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What Went Wrong With… Revival by Eminem?

A review of Eminem's Revival by What Went Wrong Or Right With..?

Eminem, the great white, late nineties, early noughties hype has finally dropped Revival, his err… what is this, his ninth album? Now before I go on I’ll point out that I was never a fan of his; his audio and visual aesthetic was too cartoonish, his voice was too high-pitched and nasally, his style was too similar to other artists, his fans were oblivious to other (better) rappers, but all that being said, I could slightly see the appeal especially if you were some white kid who never listened to Hip-Hop. Many years have now passed since Eminem’s heyday, his bleached blonde hair has gone, his fake angst has wained, his daughter is old, his fans are older, he’s had Sacha Baron Cohen‘s balls in his face, he’s made weak-as-fuck tracks (even by his standards) with the likes of Bruno Mars and Rihanna, it’s got to the point now that even his fans don’t like his music…

Thankfully, after all the years of excessive overrating, both critics and fans (at least some of them) have finally come to the conclusion that maybe Eminem isn’t a genius, maybe he isn’t a rap god, maybe he isn’t the greatest of all time. With opinion finally coming into line with the rest of us, Revival, his latest album, may once and for all show that the man who every publication and channel was plugging like mad during the dawn of the millennium wasn’t as brilliant as everybody originally said. Because let’s face it, while Eminem’s skills have diminished, other Hip-Hop artists his age and older have remained credible and have recently released music still worthy of appreciation.

While Marshall Mathers has been secluded away in some mansion making this shite comeback, Hip-Hop has essentially splintered into two distinct and conflicting styles; nineties Trap on one side and nineties Boom Bap on the other. I guess not being innovative is the scourge of contemporary Hip-Hop but whichever camp you side with, Eminem in 2017 fits into neither. Don’t forget that he came a bit too late in the nineties to be from the golden era and he came too soon to be part of the south/midwest emulation in the noughties, so this being his “Revival”, Eminem is trying to revive something that nobody wants, and unfortunately for him, unwanted is essentially what this album is. This LP contains neither the wannabe controversial, crossover stuff he used to do early in his career and it’s definitely not original or inventive, so what’s the point? If your “revival” fails at reviving your career, then you’re obviously out of tune with the music, the culture, and the fans.

Since I’m reviewing this shite, let me just say point blank that Revival isn’t the kind of release which warrants a track-by-track breakdown because it’s disappointing in every way; lyrics, content, flow, delivery, production, and features. The songs are too long, there’s too many of them, this release is 1 hour 17 minutes long but it feels like double that. The album has 19 tracks but there’s no variation anywhere, this is back-to-back mediocre production with mediocre lyricism laid over all of it. It’s chock full of Eminem bragging about his skills and talent, and the fact that he’s lost both (if indeed he had any to begin with) is ironic. The LP is 70% narcissism and conceitedness blended with self-deprecation, please feel sorry for this rich rapper who used to be number 1! The other 30% is him “siding with minorities” as he supposedly did on that wack-as-fuck anti-Trump BET cypher.

Take the song “Untouchable” for example, it’s 6 minutes 10 seconds of racial politics; from police brutality to the take a knee protest, segregation, the American flag, it’s all tackled and sorted ’cause this rich white rapper has spoken about it. Thanks Slim! This song along with a few other racially-charged tracks for me are in bad taste, especially considering his pre-fame ode-to-racism “Foolish Pride”. Because of this, when you hear Eminem speaking from the point of view of a black person in “Untouchable”, you feel slightly uncomfortable. Going away from minority fawning for a second, this particular bullshit is rapped over some uninspired production with a terrible, Rock-esque chorus.

Back to the topic of racism, there’s also “Like Home” featuring Alicia Keys, okay so some of the lines aren’t bad but once again the production is lame, the chorus is lame, and that racial shit is both hypocritical and trying too hard to appeal to minorities. I mean when exactly was this magical time when America wasn’t prejudice? If Eminem was an actual minority he’d know that even back when he wore dungarees and a hockey mask, cops and presidents hated ethnic and sexual minorities. Shit hasn’t changed one bit for people of colour, for gay people, for transgender people, the only thing that’s changed is that it’s become stylish to be “pro-minority” these days, in fact it’s an obligatory, meaningless thing to say and do. Are we not sick of fake liberals from the entertainment world feeling good about themselves as they flitting-ly say something against bigotry when bigotry has always been present, even from their demographic? Hell, Eminem once contributed to it for fuck’s sake.

“Heat” has an appalling chorus married with another appalling guitar-laden beat. With mentions of Donald Trump yet again, you really get pissed off at this point. I mean Eminem, a racist in his past now wants to criticise Donald Trump’s racism and be taken seriously? Along with the aforementioned BET cypher, I guess we’re supposed to believe that Donald Trump is firmly in Eminem’s crosshairs, and yet nobody thinks it’s strange that this ex-blonde, ex-racist is having a go at a current-blonde, current-racist? All I’m saying is that if Eminem once thought it was okay to call black girls “dumb chicks” and white girls “good chicks”, it’s nigh on impossible to buy Slim Shady as an anti-racism crusader.

He may no longer have an Aryan peroxide blonde hair-do but ironically with brown hair and an army cap, he looks more like a far-right, race-war prepper than ever before, especially with that AmeriKKKan flag plastered all over his album cover. The whole thing to me seems very ill-judged, like a facade created in order to mask his historical cracks. And like I said, considering his previous lyrics about “black girls”, guests Alicia Keys and Beyonce really need to check their selling out. All-in-all, this is liberal pandering and minority placating at its worst.

Aside from the racial politics however, the rest of Revival is nothing to write home about either. The album begins with “Walk on Water” featuring fellow has-been Beyoncé singing crap like “I walk on water, but I ain’t no Jesus, I walk on water, but only when it freezes” over a forgettable piano melody. Double negatives aside, this trash is indicative of the rest of the album; badly-written, corny Hip-Pop with Eminem impressing nobody but himself with his calm-then-shouty, annoying delivery…

The features on this album are very lacklustre if not middle-of-the-road; some of the “guests” aren’t exactly relevant any more (Alicia Keys, Pink, Beyonce) and the rest are little contemporary cum-stains (Skylar Grey with her mediocre voice and that overrated ginger hairball Ed Sheeran).

The topics, like I’ve already said are essentially self-absorption with Em exclaiming shit like “I wrote Stan!” (wow, what an achievement) and asking why he’s “clowned and frowned upon”, err, maybe because you’re making trash? “Believe” contains a horribly out of date chorus that’s too noughties and too Pop sounding. Bragging about living in a gated community against horribly basic production, with faint piano sounds, the song is simply terrible. With the lyrics harking back, talking about his own career – his ups, his downs – who the fuck really cares?

The production on Revival goes from bad to worse the further you get, there’s “Chloraseptic” featuring Phresher which contains the most amateur beat I’ve heard in a long time, it seriously sounds like some teenager created this crap in their bedroom back in 2005. With the line “The shit I wrote on some next shit” you think to yourself, really? And someone should tell these two that Akinyele already used the Chlorasceptic/oral sex metaphor way before Slim Shady even dropped his first overrated record.

There’s also constant nods to Pop music everywhere in this LP as though Eminem has forgotten completely about his alleged “Hardcore Hip-Hop” fans. “In Your Head” for instance sports a sample from 9/11 sellouts The Cranberries. And when you hear the “I Love Rock’N’Roll” sample on “Remind Me” you think to yourself, Alan Merrill or Joan Jett will be rolling in their graves… at least if they were dead, and hearing this song, it may drive them both to suicide.

By the tenth track (or even earlier) you begin to get utterly bored of the mediocre, same-same flow and delivery, not to mention the lame production. The noughties Hip-Pop corniness then becomes grating to the ears. If I weren’t reviewing Revival I would have switched the fucking thing off a quarter of the way in.

The other problem with this LP is that I felt myself cringing throughout the album, partly because of the out-of-style raps and beats and partly because of his embarrassing topics and choruses. A middle-aged cornball talking about being a “Bad Husband” for instance with X Ambassadors providing an equally laughable chorus, this LP really is long-winded, repetitious, and cringeworthy.

“Nowhere Fast” featuring Kehlani contains yet more corny lyrics (speaking about some terrorist shite with yet another lame-as-fuck hook) and there’s a very trite and predictable “Korea/career” lyric which isn’t particularly clever even though, I’m sure Eminem thinks it is, just like that “Racism’s the only thing he’s Fantastic Four/for ’cause that’s how he gets his rock off, he’s orange” Trump lyric from the aforementioned BET cypher.

To close, Revival is an utter piece of excrement, whether you’re a fan of Eminem or not. The songs are too long, the album is even longer, you should probably only listen if you have a hankering to hear an out of touch, washed-up middle aged man waxing lyrical about his personal, non-issues. Ooh, let’s all feel sorry for the rich, ex-racist, overrated, white middle-class, non-Hip-Hop-fan-enticer as we hand over our hard-earned cash for a badly constructed, badly composed skid-mark of an album.

Looking like a depressed transexual especially with that glued-on beard, Eminem these days strangely resembles Mariah Carey’s impersonation of him. With a look and sound that’s now from the wrong decade, I really wonder who’s going to buy this crap, for me this album is as bad as 50 Cent’s Animal Ambition.

Eminem went from sounding like AZ to Masta-Ace-slash-Chino-XL to Tonedeff, but comparing any of those rappers’ recent work to this LP and you can plainly hear who was and still is the original talent. Similar to Kendrick Lamar, Eminem used to be the critically overrated, mainstream wonderboy of Hip-Pop, but in both Mathers’ and Duckworth’s case you could only buy into some of this overrating during their first or second album. Eminem being much further along in his career than Lamar, he has now reached the point where he has no real drive left. He’s probably sat in some villa cut-off from what’s in fashion and this LP is the result of having all the riches but none of the passion, basically someone falling the fuck off. I never liked the man anyway but this release makes Eminem’s old shit sound like Illmatic (which it definitely wasn’t). With this album he’s going…

Nowhere Fast.

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21 replies »

  1. Wow . Eminem’s last album was nowhere near as bad as this one . And I’d rate “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” a 3/10 . This one is a 1/10 . Why didn’t he do features with Conway The Machine , Westside Gunn , Crooked I or Royce on this ? Instead he has Ed Sheeran , Pink , Alicia Keys , Beyonce , X Ambassadors and Kehlani on this album . What a twat he is .

  2. Only a dumb human being would think this album is a Hip-Hop album Jesus Christ every song screams pop even offended, he still has nice rhyme schemes but every other thing is shit from his delivery and flow to his lame as fuck content, the production don’t stand out in anyway. If after years of waiting for him this is what he can offer then he is worse than mediocre, you can even see he doesn’t mean any of the shit he is saying, that track bad husband is filled with fakery, the only enjoyable song were castle and offended(in an album of 19 tracks ) I knew it was gonna be bad not just this bad.

  3. “Looking like a depressed transexual especially with that glued-on beard, Eminem these days strangely resembles Mariah Carey’s impersonation of him” You are funny as fuck. This one had me rolling

    Great Article!!

  4. I don’t see many similarities between Tonedeff’s early work and Eminem’s . Tonedeff delved into conscious , spiritual , political and philosophical subject matter much more than Eminem did during Marshall’s 1988-1998 time frame . There was no fake “gangsta” , “tough guy” or “serial killer” image with Tonedeff . You got an authentic indie sound mixed with fast delivery , storytelling and ultra-witty punchlines . Tonedeff also experimented with ambient sound and computer noises in his production . Similar to Kid Koala , Del The Funky Homosapien , Dan The Automator , Massive Attack , Jurassic 5 , Damon Albarn and Radio Head .

    “Revival” included — when I look back Eminem’s career he really ripped off Jamie Madrox , Monoxide Child and The R.O.C. .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Krazees

    House Of Krazees formed in 1992 . Along with Esham and I.C.P. they were they originators of the Detroit horror core sound .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoxide_Child

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Madrox_(Twiztid)

    In the “What Went Wrong With Eminem” article you referred to him as an “obscene Masta Ace / Chino XL / Tondeff clone” .

    I think a “Chino XL / Jamie Madrox / Monoxide Child / Rakim clone” is a better description .

    Look at the track “Heat” from “Revival” . It sounds like could have came from the album “Freek Show” by Twiztid , which came out in way back in October 2000 . “Heat” has “recentish” technology and pop culture references and is less hard edged than anything on “Freek Show” . Both Eminem and Twiztid like sampling from rock musicians . However , when Eminem does it sounds too slick and over-produced for my liking .

    “Remind Me” sounds like a dumbed down pop version of what Twiztid were doing on “Mutant (Volume 2)” in 2005 .

  5. I typed the above paragraphs very quickly . There are some typos . I still think “The Monotone E.P.” is Tonedeff’s best work . The track “Philosophy Heals The Soul” is a masterpiece . It’s as real now as it was in 1996-1997.

    On “Revival” Eminem goes for introspection and maturity on “Walk On Water”. It’s probably the best track on the album . Still “Uncle Marshall” name drops only mainstream 90’s rappers like Nas , Rakim , Tupac and LL Cool J . It’s fucked up that after all these years he can’t give Chino XL , Twiztid , I.C.P. or Canibus props in one of his songs .

  6. first of all its obvious that u hate the guy even in his best days. so that clearly affects ur judgment. ur speech is full of hatred and so pathetic. believe it or not em is considered GOAT both by his fans and fellow hip hop legends like rakim… saying that I’d like to point out few points
    1. UNLIKE Kendrick& jayz , the media despises em. they just need a little thing or mediocre feature to criticise him and write article about it. we’ve seen this from day one. back in the day they used to compare him with jayz which BTW is preposterous which of course continues even if em made a fool out of jayz in renegade.

    • First of all, it’s obvious you like riding Eminem’s dick, so much so that it clearly affects your judgement. Your comments are so filled with dick-licking that it’s embarrassing and pathetic. Obviously his fans think he’s the G.O.A.T., what kind of fans would he have if they didn’t? Rakim was signed with Aftermath so he’s essentially contractually obliged to kiss his arse but what’s your excuse?

      The media doesn’t despise Eminem, what world are you living in? The main reason he was so overrated when he first came out was because ALL mainstream magazines, DJs, TV shows etc. were plugging him like crazy.

      The fact that I’ve also criticised Jay-Z AND Kendrick Lemar (three time no less) makes your dumb fucking comment null and void. Go and listen to that wack-arse Revival album and stay off this site if you’re so offended by a little criticism.

  7. we’ve all seen what happen with speedom but I don’t hear anybody saying shit about Kendricks verses
    1. with maroon5
    2. sia
    3. u2
    and so on… they’re just terrible. but em had one mediocre feature and its a frontpage news.
    my point here’s critics just love to come at him just to get attention.

    • One mediocre feature? Ed Sheeran, Rihanna, Sia, Dido, Pink, Lil Wayne, Beyonce, Tyga… did I miss someone?

      I already criticised Kendrick so instead of pissing and moaning about who says what in the rest of the media world, maybe acknowledge that THIS SITE actually disses ALL lame Hip-Pop music regardless who’s making it.

  8. You missed Akon , X Ambassadors , Alicia Keys , Kehlani, Kendrick Lamar , Elton John and Drake for other Uncle Marshall pop features . There are probably many more . I would have to pull up his discography on Wikipedia to give a full list of them all .

  9. Also Adam Levine , Kanye West and Gwen Stefani . I won’t count
    Uncle Marshall’s features with Jeezy and Missy Elliott . Also Eminem allowed a remix with Hayley Williams to go through .

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