On November 5th, Eminem dropped his 8th solo studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP2.
Its title seems to be in reference to “The Marshall Mathers LP2”, Eminem’s third studio album that was released thirteen years earlier. However, Eminem tells Rolling Stone, “It’s not necessarily a sequel. To me, it’s more about the vibe and the nostalgia.”
The album starts off with Bad Day, a full 7 minutes of psycho rap. However, Rhyme and Reason is slightly low-keyed compared to Bad Day, creating a balance of dynamic and variety in the album.
Bezerk is the single Eminem released prior to the album. It’s definitely the typical Eminem song, intense, aggressive downbeats with Eminem rapping over a simple melody. Headlights ft. Nate Ruess, the lead singer of Fun, is likely the most interesting collaboration on the album. With Nate’s unique high voice battling Eminem’s low-key rap, the collaboration creates an interesting dynamic for a good song.
Nonetheless, Eminem is still prominent for the brilliance of his lyrics which combine a sense of confidence, candid honesty, yet a degree of comedy and nostalgia. If you can hear closely enough to catch the lyrics, you can even hear Eminem refer to rather “nerdy” references. For example, in Rhyme Or Reason, he mentions many things connected to Star Wars. He also references movies, ranging from superhero movies to animated movies such as The Smurfs. “You won’t break me/you just make me” in Stronger Than I Was, delivers a message of confidence and strength through hardship and heartbreak, claiming that whoever the song was intended for “made me a better person than I was.”
As a fan of Eminem’s past music such as Mockingbird and Not Afraid, my preference for his music has progressively gone downhill. “Obviously I pay attention to what’s going on and what’s out and keep my finger on that pulse. But I don’t ever want to be like or do like what anyone else is doing,” Eminem comments about TMMLP2, choosing to leave the more current-sounding music up to the producers.
Nevertheless, The Marshall Mathers LP2 has received outstanding reviews from critics ranging from the Los Angeles Times to Rolling Stones. Hills West Senior Chris Felice says, “I thought it was a great bounce back from his last album and he retained much of his humor while at the same time, discussing emotional topics.” Certainly, Felice is not the only supporter of this album, as it received a 3.5 our of 4 star review from USA Today and was ranked number 24 on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 50 albums of 2013, who also rated the album 4 out of 5 stars.
Nonetheless, the 21 songs released on The Marshall Mathers LP2 will force you to decide whether the album is fantastic, or if, like me, you’re not going to be buying it.