It’s hard to watch this new Eminem as someone who’s followed Marshall from the first album. The tone of his music is infuriatingly dark these days, there’s none of the self-depreciating humour that marked his early work. There’s no light to balance out the dark. No Hi…My Name Is to balance out the The Way I Am style raps.
Everything Eminem’s putting out these days is marked with an intensity and fury that sucks the soul out of the music. Listen to Em in the middle of No Love, when he raps about being alive again, “more alive than I have ever been”. The line is delivered in a dead voice. It’s totally lacking in excitement. Later on, he namechecks Kanye West’s storming the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs. Eminem has delivered references like this in the past, but with an acid humour that was fun to laugh along with, even when he was being vile.
I miss old Eminem.
I miss those weird little sound effects that used to play in the background when he rapped. No other rapper did that. Well, maybe Snoop. But it added texture and comedy to the music, and I miss it now that it’s gone.
In No Love, the rapper hijacks the old Haddaway hit What Is Love? and ropes in Lil Wayne for a guest rap. It’s hard to complain about the Haddaway sample, but Wayne delivers his rap in a forgettable monotone and even Eminem seems to be operating on automatic throughout this. Sad to report, but it’s impossible to drink the Eminem koolaid when all his tracks are starting to blend into one angry, charmless man. Bring back the sense of humour!