Eminem makes the same mistakes on “ music to be murdered by ”

Halsey did nothing to deserve this.

Friday morning, as the 25-year-old pop star released her third album, Maniacal, Eminem surprise has released his 11th studio album, Music to be murdered, borrowing its title and cover art from Alfred Hitchcock’s macabre 1958 easy-to-listen and spoken word album. This is Eminem’s second consecutive surprise release after 2018 Suicide bomber, a messy but somewhat reductive sequel to the abyss of 2017 The comeback. And just as the rapper’s exit strategy becomes predictable, Music to be murdered repeats the worst mistakes of its predecessors, including leaden beats, insufferable choruses and tasteless punchlines devoid of humor.

Em starts spinning his wheels from the get-go with the thorny “Premonition (Intro)”, slamming critics who panicked. Suicide bomber-who opened with a slamming song the critics who panicked The comeback– and dredge an arsonist Rolling stone see again of the album. Em is pissed off because he still doesn’t get any respect after more than 20 years in the game and a billion album sales, and he’s willing to bet his older colleague Jay-Z and 2 Chainz feel the same way. . But despite all the distinctions they may share, Jay and 2 Chainz have one virtue that eludes Eminem: discretion. This is what allows them to continue making consistently entertaining and sometimes cutting-edge albums, while Eminem continues to relish years-old grudges and lash out at writers who earn less in a year than they did then. of Coachella’s first weekend.

That eternal chip on his shoulder gets Eminem moving, which is why in “You Gon ‘Learn,” he feels the need to revisit the adversity he went through as a fledgling white rapper long before the Grammys attempted to. have him sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst. The problem is that lately for Eminem, proving himself is just a matter of spitting bars, bars, bars. He does it on “You Gon ‘Learn” and the rest of Music to be murdered with surgical precision. But his Herculean lines generally follow the same pattern: he begins with boastful and slow taunts; then he hits the sliced ​​word salad pours that rhyme just for the sake of the rhyme; and finally he switches to his hyperspeed signature, stringing the words together so quickly that they require a Genius reading to parse them.

His physical appearance is sometimes breathtaking, like the last 30 seconds of “Godzilla” assisted by Juice WRLD. But how many times can Eminem rap about being the GOAT and killing his enemies at unintelligible speeds before listeners go offline? At this point, I’d rather hear Eminem rapping five words that reveal something about his personal life or emotional state than 5,000 more words of empty chest thrusts. This is best demonstrated on the frenzied rap-rock track “Yah Yah”, where Eminem verbally contorts into a pretzel as the Roots MC Black Thought delivers an effortless and effortless guest verse that turns out to be the best. album performance.

Eminem’s confusing lyrical acrobatics might sit better if the instrumental Music to be murdered were more palatable, but the rapper’s ear for hooks only atrophied over time. Half of the songs on this album literally sound like nothing on rap radio right now – and that’s no compliment. The verses of “Stepdad” make for a fun, albeit one-note murder fantasy, but the squeaky, singing chorus sounds like he’s trying to parody himself. The enlistment of pop stars only makes matters worse, as Skylar Gray injects unnecessary melodrama into the screaming rap-rock song “Leaving Heaven”, and Ed Sheeran puts his dirty paws all over the budding club “These Kinda”. Nights ”, which sounds like a boneless retread from Liam Payne and Quavo’s“ Strip That Down ”. Eminem took the pop-rap collaboration to stratospheric levels with the # 1 singles “Love the Way You Lie” and “The Monster,” both starring Rihanna, but that strategy makes no sense on an album whose the sound and aesthetics are clearly intended to reestablish it as a shock-rap provocateur.

But do not worry: Music to be murdered always has its share of gruesome lyrics designed to spark outrage and make headlines. This time around, Eminem finds inspiration in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing on “Unaccommodating,” by rapping, “But I’m considering shouting ‘Bombs away’ on the game / As if I was outside of an Ariana Grande concert on hold. ” You understood? Because Em is totally going to kill rap, bro! And if he has to trivialize one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in British history or poke fun at the trauma of a 26 year old woman to do it, too bad!

Look, I understand rap has no rules, and Eminem has been doing these stunts for over 20 years. I know that by simply writing about “Inaccommodating” I am feeding his desires and stoking the flames of controversy. But the lyrics themselves aren’t even the problem; I’m used to it. Problem is, six songs later, Eminem is swinging for the fences with MusicThe great song “declaration” of “Darkness”. On a bed of dismal piano keys and samples from Simon & Garfunkel, Eminem painstakingly recreates the actions of the shooter who opened fire at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. (The video does the same, making the lyrics even more heart-wrenching.) Eminem confuses the shooter’s preparations with the pre-show ritual of a nervous musician, underscoring the narcissistic streak that runs through so many white terrorists, male and domestic. The song ends with a compilation of footage chronicling the Las Vegas filming and various school shootings.

“When will it end?” When enough people care, ”Eminem’s website currently reads a link to the “Darkness” video below. But did he really deserve the right to proselytize? Em’s has spent the past 20 years glorifying violence and spitting out misogynist and homophobic vitriol; it even does so in a large part of Music to be murdered. A song like “Darkness” would be a poignant statement from another artist, but Eminem doesn’t deserve a respectful and awe-inspiring response. Instead, “Darkness” simply contributes to the disjointed nature of Music to be murdered, yet another album in the rapper’s catalog weighed down by heated shock tactics and soulless histrionics. In a career full of provocations hitting the headlines, maybe what Eminem can no longer sell is sincerity.

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