Album Review: ‘Music to Be Murdered By – Side B’ by Eminem

Imagine what you can do about “Music to Be Murdered By – Side B,” but you can’t say Eminem isn’t having fun.

This has hardly been overshadowed by much of Marshall Mathers’ recent releases. Whether he struggled to keep up with his old image of a bad boy, wrestling in public with criticism, eloquently proves that his chops were still intact with tricks of lyrical virtues acrobatic (if sometimes vapid), occasionally attempting to reinvent “Love the Way You Lie,” or trying a little too hard at Have Something to Say, mid-career Eminem is often called being paralyzed by pressure of war. A few years after his career reached a low with the leaden “Revival,” “Music to Be Murdered By” in January last year was a step in the right direction, even if it was sometimes suffer from the same schizoid lack of focus.

For his second release of 2020 – which, as before, fell without warning (although this time around, rumors were circulating of a man claiming to be Phoebe Bridgers, a new Grammy entrant , a famous guest) – Em seems to be doing exactly what he wants to do, which in this case makes a lot of nothing groaner humor. Fiercely inappropriate, an R-rated father jokes, but nothing jokes nonetheless. “I buy that capital as a proper noun.” “A penny makes more sense.” “I look at your head like Phillies’ hat. ”“ Have you heard of Kris Kristofferson? Well, I’m Piss Pissedofferson. “Do those punchlines miss more often than they hit? Yes, yes, they do. Is it hard to decide how I can feel about the many jokes? This classroom comes from a 48-year-old man who admits he already sees “5-0 sneaking at me like a watch car.” Absolutely, but it’s still a relief to hear him stop by. trying to be like everything and just letting his inner Adam Sandler release.

That doesn’t mean that “Side B” is a good record. After all, there is a difference between just not giving a fuck, which has been Em ‘s guiding principle from the beginning, and not having proper quality control, and “Side B ”Across the map. The album starts off awkwardly with “Black Magic,” a sad murder ballad with the necessary Skylar Gray hook and the same tired lines of a splatter movie. Things go up with “The Alfred Theme,” which focuses on the Hitchcockian concept of the album by sampling “Funeral March of a Marionette” and performing a sad play called “Hitchcock,” ”And from there, the album sees between fast-paced dirty fire puns and catchy rhyme shows, with plenty of COVID references on hand to make sure this album, like everything else it is released, easy to find the moment it came out.

Is there anything wrong with Eminem turning into an LP value of dick jokes and non-sequiturs of pop culture? There are far worse fares for an aging MC, and it’s good to hear that he no longer takes care of himself, or engages so generously with his place in music-making. pop. But the heaps of embarrassing comedy wear off over a 52-minute “Side B”, and the beats are rarely special enough to keep things interesting. The middle of the “Gnat” mercurial record – easily the latest production here – is an exception, as is the lively “Killer” and the debt of a 50 Cent prime would be obvious even without the “In da Club ”special shout out. Both of these tracks were produced by DA Got That Dope, with Eminem making or co-producing most of the rest, along with support from Dr. Dre. (Em’s former advisor rarely appears on the son for “Blazing Guns,” but he spends most of his bars without a list complaining about his ex-wife. )

Like any middle-aged troublemaker, Eminem often mentions the danger of being put off; although unlike his peers in unstable comedy sections and newspaper comments, he is never particularly concerned about the preview. After all, lobbying lyrical loogies at a good taste from his studio’s safe haven is his most reliable form of self-care. But what made Eminem so magnetic was that he was unwilling to explode anger and say horrible things – literally one can do that – his ability to recognize was so irresponsible. ‘ he said, and sometimes offered a preemptive apology, while at the same time doubling down on the offense. We get a glimpse of that here as he tries to disparage his controversial controversy over the murder of the 2017 Ariana Grande concert on his last album (“I know nothing comedy involving the Manchester bombing, ”he admits), and then immediately joking about the Boston Marathon bombing. Is it funnier this time? Not at all. But at least it shows that Em can still operate on the same level of irony of a bait-and-switch situation.

We do get one full excuse, however, on the final track “Zeus,” where he offers a mea culpa to Rihanna for an ugly release incident on which he joked about her attack at the hands of Chris Brown. He definitely feels bad about it, as he does later in the song when he confronts Snoop Dogg for some less smooth ideas, and warns the likes of Drake and Migos that their periods of incompetence do not last much longer. which he did. With his honest times, Eminem has always walked the fine line between winning without skin and thin skin, and “Zeus” usually ends on the right side of that ledger. , but just straight. “They want me to rap sensibly,” he complains at one point, and one has to ask: who does, exactly? It’s hard to imagine anyone still hoping to see Slim Shady turn into a bad statesman, and judging by “Music to Be Murdered By – Side B,” he doesn’t seem too interested in that role either. .