Eminem
Music to Be Murdered By


2.3
average

Review

by Simon STAFF
January 18th, 2020 | 200 replies


Release Date: 01/17/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A semi-focused surprise album that emits indifference, if nothing else.

At this point, I have to ask myself what makes Eminem tick? Em’s music career has been a peculiar journey and a fascinating spectacle to observe – especially in its most recent portion. After all, twenty years ago Eminem literally didn’t give a damn what you thought about him. Now? He’s the antithesis of that earlier trait; a hollow caricature of his former glory days and a deeply self-aware and sensitive rapper, functioning on a diet of contradictions and empty words. Criticised for years now, he has been under fire from both critics and fans alike, all citing the same problems: be it a lack of something meaningful to say, a detachment from the world around him, or the consecutively awful and misplaced creative decisions he has been tumbling over post Encore. Retrospectively, all of this has made the 2010s a bloody tough decade for Eminem to get through, yet people still find these sentiments to ring true. For too long now, we have been getting terrible albums that lack even a fraction of the genius behind his earlier works. The kind of archetypal artist Em would have torn apart back in the day has now become a frequent fixture on his songs, the lack of satirical humour in favour of a laughably self-serious demeanour, and ham-fisted and egregious pop elements, which have neutered his rap-style, are just a few of the glaring issues that have eroded Eminem’s reputation. Of course, as we all know, the apex to all of this came to a head when Revival dropped – a record so universally reviled it left Eminem shell-shocked at the backlash.

Yet, judging from Music to Be Murdered By, it seems he’s learned very little from the mistakes made this past decade, hugging onto his delusions of grandeur like a safety blanket and looking on at the whole situation with a warped perception on how it really played out. In fact, credit where it’s due, the album wastes no time at all in declaring Em’s ill-grasp on the collective reactions Revival received. “Premonition” is evident of that, as it pompously and ignorantly hisses at the detractors for slamming it – proclaiming he still “doesn’t give a fu*k” (plot twist: he really does care), before flaunting his half-decent follow-up, Kamikaze, like it’s the Second Coming of Christ. But then, anything would have been infinitely better received next to Revival, wouldn’t it? If nothing else, it’s just a confirmation that Marshall Mathers really is out of the loop and is buried in his own wonderland, surrounded by personnel that wouldn’t dare give him an honest piece of criticism if they still wished to see the purse strings.

But I digress, thankfully, outside of the usual, trite lyrical themes – which ranges from self-adulation to cheap shock value, ala “Unaccommodating”, which drops the 2017 Manchester bombing in there with tasteless tact – Music to Be Murdered By follows closer in the footsteps of Kamikaze than its insufferable 2017 counterpart, inconsistencies and all. If you’re wondering why there’s a superficial Alfred Hitchcock theme at the baseline of this album, the jury is still out, because it holds absolutely no significance to the record’s continuity, or lack thereof, bar the album’s imagery, title and nod to Jeff Alexander’s own LP of the same name. Outside of the visual aesthetic, the occasional arbitrary Hitchcock-sample is about as deep as the theme gets, further distancing the cohesion and highlighting just how bloated and unedited the record feels. In fact, while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the album’s length, which clocks in at sixty-four minutes. At twenty tracks, this LP was obviously going to go into self-destruct mode the moment it started, as there wasn’t a hope in hell Eminem was going to maintain a decent standard of quality, given his track record in recent years. I will say though, like its predecessor, there are some decent moments peppered throughout – be it the sub-bass beats on “Premonition” and “Those Kinda Nights”, or the mischievously angled rap performances on “Godzilla” and “Marsh”. On these tracks, I can at least acknowledge the fact Eminem is trying to zone in on his strengths, but the fact remains that these highlights are derivative at best, and are executed far better elsewhere.

In all honesty, Music to Be Murdered By could have been a much stronger record if it had just cut off some of the fat hanging from it. It’s a task Eminem is seemingly incapable of meeting. The final product opts to throw mountains of material at the listener over delivering short, cohesive and quality songs. It’s a ropy hike that has a few solid moments – as generic as they are – but is largely overshadowed by tracks with bizarre and goofy electronic gimmicks (“Little Engine” and “Godzilla”) or corny, flat ballads (“Darkness” and “Leaving Heaven”), rather than focusing on back-to-basics beats with solid bars. The lyrics maintain the modern-day cringe we’ve come to expect from Eminem, but they’re more diluted and hackneyed than on recent efforts, though still far and away from the witty bite we’re used to hearing from his earlier works. While his incessant lean on technical ability over solid flow continues to endure, only accenting his detachment from good writing these days. Like on “Godzilla”’s closing section where he rips through bars at 10,000 mph; it’s crazy to hear that kind of speed and precision coming out of a human being, but it just isn’t all that fun to hear when compared to a well-timed and thought-out bar.

It doesn’t go unnoticed that maybe Music to Be Murdered By would have sat better with me if it wasn’t being so gaudy at times – mainly stemming from Eminem gloating every now and again that he made an album that wasn’t a complete dumpster fire. Yes Eminem, we get it, you made an album that isn’t a total trainwreck, but you’ve still got a long way to go yet, lad. The thing is, when you’ve set the bar so low, anything that comes after Revival is bound to receive praise because you can’t get any lower. Music to Be Murdered By doesn’t improve on Kamikaze, that’s largely down to its run time and hodgepodge of styles, but I can say there was at least some effort put into this one. The production is decent, the vocals occasionally hearken back to his playful era, and the guests do a pretty great job throughout, but there’s still too much baggage being carried over from the ‘10’s Eminem albums, and it kills a lot of the potential here. It’s kind of a middle ground compromise between Revival and Kamikaze, albeit with the awful traits of the former being toned right down. As a result, it isn’t completely godawful, but it’s hardly an album that acknowledges and understands why Eminem got so much heat from this past decade.


FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶̶̶/̶̶̶C̶̶̶D̶̶̶/̶̶̶/̶̶̶V̶̶̶I̶̶̶N̶̶̶Y̶̶̶L̶̶̶/̶̶̶/̶̶̶C̶A̶S̶S̶E̶T̶T̶E̶/̶/̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://shop.eminem.com/products/limited-edition-mtbmb-cd-with-alternate-cover-digital-album



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user ratings (281)
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
TheMoonchild (1.5)
Music to be Murdered By is the best album that Eminem has released this decade. It's also the only a...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2020


12027 Comments


Well this is fire

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

thanks my dude

Digging: Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts VI: Locusts

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


Here we go again

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


“In all honesty, Music to Be Murdered By could have been a much stronger record if it had just cut off some of the fat hanging from it. It’s a task Eminem is seemingly incapable of meeting.“

Yup. This is literally why I stopped listening to Eminem. I can’t be bothered to sift through the shit anymore.

Good read, everything I expected this album to be. Marshall Mathers II should have been his retirement album.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

yeah, i agree. MMLPII, as creatively bankrupt as it is, looks like a masterpiece next to anything after it.

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


I’m just going to go listen to Bad Guy twenty times and pretend that’s the new album.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

it's more the guy's hubris that gets me. it's so boring hearing him come back at people who say his music is shite and gloating at how much money and success he has.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

bragging about kamikaze being good on this. gtfo mate lol

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2020


12027 Comments


Yeah, what a wombat

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


5012 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

He's been really tepid since sobering up. Kamikaze was decent, but it helped the shorter length. This is too much. Great review, I agree with you!

Digging: Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts V: Together

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


Yeah it’s got pretty ridiculous by this point.

Hearing him lash out as the younger underdog in a scene dominated by everybody else was infectious, but Em has literally become the hubris he hated decades back.

At least when Shinoda spat “try to catch up motherfucker” it was in defence of a massive, potentially career dooming stylistic change, not “my album wasn’t liked so I made a good one yay”.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

cheers ins. and you're dead on, as awful as it is, since he sobered up he lost his mojo.





mike shinoda spat a diss at em?

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


Not at Em, but just fans in general for not accepting things were different compared to the years of Hybrid Theory.

Eminem just seems to be content moaning at critics every time it doesn’t go his way.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

oh right, yeah. that's what i mean, it's like he's unwilling to accept that he fell off the track years ago and has been making awful music. like, yeah, he's one of the most successful and technically gifted rappers of all time, but that doesn't detract from the point that he hasn't made a really great album since the early 00s. lol



what's most annoying about it is he still has that spark. the machine gun kelly diss-track was awesome i thought, it had his age behind it, but it had what made him great previously in there, too.



TheMoonchild
January 18th 2020


1245 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

And yet he still wastes that spark on lyrics about how he's the GOAT of rappers, on songs like Godzilla.



Worse yet, Godzilla is one of the only songs on the album that didn't make me cringe.

Digging: Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts V: Together

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


“it's like he's unwilling to accept that he fell off the track years ago and has been making awful music.“

Probably. I’m guessing he’s stuck in the mindset of “this worked 20 years ago, why shouldn’t it work now?”

What’s a shame is that he hasn’t used his excellent ability and experience to produce/educate new talent like Dre did. If he hates the modern music scene so much then fucking do something about it and quit whinging.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

Godzilla has some moments, but it's such a weird mix of stuff that it's hard to just take it at face value imo



@aeri,



completely agree, he should have gone into solely producing about 10 years ago

XingKing
January 18th 2020


15097 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What is crazy to me is all of the garbage he continues to release despite how introspective that last verse on Bad Guy (MMLP2) was

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2020


16208 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

i'm literally jamming relapse and i absolutely detested it at the time, but it's infinitely better than anything he's done the last 10 years

Aerisavion
January 18th 2020


2770 Comments


“despite how introspective that last verse on Bad Guy (MMLP2) was”

The last two minutes of Bad Guy is probably my favourite Eminem moment ever.



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