Eminem
The Marshall Mathers LP 2


3.0
good

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
November 11th, 2013 | 429 replies | 39,037 views


Release Date: 11/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The definitive hodgepodge of the year.

7 of 10 thought this review was well written

If TMMLP2 deserves praise for anything, it’s Eminem’s decision to cater to himself just as much as he’s delivering to Eminem fans both old and new. Since the dawn of Slim Shady, Eminem’s music has always found success in how incredibly consistent it was, and variety really wasn’t a concern to anyone when he was accomplishing so much with a similar basis. Being his latest 78-minute behemoth of an album, TMMLP2 is probably the only album under Eminem’s name to take tonal diversity into consideration, and actually winds up technically covering more ground musically in a 70-plus-minute runtime than any of his work in the past decade or so. While Relapse never strayed from its dim-lit horrorcore route, and Recovery saw Eminem on a restless soul-searching trip in the forest of pop rap, TMMLP2 takes a big leap back to put the wide scope of his career into rational perspective, and then dares to take a few baby-steps forward into hopefully successful territory.

Lyrically, there’s plenty of references that Slim Shady-purists will appreciate in the near-operatic seven-minute opener “Bad Guy” that touch base with his roots and vintage lines, and anyone who dug the most polished aspects of Recovery’s production will certainly be fond of “Headlights” on a musical level. However, this dabbling in a range of different styles has resulted in an issue that Eminem surprisingly has avoided up until this point, and it’s that TMMLP2 is at odds with itself musically. Eminem albums have always had one clear point of focus to work off of, so it’s only natural that Mathers has issues making very separate things cohesive. TMMLP2 is his most mixed bag of an album in a literal sense, as it contains some of his best work in years, and some of his most derivative.

An Eminem song as forward-thinking as “Rhyme or Reason” that seamlessly couples his breakneck rapping pace with a smooth chillout inspired beat really doesn’t deserve to be on the same album as a song as painfully generic and vapid as “Monster” that sounds like Eminem jumped on the remix of a Rihanna song rather than it being his own. Just as something as erratic and directionless as “Berzerk” seems arbitrary when followed by the concentrated and refined finesse found on “Rap God.” So yeah, one could say the musical departments of the album can’t come to a general consensus on what the end product needs to represent, despite some disparately interesting highlights. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of the album isn’t worth listening to, because Eminem’s voice and mind will always be the main attraction of his music.

When putting the often jarring personality shifts aside, at least half of TMMLP2 is the spiritual successor to Recovery in how reflective it is thematically. The difference this time is that Eminem didn’t forget to bring his sense of humor along for the trip down memory lane, as he meditates on his journey from TMMLP (his prime) to the current era in both a serious and ironic attitude within the songs. When it comes to general references, Eminem appears to be grasping at thin air for his punch lines and attempts at wit. The events he makes analogies to could be more cleverly executed and relevant to his rhymes, but thankfully the annoying accents of his previous efforts still seem to have been put to rest with Relapse (thank God). Speaking of which, Eminem’s delivery definitely isn’t as brutishly loud as it has been in his most recent outings. He’s not as thoroughly captivating as he used to be to keep these largely 4-5-minute tracks afloat for their entirety, but he sounds more urgent without constantly shouting his head off for recognition. And with those silly voices gone and replaced by a content and at ease flow, quite possibly the most accurate comparison to the original Marshal Mathers LP one could make for this album is that it’s the most natural and human Eminem has sounded since.

As for actual grand advancements, there’s not many aside from Eminem finally forgiving his mother in “Headlights” (which probably would have had a much bigger impact a decade ago). The success here of being an album worth mention is derived from its encompassment of the past and present Marshall Mathers. But where does that leave the man now? For every peer into new areas, there’s a retreat to old tendencies. For every mature proclamation of forgiveness and acceptance, there’s an immature gag or theme that lessens the momentum and incites the groans. But between the off-kilter beats, cheap synth blips, infectious pairing of groove and technical proficiency in “So Much Better” and downright agonizingly horrible singing in “Stronger Than I Was,” there lies a lot of contrasting substance to recommend to Eminem’s now vastly diverse audience. And through all of the unevenness, no matter where he does end up going in the future, TMMLP2 has made it apparent that he’s fully revived and open to new possibilities of all kinds.



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user ratings (670)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • trainofconsequence (3)
    A decent attempt at an older-style Eminem album that falls a little short....

    IsomerDuck (3)
    Slim Shady's long-awaited return can't quite grasp the excellence of his earlier material,...

    LambsBread (4.5)
    The second coming of the Rap God... crucified again, this time by Rick Rubin....

    Green Baron (3)
    Em may not have been a rap god since 2002, but The Marshall Mathers LP 2 puts him on the r...

  • Kronzo (3.5)
    Is this the Eminem that everyone has been dying to hear for several years?...

    SmartWentCody (2.5)
    If you're a casual Eminem listener, you won't be disappointed; you'll probably be well-ple...

    Guzzo CONTRIBUTOR (1.5)
    The tragedy of Eminem....

    Ayashi (4)
    Shady's back, back again, and perhaps for the last time ever....

  • VigorousDuck13 (4)
    After flops like Encore and Relapse, Em comes back with his best album since The Eminem Sh...


Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
November 10th 2013



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Guess who's back.

Digging: The Blood of Heroes - The Blood Of Heroes

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2013



1614 Comments


Yay! Fragile's back. And with a typically great review.

Green Baron
November 10th 2013



19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fragile's back, back again



Digging: Royal Blood - Royal Blood

Acanthus
November 10th 2013



9537 Comments


I'm sure the guys at work will bring this in soon, I didn't mind Recovery and obviously his older work was fun so I'll most likely end up liking this.

Firestarter
November 10th 2013



277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! Pretty much agree with everything you said. Legacy, Brainless and Bad Guy are my favourites on here. Even Bezerk and Survival have grown on me a lot since I first heard them. I'd easily put it above Encore, Relapse and Recovery.

breakingthefragile
November 10th 2013



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Firestarter Thanks man, and yeah I as well definitely enjoy this way more than anything post-Eminem Show.

Destructerator
November 10th 2013



853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think this album suffers mostly from just being "more of Eminem," it's all stuff we've heard before. His vocals are produced a lot better this time around though.

Mookid
November 10th 2013



1347 Comments


Well, I've never seen "hodgepodge" used in a review before

Destructerator
November 10th 2013



853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

And I must confess I do like the classic rock remix tracks.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2013



31097 Comments


Lyrically would suit you better than "lyric-wise"

Digging: Banks - Goddess

breakingthefragile
November 10th 2013



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Made the edit. Thanks for the catch Dev.

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2013



1610 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review dude, but I still cant dig this. Theres just so many cringe worthy moments for me

talesfromthevagina
November 10th 2013



222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The bad tracks really drag this album down.
monster , stronger than I was , so far , survival and berzerk should be replaced by deluxe edition tracks.
Completely agree with you on the sound its more diverse and there is stuff for old and new eminem fans

talesfromthevagina
November 10th 2013



222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

my favourite tracks are Bad guy , rhyme or reason and groundhog day

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2013



20795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love the diversity on this. stronger than i was is pure shit though, em should never try singing a ballad

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Green Baron
November 10th 2013



19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

only real "shitty" tracks would be monster, so far, rhyme or reason, berzerk and asshole.

risingabove
November 10th 2013



75 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and Survival

talesfromthevagina
November 10th 2013



222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Asshole is good the hook is terrible though and rhyme or reason is mint

Destructerator
November 11th 2013



853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Pretty good review.

To be honest this could have been a 5/5 if it was titled differently.

spartanawasp
November 11th 2013



303 Comments


Well I really liked Headlights



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