Eminem - Music to Be Murdered By

Eminem - Music to Be Murdered By

4
Friday, 17 January 2020 (All day)

'Music to Be Murdered By' is the 11th studio album by American rapper Eminem, released by Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records and Shady Records with no prior announcement, in a similar fashion to his previous album 'Kamikaze' (2018).

'Music to Be Murdered By' was produced by Eminem and Dr. Dre, amongst others. It features headline collaborations with Black Thought, Q-Tip, Juice Wrld, Ed Sheeran, Young M.A, Skylar Grey, Don Toliver, Anderson .Paak, Royce da 5'9", Kxng Crooked, and Joell Ortiz.

It re-uses album-art imagery from Alfred Hitchcock and Jeff Alexander's 1958 album of the same name, and in several of the interludes, Hitchcock's voice from the earlier album is sampled.

Website

Eminem - Darkness (Official Video)

Comments

James Camien Mc...
4
Uneven, but at its best, overwhelming

Why I gave the above rating: 

Putting on 'Music to Be Murdered By' is a bit like stepping into an industrial wind tunnel for an hour. From the opening moments of this album, the onslaught is unrelenting. The rapping is fast and dense, its imagery and flow are constantly changing and constantly inventive, and supporting it all are hard and slick beats and foley.

So far as all this goes, there’s no-one like Eminem. It’s not that every line lands, but they’re so fresh, and they follow on each other at such a rate, that you get caught up in the bacchanal, reeling and laughing. (Stand-out tracks for me are ‘Godzilla,’ ‘Little Engine,’ ‘Stepdad,’ ‘Those Kinda Nights,’ and one more I’ll get to.)

After a week or so of listening, though, and with my hairpiece back in place, I can be a bit more critical. And actually 'Music to Be Murdered By' is more than a bit uneven. Firstly, of course, there’s all the misogyny, ableism, the bitterness towards various members of his family, his narcissism, all that. It’s not as intense as it was in earlier albums, but it doesn’t become acceptable just because we expect it of him. These are not just moral failures: Eminem’s vision is trite and narrow insofar as these tired clichés are his lens onto the world, and so the album has a spiritual shallowness to it.

On the evidence of this album, then, Eminem is still deeply in thrall to his demons. But as the masterpiece track of the album demonstrates, this doesn’t keep him from moments of genius. ‘Darkness’ starts with what appears to be Eminem rapping about the anxiety and paranoia he feels, and the drugs and alcohol he takes, before a Las Vegas gig, all described through disturbingly aggressive imagery. In the third verse, though, it transpires that Eminem is not rapping in his own voice through gun metaphors, but in the voice of Stephen Paddock, describing quite literally his murder of fifty-nine people at a Las Vegas gig in 2017. The song to this point has been an extended double entendre, but when Paddock breaks the hotel room’s window overlooking the concert, his reading becomes the only one. The parallelism is not just show: Eminem is reminding us that mass murderers are not inhuman, but are us – in particular, Eminem could have been Paddock. He thereby argues that we can’t know who can commit mass murder, and so that the US should have stricter gun control.

In ‘Darkness,’ there is no trace of the shallowness elsewhere in the album. Here there is just a blinding, cold light, and I am stunned that Eminem cannot only see in it but make music of it.

Jan 31, 2020
 

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