Read Eminem’s new album review of one of the Eminem.Pro editors. This review’s been translated from Russian.
By Lilit Sagatelyan.
Marshall Mathers’ ninth studio album “Revival” was released on December 15. Fans around the world have been awaiting this date over four years. Every single person was waiting, hoping, guessing, even upset a little bit when during the radio interview on November 17 Em didn’t announce a “release” date. Eventually, the album was leaked a day earlier. The lucky ones had time to listen to it before the official release date, that’s when the first reactions and responses started to appear.
Before I start, I must say that I missed the album leak, so I was able to listen to it right after it appeared on official platforms, but (won’t hide) I was already tuned to the “unsuccessful album of the hip-hop veteran vibe”, because the whole Internet was filled with comments of dissatisfied “fans” who added their two cents, like real “experts”. Professionals also stepped in, good half of the music industry didn’t like the album (we tried to not be mad at them because even Joe Budden gave a negative opinion).
In spite being tuned to such a sad mood, I listened to the album though. The result amazed me completely, because Marshall, in my opinion, surpassed himself. Why? Let’s start from the beginning.
Why so much hate?
It is worthwhile to understand that the mass media, especially the good old Internet, have become the number one weapon for manipulating all of humanity. Therefore, when something new comes out (or leaks) in the music world, its “future” depends on the first reaction. The album is leaked — someone listens to it, without diving deep into the content, (how can one understand the whole album by rushing through it or judge it by one or two tracks?) and then goes on to jotting down his brilliant thoughts about the big picture. The next person does the same, then everyone else just follows the trend. Things get worse when musicians respond negatively, and even more so, when some news sites give their “rating”.
Another reason for the strange reaction to such a long-awaited album is comparison. An eternal comparison. “This is better, that’s better …” — I want to answer each of these comments with something like: “And with what do you compare? With Kendrick? That’s it? ” Indeed, after reading hundreds of comments and reviews, most of them mention Lamar, comparing his rhymes, beats, delivery, flow, the general plot and so on. (again, someone wrote that Kendrick Lamar is better, and the rest just followed like sheep and wrote the same damn thing. Simple as that). Of course, we have great respect for Kendrick, he is good at what he’s doing, he is a genius. But is that all? No one else to mention? No one else to compare with? Like Trump usually tweets that is “Sad.”.
Gets even worse when they compare him with the former Marshall, with his previous works. “It’s terrible … horrible beats … not a single decent rhyme… just politics… this Trump again … this beard … he got fat … he’s outdated … it’s time to retire.” Seriously??
Firstly, the man is 45, let him entertain us in a different way, It’s some kind of commercial gimmick, way of drawing attention (remember that photo in the studio with Griselda Records artists, when we wondered whether he had this beard or not). Marshall looks great, let’s stop this! As for production, yes, I also didn’t like the beats on some of the tracks. From “Walk on Water” to “Offended”, it’s a little bit out of line with his lyrics. But as for his lyrics and rhymes this is something he will always be best at. His talent will never wither away, he will always be number one in lyrics, I can dispute on this with anyone, I’ve got enough arguments!
A possible reason for such underrating is Marshall’s self-doubt (it’s unclear where found it…) On “Believe” he asks: “Do you still believe in me?” — the fans themselves begin to doubt, begin to think that he is really losing his ground. I think it’s his mistake. But there is only one answer — of course we believe in you. How can you have any doubts with such a strong single?
Straight after the tracklist was revealed, everyone got frustrated with the list of invited guests. We were really surprised when we read the reactions of some individuals who, judging only by the track title and the artist name, have already defined the fate of the album. How’s that possible? The story of “Recovery” and its “pop” collaborations was repeated. Joe Budden was upset about this too, so he spoke out negatively. (kidding, of course)
In part, we support this opinion. We’d like to hear the ” great” Kendrick or the promised 2Chainz collaboration, but instead we got Ed Sheeran and Kehlani, which is also cool. We understand the commercial side of it. The label wants the album to sell, and by mixing different genres the audience automatically becomes wider. There’s nothing we can do. But you’ll agree, how beautifully Beyoncé, the gorgeous Alicia Keys and even P!nk managed to cope with their task (Pink completely rehabilitated after the not so successful “Revenge”). A lot of rock lovers liked “In your head” because of The Cranberries sample — it was a perfect matching of hip-hop verses from Em and the chorus, just the perfect track!
“Too much politics”
Yes, Marshall himself set the tone — ranging from “Campaign speech” and “Storm” to “Untouchable”. The tracks came out almost one after another, people began to get bored with both Trump and Em himself.
But true fans of Marshall’s early works remember — he has never been a stranger to politics. How much dirt was poured on George W. Bush, how many tracks were “dedicated” to him, no one has ever complained about excessive politics in the lyrics. But for some reason everyone loves both “Mosh” and “White America”.
By the way, in fact, only two or three tracks on the album are politically-orientated. Marshall doesn’t only spazz out on Trump. That said, tracks like “Like home” (feat Alicia Keys), will be played for a long time as an anthem(the strongest track, in my opinion), not only by Americans, but anyone who loves his country. It shows how he is proud of and wants prosperity for his homeland. Without hatred. Without racism.
“Trap, trap, trap…”
Perhaps the biggest sensation was the fact that Marshall keeps an eye on the latest trends in hip-hop — on the album he also steps foot into Trap music. Naturally, when such a track as “Chloraseptic” appeared, all the Trap experts expressed dissatisfaction.
When we listened, longtime fans, we immediately likened it to “Relapse”: “Drop the bomb on em”, “Stay wide awake”, “Must be the ganja” — only the beats became a little more “trendy”. The same manner of performance, kind of Slim Shady Style, interesting sounds, we really missed that! How could you be dissatisfied with such a track? On behalf of all “Relapse” fans I want to say thanks.
My most important conclusion — He became wiser
He became wiser. He speaks of his mother without swearing, thanks his father for “learning what not to do ”; he’s writing letters to Hayley in “Castle” and “Arose”, where he regrets he won’t celebrate Christmas with her.
But mostly his wisdom impressed us in “Bad husband”. The track that is dedicated to Kim is such a welcomed thing on any of his albums. But this one struck us more than all the previous ones. A beautiful, lyrical song, excellent vocals from X Ambassadors, such sensual confessions from Marshall about mistakes that can no longer be mended. He is frustrated that despite becoming an excellent father, he couldn’t become a good husband. The best lyrical song, in my opinion. Perfectly done, Marshall!
“Tragic endings” (feat. Skylar Gray) and “Need me” (feat. P!nk) will also stroke some chords with people who admire beautiful female vocals coupled with a strong delivery from Eminem. These tracks will certainly be played by fans of “Recovery”.
Let’s sum it up.
“Revival” was well advertised, hardly anybody could have made such a commercial move nowadays.
In general, the album justified such a brilliant promo. Despite all the negative reviews, our rating is positive. Not just because we are great fans of Eminem, but because we understand what true hip-hop is all about. Like Marshall raps on “Walk on Water”, “the rhyme has to be perfect, the delivery flawless” and the next lines describe what it is content-wise. That’s what great hip-hop is all about, that’s what we are always looking for, and that is “Revival”.
The lyrics and rhymes are at the highest level, the beats suffered a little, the voice became slightly hoarser, the delivery a little slower, but these are not the main components of success. Don’t rush to give a negative rating, listen to the album again, and then again — all the easter eggs are hidden in the lyrics, every time you’ll find another meaning of a line that you didn’t find last time. That’s where Marshall proves to be great, It’s his talent, he’s a real lyrical genius; he has always been appreciated, and should be appreciated now, because his work is worth it.
Thank you very much, Marshall. We still believe in you and always will. Merry Christmas to you, the Shady Records family, and of course to all stans!