Eminem – Revival
Label: Shady, Aftermath
Producers: Dr Dre, Rick Rubin, Eminem
Singles: Walk On Water (ft Beyonce)
Anyone with a keen interest in anything hip-hop or rap, will agree that Eminem has been in constant decline since Relapse. Recovery was even worse, a drum-powered bore, and an album that played home to one of ‘hip-hop’s most cringeworthy pop crossovers of all time- the Rihanna-featuring Love The Way You Lie. Then it looked like things may be changing with the release of The Marshall Mathers LP 2, fronted by the manic lead single Bezerk. But those hopes were short-lived, and The MMLP2 was just as forgettable as Eminem’s last two projects. Four years later, we’re introduced to the world of Eminem’s ninth studio album Revival, via the Beyonce-featuring lead single Walk On Water- and to say the reception was muted would be an understatement.
As such a huge Eminem fan, I knew Revival would not be an enjoyable listen, as has been the case for the last ten years, and unfortunately I was right. Revival is nothing of the sort, and relies on the same blank formula that made Eminem’s last two albums so lifeless. His lyrics and delivery are as dull and uninteresting as they’ve ever been, with this choppy start-stop flow doing the horrible production no favours throughout. At least when he was chopping up bodies on Relapse, there was some kind of shock value. Perhaps the most crushing moment among the album is the unforgivable I Love Rock N Roll-sampling Remind Me. Besides the horrible sample and cheap production, it boasts the potent lines- ‘I’m lookin’ at your tight rear like a sightseer / Your booty is heavy duty, like diarrhoea’.
The overall feel to Revival is that it’s lethargic, and so largely irrelevant in today’s hip-hop landscape. But perhaps what’s so damning about Eminem’s ninth studio album, is that this was his opportunity, the best of his career so far perhaps, to become a voice, and resurrect his legacy as one of the finest wordsmiths in music. A lot has changed in the world since his last album, with it now in its most unstable state for years, particularly in America, leaving a voice-of-our-generation of Eminem’s talents to really have an impact. But in truth the album doesn’t make an impact, continues the sounds of Recovery and MMLP2, continues Eminem’s decline as an artist, and can easily be called the most disappointing album in Eminem’s discography.
Verdict – WV