Music To Be Murdered By is a gimmicky, surface-level album. Eminem wastes no time making sure his listeners know that by opening the album with “Premonition – Intro.” This song starts with the sound of someone screaming paired with what sounds like digging a grave. The sound effects come across as cheesy and theatrical, which, unfortunately, sets the scene for the rest of the album.
I’m just going to say it — all of Eminem’s songs sound the same. Features are the only refreshing thing on this album. Young M.A carries the weight of “Unaccommodating.” This song probably would’ve been better left without Eminem’s bridge. There is a time and place for Eminem’s inaudible, fast-paced lyrics and that time and place is on “Rap God” in 2013. His style did not age well and as an artist, he lacks evolution or progression. This album exemplified that Eminem is an old dog who has no interest in learning new tricks.
Ed Sheeran appeared as another feature on this album, which seemed out of place. Eminem’s voice with Sheeran’s are like oil and water, they simply do not mix. Ed Sheeran should stick to what he knows, and Eminem should go back to the drawing board to develop his own voice, opposed to throwing features on his album in an attempt to make it worth the listen.
Similar to “Premonition”, “Unaccommodating” lacks any abstract or deep thought. Eminem alludes to the tragic bombings at Ariana Grande’s 2017 Manchester concert, “But I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.” Then, shockingly, Eminem includes the sound of a bomb exploding. This was tasteless and quite frankly disrespectful to the victims of the Manchester terror attack. Acknowledgement of tragedy through music is one thing, but literally playing the sound of a bomb being deployed is the wrong way to go about it.
In another instance of crudeness, Eminem raps, “they call me Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini/ Where’s Osama been? I been laden lately/ Look at how I’m behaving, they want me gone away/ They wanna JonBenet me (F*** you), I’m unaccommodating.” The Osama Bin Laden pun is unnecessary to say the least. I can’t picture many listeners who would be eager to sing along to lyrics about Al-Qaeda followed up with the tragic death of an American sweetheart, JonBenét Ramsey. This leaves me curious about who exactly Eminem was trying to connect to with this album, as each song seems to push mainstream listeners further and further away.
“Darkness” got a lot of press for being a call for gun control in America. However, the music video and song largely missed the mark. In a reenactment of the Las Vegas mass shooting, the video was uncomfortable and chilling. Eminem’s attempt to evoke activism among listeners may be valiant but paired with “Unaccommodating” there seems to be a rift between Eminem’s good intentions and poor execution.
“You Gon’ Learn” follows suit with weak, unnecessary background sounds heard all over this album. There is an airy voice over the entire track that sounds off-beat. The combination of Eminem’s harsh rapping and the light sound of White Golds’ voice sounds like a mismatched pairing.
The album cover is an honest depiction of what listeners should expect from Music To Be Murdered By. There is jelly looking blood smeared down one side and Eminem dressed in a suit on the other doing his classic look-down stare. Even the font chosen looks cheesy and too literal, cough, cough, did they really need to make the “I” into a knife? Probably not. One good thing about Eminem’s newest release is listeners can look at the cover and choose not to listen before even hitting download as the cover art says it all; this album is going to be cheap and gimmicky. Despite being an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, the album cover comes across as cheesy and out of touch, not doing Hitchcock justice.
This album was hard to listen to start to finish. It is outdated, tasteless and overall missed the mark for a 2020 rap album. Eminem lacks complexity or progression as an artist, leaving listeners bored with the same sound we have heard for two decades now. This album is not worth the listen, most of the content is recycled from Eminem’s older albums and his sound is almost identical to his previous works.