This review is disingenuous and written to rile you up for clicks. I apologize for stooping so low and am disappointed in myself for it. Please read my REDUX REVIEW for the album HERE instead.
I’m going to save you time and say that this album is bad in every possible way. Everything that hindered both Revival and Kamikaze is present with thrice the potency… and I liked Kamikaze.
From the ear-grating rock instrumentals and discount trap production, to the inexplicably bad mixing, to atrocious singing and (though I don’t want to admit it) stilted rapping; Music To Be Murdered By is the final nail in the coffin of proof that Eminem has completely lost the magic that made his past material so engaging.
There’s little to no evolution or growth from Eminem which only serves to increase the staleness of the album.
I love Eminem. Despite my sky-high hype for Mac Miller’s Circles (which is incredible), I made time for Em first because how instrumental he has been in forming my current love for hip-hop. There’s always a sliver of hope within me, holding on to the possibility of another post-MMLP2 great Eminem album.
But MTBMB is the last straw. Eminem is his own worst enemy, and his inability to provide any productive evolution in his work despite being well aware of his numerous criticisms is infuriating.
There are 2 serviceable tracks on here. Firstly, “Lock It Up” where Anderson .Paak delivers the best performance on the record that manages to rope in Eminem from going full manic. Plus, “Farewell” which features a pretty banging pop-rap beat and typical vocal-layered Em hook that works surprisingly well, given its recent high propensity to miss the mark.
Yet these tracks are only good in comparison to the rest of the album, most of which is a shoddy and inferior retreading of 2009’s Relapse.
As clearly evidenced by the title, MTBMB is another Slim Shady attempt at horror-core but instead of underrated Dr. Dre production and witty bars, they’re replaced by shoddy attempts at mainstream adaptation and petty stabs at provocation.
There are disses about Machine Gun Kelly that will age like cheese that’s left out in the Australian summer; and lines that turn the tragedy of the Manchester Ariana Grande concert bombing into a tasteless punchline.
He literally made a whole song on the Las Vegas concert shooting on “Darkness”, then immediately does a 180 to include a line that belittles a similar tragedy. It’s absolutely absurd.
But I’m contemplating yelling “Bombs away” on the gameEminem, “Unaccommodating”
Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting
To play devil’s advocate, Eminem is still the same provocative rapper that he was 20 years ago. However, the main difference between then and now is Em’s charisma. His early work featured fluently delivered sarcasm that straddled the line between humour and offensiveness. Em’s current state is like a bitter old man that’s trying to relive his glory days by retreading the same few jokes all the time.
He’s not funny anymore and his overflowing amount of skill isn’t enough to make up for his shortcomings either. As his performances across the record also leaves a lot to be desired.
Sure he can rap fast, as he adamantly shows on numerous tracks on here, but his emphasis on pure skill leaves every other musical element of his songs in the dust. It’s the equivalent of listening to a wood chipper that placed in the middle of an empty rap club that’s struggling for youth relevance.
Eminem is a 47 year old man. He’s proven everything that he has to prove; highest-selling artist of the 2000s, best-selling and most decorated rapper of all time, a certified legend in the game.
If he had retired after Kamikaze, he could have gone out on a relative high with his legacy somewhat intact. But with the state of Music To Be Murdered By, and the possibility of many more similar records in the future, I can only pray that Eminem will still be able to end his career as an artist to be respected, instead of the has-been that most will now see him as.
It’s only January of 2020, but this album is already a strong contender for one of the worst of the decade.