Hey, everyone. Fresh Orange here, The Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd™… and it’s time for a review of the new Eminem album, Revival. Wow. Wow! This album is bad, it’s… It’s really bad. Like, I don’t wanna waste your time. I don’t wa- I don’t wanna waste any more of my time… It i- It is bad. I feel like this record has already sucked away enough of my life force, so let’s not beat around the bush. Legendary Detroit rapper comes back, and releases a sequel to some of his most disliked albums, Relapse and Recovery. In a way, this album is kinda like a meditation on his waning relevance, or at least, that’s how he sets the tone on the opening track here featuring Beyoncé. He pens kinda, like, a lyrical odyssey on his fall from grace. The bare piano instrumental in the background was a nice touch, Beyonce’s hook on the track is very pretty… I find Eminem’s story and introspective lyricism on the track pretty compelling, despite this weird, erratic angry staccato flow that he seems to be locked into lately. He sounds like, uh, a malfunctioning tone-deaf robot who’s, like, finding out what feelings are for the first time. So, he writes this huge emotional track about his fame, his feelings on his fame, his alleged perfectionism And then, immediately after this, he spends the rest of the album delivering to us 18 cuts that, uh, pretty much exemplify why he’s not taken as seriously as he used to be. To kinda take it track by track, we have the barely tolerable “I Believe” and “Chloraseptic.” The former of the two there is kind of an extension of the opening track, but a bit more aggressive.
Both songs feature these very subtle, kind of muddy trap beats. Phresher, who’s featured on the song “Chloraseptic,” is the album’s lone rapper featured, but he doesn’t actually rap. He just handles the hook. You hear him occasionally on there, but then he just kinda disappears and falls into the background as Eminem’s delivering these triplet flows on the chorus. It’s kind of just, like, a really weird mix. It’s one of many weird mixes across this entire album. Like, how he has sold millions and millions of records and his songs are mixed like garbage, I don’t know. After this, we have the song, “Untouchable,” which could essentially be the centerpiece to a “Hamilton”-style rap musical inspired by white guilt. I get the sentiment behind the track. I get what Eminem is trying to communicate on the song, but I feel like his approach is just so grossly preachy and reductive. Not to mention, his yelpy vocals and the instrumental are absolutely hideous and annoying. Way to go ruining a completely good Cheech and Chong song. Eminem is right in this song, though, because sometimes it can be really embarrassing to be white. This moment is certainly one of them. [Eminem, “Foolish Pride”]
♪ Blacks and whites sometimes mix ♪ ♪ But black girls only want your money cos they’re dumb chicks ♪ ♪ So imma say it like this: ♪ ♪ Don’t date a black girl, take it as a diss. ♪ The song “River” featuring Ed Sheeran is, of course, a terrible, melodramatic rap ballad, the worst bar on this track being: “Actually just shit on my last chick / And she has what my ex lacks.” Ex lacks? Get it? Ex-Lax? Musically, the song just sounds really cliché, really trite, overly dramatic… The lyrics are all about being in a relationship built on lies and taking advantage of one another. It’s pretty unlikable. N-no reason to listen to this track ever again. The song “Remind Me” ruins another perfectly good song: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll.” It’s this really garish, ugly rap-rock fusion, with the worst bar on it being, “Your booty is heavy-duty… *sigh* like diarrhea.” Yeah, it’s just stomach churning. It’s sickening. I can’t stand it. The song “Like Home” is this anti-Trump anthem that is trying way too hard, *way too hard* to be meaningful, anthemic, and inspiring. Like, I wish that Eminem had just recorded an acapella of his BET freestyle and just put it on here. Some of the bars on this thing are, like, so corny in comparison to his performance there. The overblown kick drums and the glossy MIDI pianos in the mix do not help. The worst bar on this track has to be: “Cos this type of pickle we’re in’s hard to deal.” As- as in- as in-*cough* As in, like, d-deal. Like “dill,” like “dill pickle.” Also, on this track, he rhymes “Nazi” with “not see,” and “General Lee” with “generally.” On the song “Bad Husband,” I don’t know what’s worse. Is it the instrumental and the X Ambassadors’ hook?
Th-the weird sputtering electronics in the beat? Or is it Eminem’s lyrics about, “How can I be such a garbage, abusive spouse but such an amazing dad???” Which, I mean, I get it. Some people are terrible at some things and good at other things. It’s not really rocket science. It just seems like a really weird, kinda, humblebrag. Y’know, now that I think about it, it’s definitely the X Ambassadors’ hook. Tha-that’s grosser. Tha-that’s the grossest part, even with Eminem’s final verse on the track trying its best to evenly distribute the blame across both parties… *cough cough* really desperately. The song “Tragic Endings” literally sounds like a demo. The mix sounds like crap.
It sounds like a demo song.
Why is it on this album? I think this song just goes to show that all the money in the world cannot buy good taste. It apparently cannot buy good production, either. The song “Framed” is actually one of the better sounding tracks on the record. Lyrically, it’s a pretty funny song. Eminem comes through with this zany, very expressive flow. Kind of feels like old Eminem. There’s a bit of a serial killer vibe coming through in the lyrics, too. It’s kind of fun, however, I think Em sort of botches the hook on this thing like he did his marriage. “I was fraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamed.” “He got nothing to do with meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” We have more excruciating melodrama on the song “Nowhere Fast.” It’s pretty much your typical Eminem “tugging-at-your-heartstrings” affair, but with Kehlani on the hook. Ehh… There’s really nothing special about the track outside of Eminem’s vocal passages at the 3:20 mark, which is some of the worst vocal layering I’ve heard all year. It sounds like Eminem trying to harmonize with MIDI strings and a tone-deaf robot. [Eminem, “Nowhere Fast”]
♪ Who knows what the future for us could hold? ♪ ♪ Another shooter? Uh-oh ♪ The song “Heat” is this really stomach-churning country-rap. It sounds like Eminem took every terrible quality of a Yelawolf song and tried to condense them down into one song. The hook kind of makes me laugh, maybe not in a way that Eminem intended, but that’s, uh, I guess that’s an upside. And there are numerous contenders on this thing for the worst bar: “Girl, you’re just gonna have to put them other chumps on the backburner / You got buns, 𝐼 𝒢𝒪𝒯 𝒜𝒮𝒫𝐸𝑅𝒢𝐸𝑅𝒮.” “I just bodied the beat, so that whole must have been dug / cuz it just died like food coloring, duh!” “So let’s get turnt like a shish kebab / Twist it, ma, like an air conditioning knob.” *KOFF* On the song “Offended,” I am offended, but maybe not in the way that Eminem intended me to be offended. Because there’s nothing really all that edgy about the song, you know? It’s just kind of childish, that’s all. And there are actually some decent bars on this thing. I like that line about “[not being able to] catch a body if somebody fainted,” or that other line saying that his competition can’t see him because he doesn’t own a mirror(!) which, I think, inadvertently, is kinda a statement about Eminem digging himself so far down into a hole of mediocrity that he’s literally lost all touch with the outside world and and he’s the only person who he-who he can talk to. No really, I mean, with this track, I’m just kind of offended that I wasn’t offended that much. The most annoying thing about the cut is, uh, the moment where Eminem breaks it down into, like, a playground rhyme, where he says everybody is gonna eat his turds. For the most part, this is just zany, off-the-wall Eminem, y’know? You have lines about Bill Cosby, uh, facializing an interracial blow-up doll of Rachel Dolezal There are moments in the song I think are kind of funny, and pretty entertaining, but it does not make up for every awful track I’ve had to sit through thus far! The song “Need Me,” featuring P!nk, is-is really like a P!nk song featuring Eminem. She takes up a bulk of the track, which, maybe, is a saving grace if you like P!nk and you don’t want to hear so much Eminem anymore on this album. The song “In Your Head” completely ruins a wonderful Cranberries song. It’s one of my favorite Cranberries songs. It’s one of the best songs of the 90s. [In Your Head] totally wrecks it.
What is with this album and the lazy sampling?
(Spoiler alert: Rick Rubin.) Most of the time it just sounds like when there is a sample on the album, Eminem is just rapping over a badly mixed and muddy cut of the song itself, and Just leaving it like that with some extra drums pumped in just to give it some punch. I mean, for the majority of the song “Arose,” Eminem is just rapping over, like, this very faint sound of somebody singing, uh, the LeAnn Rimes song “Some Say Love.” Maybe it’s a sample of the original track. I couldn’t quite tell. It was super quiet, and something about the the sound of the vocal sounded a little off and weird. The song “Castle” is one of the few tracks on the record I legitimately enjoy. The female singer on the track is quite nice.
Her vocal melody is very eerie and alluring. The instrumental is decent too. Eminem is rapping, from a very heartfelt place, about his daughter about to be born. There’s this really strong sense of emotion and nostalgia and time passing on this cut. There are moments where the storytelling and the narrative power of the track, like, almost approaches, like, “Stan”-levels of amazing. There’s a moment where the tone of the track almost starts to take that of a letter. Eminem takes some pills, and then it’s like he’s dead, essentially. Which brings us into the next track, the final track, “Arose,” Where Eminem pulls off a pretty heart-wrenching performance where it seems like he scares himself into having to say all these things to his family and his loved ones that he wishes he would be able to if he did, in fact, die. It’s a pretty moving moment, although he does occasionally sabotage it with some very corny puns. Eminem is on his deathbed on this track, and he’s still writing bars like there’s a bunch of dudes in the emergency room going “Oh. Oh. Woah. Aah.” So, there’s a point in the track when he sort of rewinds, and sort of goes back in time to where he doesn’t take those pills, doesn’t put himself on his deathbed, the beat of the previous track reintroduces itself, and he ends the album flushing the pills down the toilet. Which is actually kind of fitting for this album: to end with the sound of a toilet flushing. Yeah, this, this thing is awful. Light 2. Tran- sition! Have you given this album a listen? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Did you love it, or did you hate it? What would you rate it? You’re the best, you’re the best.
What should I review next?
(spoiler alert: Street Gang Imagery.) Hit the like if you like.
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Anthony Fantano. Eminem. Forever.