Hi, my name is, Justin – probably the biggest Eminem fan.
About 4 days after he released his 9th studio album, Revival, I thought I would share some thoughts on my favourite MC, and his latest body of work.
Let’s start with the rollout:
Eminem released a 7-minute freestyle dubbed Campaign Speech, taking aim at a few topical issues, mainly Trumps lead up to his presidential run, this was on October 19, 2016. My favourite quotable: “Met a contortionist, said, “When you wanna get sexual?”
She said, “However I fit in your schedule. I’m flexible.” Fast forward to October 10, 2017, Em goes at Donald Trump in a BET Cypher, titled The Storm.
Em then releases the official first single, “Walk on Water” with Beyonce on November 10th. Charted as high 6 on the charts, still nothing unusual about this roll out.
On December 5th, the official track listing is released, and its 19 songs long…and here I think it gets a bit tricky…
There is a narrative that because of Eminem’s mega-stardom, he is no longer in touch with current music trends. Two aspects of this album speak directly to this narrative… Firstly, Em had “Interludes” on his album… faaamm, there is no need for Interludes!
Secondly, in 2017, albums are generally 12 to 14 songs long; this is due to people’s attention span in focusing for extended periods. The album spans 1 hour and 17 minutes (19 tracks); that is almost the length of 2 episodes of a 40-minute show, to put things into perspective. Listening to the album, I found myself wondering what was coming next, almost pre-empting the next song, and an Eminem album needs to be consumed slowly, as he uses very complex structures when rapping.
With 19 songs you leave room for lots of filler tracks and with that, you leave space for bad songs… and there are some really bad songs on this album. Some songs are understandable and need to be there due to Em’s super-stardom. The fact that he is white and standing up against police brutality against black people in the U.S. is important to have on here, so not mad at that. But to choose it as your second single after your first single was not a radio single is a bad decision. Both “Walk on Water” and “Untouchable” are album songs, not radio songs, in my opinion. The fact that Em has a song with Ed Sheeran on this album screams RADIO SINGLE. Also, why is Eminem not working with Dr. Dre? He is working with other producers, which I feel is not directing him in the studio, which could lead to less than favourable creative decisions.
Let’s talk about the good; which is not good, its amazing, polar opposites of this single album. “River” with Ed Sheeran, “Believe” & “Offended” lyrical attacks, “Like Home” with Alicia Keys stadium like song, “Bad Husband” apologising to the infamous ‘KIM’ – mature Eminem is better than anyone, “Castles” song to Hailie, “Arose” song from a perspective of him dying on a hospital bed from an overdose. These are some of the best Eminem music that he has released.
This album sounds like Eminem released it to show us that he can rap way better than any other rapper, which we already knew since 1999. What we (I) would’ve wanted was a focused album that concentrated on his fans who grew up with his music; I was 12 when Eminem made his debut and 13 when The Marshall Mathers LP was released.
So, if I was around Eminem whilst he was making this album (if only I was this lucky), my advice to him would’ve been:
- Go with the Ed Sheeran assisted song as your lead single, get the excitement to build;
- Perform on SNL, and drop 1 verse of “Bad Husband” to build the anticipation of mature Eminem content;
- Drop the tracklist, track one “Walk on Water” featuring Beyonce…OMG.
- Reduce the songs from 19 to 12/14 songs. This reduces the chance of bad songs creeping in.
With me writing all this, I read that Eminem said he wrote over 50 songs for this album and had to choose songs to be on the album. So it’s easy for me to sit here and say do this and do that, but he has to make those decisions. And with his insane personality concerning perfection around rhyming, and music, I can’t imagine it being “easy”. Also, Eminem is such a huge MEGA STAR that he might actually not give a …. about what I think, and how I would like him to release music, and that is okay as well. In the meantime, I edited my Revival album to 13 songs, and its lit!
New Eminem music is always welcomed, to see what he does with lyrics, and how he can flip metaphors and words, is absolutely amazing. Still the best lyricist to do it.
From your biggest fan, this is;