Previously on Eminem’s road to sobriety we got Marshall Mathers LP II. After a triplet of bad to mediocre albums, fans were finally bestowed with a good Eminem album. During Eminem’s hiatus from music, the Detroit hip-hop scene flourished. Artists such as Big Sean, Danny Brown, Royce da 5”9 and Tee Grizzley all made big strides in their careers. In 2016, Eminem brought an excellent verse in Big Sean’s ‘No Favors’, as well was the acapella Trump rant, ‘Campaign Speech’. In late 2017, Em announced his upcoming album, which Rick Rubin was also working on.
In mid-November, the first single was released. ‘Walk On Water’ featured vocals by Beyonce, as Eminem ruminated over his spot in contemporary hip-hop culture. While this reflective, stripped down track was decent, for many the alarm bells were already ringing. In early December, the second single dropped. ‘Untouchable’ was an incredible disappointment. While the Cheech and Chong sample was clearly the watermark of Rick Rubin, Eminem indulged the listener in a two-part cringe fest.
The response to ‘Untouchable’ was so negative, the release date for Revival was pushed back by a week.
Then the tracklist dropped. Pessimism reached new lows, many outraged by the list of features. Billboard artists such as Ed Sheeran, X Ambassadors and P!nk were especially unpopular inclusions. Even Eminem’s Slaughterhouse signee, Joe Budden could not hold back contempt when asked about the album. Then on December 15, 2017 it dropped. Revival is without a doubt the worst album ever to be released by Eminem. The lyrics are so bad, it makes Lil Pump look like an intellectual.
‘Chloraseptic’ features one such cringey line, “”The way I’m kickin’ these fairies’ tails (/fairytales) / I should write a children’s storybook”. Then there’s this from ‘Like Home’: “This type of pickle that we’re in is hard to deal (/dill)”. Have you suffered enough? Well try this on for size: “Your booty is heavy duty like diarrhea.”
The features do nothing to save Eminem either. How can we take the person who wrote these lyrics seriously? Eminem was once the bridge to hip-hop for people outside of the African-American community. No matter what race or gender, you could appreciate Eminem’s biting criticisms of societal norms or his witty lyrics. It’s been a long time now since he really dropped something special. Yes, Eminem has changed, he’s trying to sober up and recover from years of addiction. Yes, it’s not fair to ask for Slim Shady to come back, but can a successful Eminem exist without that personality? The majority of this album is unlistenable, yet hope always remains for a good Eminem album.
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