Unaccommodating (feat. Young M.A)
You Gon’ Learn (feat. Royce da 5’9″ & White Gold)
Those Kinda Nights (feat. Ed Sheeran)
In Too Deep
Godzilla (feat. Juice WRLD)
Leaving Heaven (feat. Skylar Grey)
Yah Yah (feat. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun)
Never Love Again
Lock It Up (feat. Anderson .Paak)
No Regrets (feat. Don Toliver)
I Will (feat. KXNG Crooked, Royce da 5’9″ & Joell Ortiz)
The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show were two of the best hip hop albums released in the early 2000’s. Both of these LP really channel Em’s rage with some cleverly written tracks that flirt the line between mainstream and underground. Those two albums in particular feature some really great songs that have stood the test of time and for me personally, Till I Collapse and White America are two of the best records he’s ever put out. Unfortunately the follow-up albums, beginning with Encore, lean too heavily into pop territory that ultimately began the descent into mediocrity for this hip hop artist.
It feels odd to begin this review by critiquing Eminem’s opening critique of critics critiquing Eminem’s recent albums but here we are. “Premonition” is an angry, bitter song that hits out at the mainstream media that disliked Revival and Kamikaze before we dive deep into this concept further as Eminem showcases his new attitude. Ironically, the rapping on display across some of these tracks does little to dissuade those who have held his albums up to scrutiny in recent years.
The biggest problem with Music To Be Murdered By is just how mundane and indifferent this album feels to listen to. Kamikaze had its issues, in particular with some of the mixing and productions, but here that appears to have spilled over to Em’s lyrics as well, failing to hit that same level of ingenuity his early albums had in abundance. When you compare some of the venomous lyrics in The Eminem Show to “I’m coming after U like the letter V”, jokes about the Ariana Grande concert bombing and how angry Eminem is at the world, it feels really disappointing to see how far this artist has fallen.
It’s not all bad though and unlike Kamikaze, there’s a more consistent effort here to add some catchy hooks and choruses to a lot of the songs. ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Yah Yah’ stand out as two of the best tracks on this album and there’s a slew of prolific names added to this one too that’s sure to turn some heads.
Back as an adolescent, Eminem struck a chord with the masses, channeling his anger into a rebellious middle finger to society felt the world over but instead of the care-free attitude of yesteryear, Music To Be Murdered By feels like a self-aware attempt to prove a point (‘Little Engine’ even begins with “I trust you’re enjoying the music”) and a desperate attempt to doubt those who proclaimed Eminem “sold out” with Revival.
Unfortunately this album does little to quell the doubters and if anything, actually succeeds in proving them right; this is one of the poorest concept albums Eminem has ever put out. The rap game has changed a lot since the early 2000’s and it’s a shame that an artist many believed led this wave of change back then hasn’t been able to adapt.