By Michael Mac Callum
Eminem has sprung back with his most recent surprise album, “Music To Be Murdered By” which was released on Jan. 17, 2020 and aimed to fix the tragic mistakes that ruined his last serious studio album, “Revival”. He still repeated a lot of the same mistakes with terrible hooks as well as choruses that will make you scream on most of his featureless songs. But this is somewhat redeemed by the features he brings onto this track as well as the few songs where he lets his technical prowess shine.
Starting off with the good things about this album, as usual Eminem shows technical skill and speed in certain songs like “Godzilla” featuring the late Juice WRLD, where he actually raps at an even faster speed than his world record breaking song “Rap God” where he raps at his peak around 6.46 words per second while in “Godzilla” he raps at a peak of 7.46 words per second, “Little Engine,” and “Yah Yah” featuring Royce Da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun where the artist demonstrates speed as well as the solid flow and voice control he is known for.
Additionally, this album has some features that shouldn’t be laughed at, he features the now late Juice WRLD, Royce Da 5’9 on multiple songs, Young M.A, and Anderson .Paak, to name a few of the total of 13 features on this album and he makes most of his playable songs with these features like “Lock It Up” featuring Anderson .Paak, “Yah Yah” featuring Royce Da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun.
Most of Eminem’s solo songs on this album have the same shortcomings that made his last album a total failure, one of these is his complete lack of competency in chorus and hook creation. In the most extreme example, in his song named “Step Dad” he sings“I, I, hate/My, my stepdad (stepdad)/So tonight I’m sayin’/”Bye-bye stepdad” (stepdad)”as both his chorus and hook. This gets incredibly repetitive and also disrupts the flow of the song more than complementing it like it should, which is a nearly constant theme with Eminem in general, and it’s clear he isn’t trying to improve on that front.
He also, again, attempts to sew in his political commentary and greater themes into his album, which ends up completely failing. In one song, he attempts to tackle gun control with songs like “Darkness.” It paints a picture from the point of view of the Los Angeles Shooter and talks about the lack of gun control with references to the arsenal of guns the man had, but fails to bring it up other than a few choice lines about gun control or guns in general throughout the album.
His main theme with this album is meant to be music to be “murdered by,” as stated in the name of the album, so you would assume it is comprised of vicious songs and murderous beats like the old Slim Shady we grew to know and love, but the work feels more soft than anything else. Most of the songs are either sad songs about his relationships with women, mediocre songs about him having sex and partying, pop songs (including a feature from Ed Sheeran, of all people), his few political songs and a couple genuinely good rap songs.
Overall, if you are looking for the old fast and speedy Eminem like “Rap God,” you might be able to find that on a few tracks of this album. If you are looking for meaningful songs or are eagerly waiting for the revival of Eminem, you aren’t going to find it in this album or probably ever if he stays on this route. The album overall wasn’t as terrible as some of his previous attempts like “Revival,” but clearly show a man falling from his prime. Unless he learns from these mistakes, we will never see “the old Eminem” or anything close to his prime in the future.
Featured Image (at the top of this post): Eminem performs during The Concert for Valor in Washington. PHOTO CREDIT: EJ Hersom