the first.

Those Kinda Nights:  More misogyny.  I really don’t know Ed Sheeran’s deal.  He looks like an unfortunate nerd to be, and I think sings mostly romance-pop?  And here he is contributing to some major sexism.  I don’t care for that.  Also an English-accent “dance” has no place here.  The chorus is catchy, but I’d like less pro-sexual harassment/assult.

In Too Deep:  A slower song about not being happy in a relationship.  The backing music is nice, and Eminem provides very detailed writing that tells an entire story. 

Godzilla:  The chords are really fun and interesting.  The references like loch ness, and Blockbuster, etc… are many, and they are fun to hear come together.  You can hear the background music begging to ramp up before the greatest rap verse of all time.  I DO NOT KNOW HOW HE BOTH RAPS SO FAST AND SAYS SOMETHING SENSICAL WHILE DOING IT.  All caps necessary.  It is so fast from 2:57 to 3:27 (and also preceded with pretty fast rap).  And I saw him do it live on YouTube so I know it’s not just tricky engineering–Eminem can back it up.  He is the most talented rapper of all time.  This song beats the prior best, most fastest rap (also set by him) “Rap God” Jesus!  And this is the primary reason I grit my teeth through all the misogyny because the man has pure talent–though I’d like it if he’d drop the hate.

Darkness:  Good, subtle use of the sampled song.  This song transitions from what I thought was a personal account of Eminem’s own demons, into the Las Vegas spree killing.  Good word play with “shots” and “loaded” between drinking and shooting.  The song sends a pretty strong message about mental illness and America’s lack of gun reform.  It really hits home without crossing the line into preachy.  Well done.  The song ends with the many, many, many school and public spree killer news announcements, and it’s super-effective. Perhaps the best thing Eminem has ever said.  Respect.

Leaving Heaven:  Some war and PTSD imagry.  He speaks about race, and socioeconomic status.  And he’s right that he dealt with poverty and bullying and a broken family.  Still, I don’t agree that Eminem’s difficult background means he doesn’t have white privilege.  He still has benefited from the color of his skin.  He can occupy certain spaces that POC are gate-kept from.  So I don’t buy into that line of thought, but yeah, poverty makes things hard, as does reverse racism.  

Yah Yah:  I like that it’s upbeat, and I enjoy the group singing, which reminds me of a party.  I didn’t like the, “yaw yaw yaw, yaw yaw” sequence.

Stepdad:  Sample of a dad being rough with a kid.  Some pretty fucked up images of abuse featured in the song.  And fantasy of revenge.  If the listener can get passed the graphic content, they’ll hear a complete and detailed story.  It’s good writing about a tough topic.

Marsh:  A lot of call backs to his own alter ego and catalog. Clever references sprinkled in to the song.  If there was a throw away on the album though, this would be it.  A little weaker than the others.  

Never Love Again:  Catchy.  Beautiful inclusion of piano, and layered voice.  The breakdown rap is interesting and catchy.  The song makes it clear that Eminem’s toxic relationships are just as much addiction as his substance abuse.

Little Engine:  The syncopation is the pre-chorus is good.  It’s expert the way Eminem is able to portray a conversation between two people with just his voice.  And it is neat that the words in the chorus sound like the sound of cars zooming around a track.  “Vin vin go” or something.  

Lock It Up:  An R&B vibe with the slow background music.

Farewell:  I don’t like listening to this kind of talk.  The slut and cunt of it all, is just too much misogyny. Good chorus or not.

No Regrets:  Gosh, the featured sounds like Akon a lot.  Makes me miss those early ots!

I Will:  To show success in terms of violence and “murdering” the beat is such toxic masculinity.  I hear that from male stand up comedians to: Killed it, murdered out there, etc…  And they are a problematic group.  I like that Eminem wants to prove his stature at the top of the rap game, however.  Just use better language.

Alfred-Outro:  Ties in with the last song, and shows the album was about proving the last song true.