‘Revival’ buries Eminem six feet under

Courtesy of Interscope Records MusixMatch, a website dedicated to measuring top artists' vocabulary size, ranks Eminem at over 8,000 unique words. Eminem is trailed by Jay-Z who has slightly over 6,000 unique words.
Courtesy of Interscope Records
MusixMatch, a website dedicated to measuring top artists’ vocabulary size, ranks Eminem at over 8,000 unique words. Eminem is trailed by Jay-Z who has slightly over 6,000 unique words.

By Sean Armstrong | Staff Writer


The brand new Eminem album, Revival, is more like a burial. Being billed as a self proclaimed resurrection of a dying career, the newest release begs the question: What career?

Eminem is sensational in the rap scene and still widely known and regarded. For that reason, it is unclear what exactly he thinks he is reviving.

Eminem has already tried to reboot his career twice in recent years as well, first with Recovery, an album he released after he got out of rehab. He then tried again with The Marshall Mathers LP 2, where the rapper tries to establish he has morally changed since The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000.

Both albums aimed to show that the rapper is different than he used to be. Recovery was an album that announced the rapper was back and ready to release new music, while The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was a personal reconciliation for Eminem. Those albums served different purposes in reviving Eminem, both professionally and personally, Revival fails to do either.

The album starts thematically confused and only nosedives from that point on. The songs don’t create any kind of larger message, and they seem to be mismatched in their arrangement. The featured single and opening to the album, “Walk on Water,” details the artist’s struggles in the latter part of his career. The next song continues this idea by then addressing the artists strengths rather than weaknesses as a rapper.

The first two tracks provide the foundation for what seems to be a developing concept album. However, that idea is quickly obliterated with “Untouchable,” and a pattern of thematic upheaval continues throughout. One or two songs will fit a style or have similar messages and seem like two sides of the same coin. The very next track, however, will be a one off about a totally different topic.

There is nothing wrong with doing an album that has no conceptual theme, but doing a half-and-half approach is really just a poor way to do anything that is aimed to instill meaning. Eminem would have served his music better by releasing the tracks in smaller mixtapes that grouped the songs by their similar themes.

As bad as this confused presentation is, there are still more problems to be had with Eminem’s latest attempt at a comeback. The first half is lyrically botched, for example. The lyrics aren’t bad necessarily, but the implementation of them with the music is just atrocious.

The words come in choppy at best. They don’t flow, they aren’t even on beat at times, and overall, Eminem sacrifices the sound of his music for his message. It is like the rapper completely disregarded music as an essential part of what allows him to say he is a rapper. The first half of the album is slam poetry, not rap, and while poetry has its time and place, it is not what fans have come to expect of the rapper.

The second half of the album has its own issues as well. The rap flows better with the music, and the lyrics are more effective, but here the unoriginality of Revival becomes readily blatant.

“Castle” is the hallmark for repetitiveness on the album. The song talks about Eminem’s relationship to his daughter, Hailie, and how his fame cost her a normal life. This is something Eminem has talked about plenty of times. He has talked about this in songs like “Hailie’s Songs” and “Mockingbird” and has woven it into many verses over the course of his illustrious career. If this is supposed to be a comeback then perhaps try something new.

There are times in this album when the listener catches a few moments of gold, but these are few and far between. These moments suggest that Eminem still has talent, but what good is talent when the product feels so uninspired?

That’s what Revival is: uninspired. For whatever reason, Eminem seemed to have panicked and released a half-hearted album that imposes an aura of confusion and desperation to those that listened.

1 Comment

  1. Over a month late? Anyway, I feel like you’re missing the album. It was meant to have a bit of everything, which it did. It also covered a range of topics, from his regrets to the issue of racism in society. A whopping 19 tracks on his 9th studio album (so not including D12, VA’s, and Bad Meets Evil albums) is a solid effort that has paid off. He raps more than most can comprehend, so while you’re 5 lines back trying to understand what he meant by what he said, we’ve just heard some amazing poetry that illustrated a story, his feelings, etc. Look at his lyrics on Genius.com while listening to his music, you’ll see it’s amazing what he says, how he delivers it, and what he means by what he writes. Some hear “blah blah profanity, blah blah blah psychotic crap” but if you embrace yourself in it, you can connect a lot better and you can often feel the pain he’s in, or you feel the anger inside him, or you just simply just agree with it. You also gotta take into consideration a lot of his lyrics, particularly his older music (or even his song “Framed”), are jokes. Artists paint, and when they’re like “f**k it, I wanna do something odd, something funny, something weird” it’s no different than Eminem stopping his artistry to throw in some “horrorcore” — it’s perfect rhyme schemes gone bad… it’s actually quite fun. Anyway, no, he hasn’t buried himself, he’s just waiting for y’all to complain so he can get that fire and shove it up your a** with a dope new album in the future ahaha. Just like Trump, he wants a response, he wants a reaction so he can fire his ballistic rhymes down your throat hahahaha. Anyway, listen to his Chloraseptic Remix, he didn’t bury himself, he’s still here…. lurking in the shadows mwahaha

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