Eminem has never been one to leave questions about his thoughts on social and political issues, and his new album, “Revival,” is no exception in this manner. Despite this common theme, this album seems much more mellow than other ones he has produced partly due to significant reflection in the lyrics. That being said, there are definitely some songs that show the Eminem we know and love.
One of the first songs from “Revival” that I heard on the radio was “Walk on Water” featuring Beyonce. The song starts with Beyonce singing slower than what is typical for an Eminem song. When I first heard the song on the radio, I wasn’t completely sure that I had heard it right and had to look up the song to see if it was actually Eminem I heard singing. Having listened to “Rap God,” this song is the complete opposite, where both Beyonce and Eminem sing about their insecurities and the struggles they face with being in the public eye through their professions. Eminem does not present his usual confident self, especially when he sings, “Am I lucky to be around this long? / Begs the question, though / Especially after the methadone.” It leaves listeners wondering what is going through his head right now.
One of the most powerful songs on this album is “Like Home” featuring Alicia Keys. The song starts with a short intro and then jumps right into Eminem’s opinion on President Donald Trump. He sings, “Someone get this Aryan a sheet / Time to bury him, so tell him to prepare to get impeached / Everybody on your feet / This is where terrorism and heroism meet, square off in the streets / This chump barely even sleeps / All he does is watch Fox News like a parrot and repeats.” It’s not just a complaint of everything Trump has done though. With the help of Keys, the song turns into a call for action, reminding the public that this is our country and we should be able to be proud of. For anyone who does not support Trump, this song is a reminder that we don’t have to just blindly accept everything that he stands for. Eminem makes more comments about Trump in other songs such as “Heat” and “Offended,” but none as blatant as those in “Like Home.”
Many songs on this album feel like Eminem is saying goodbye. He even comes out and says he is leaving the industry in “Castle” when he sings, “I’ll put out this last album then I’m done with it / One-hundred percent finished.” This could just be a meaningless lyric if it was the only indication, but there are other hints throughout “Revival.”
He seems to tie up some loose ends and reflect on various events that he has sung about previously. One example of this is the song “Bad Husband,” which features X Ambassadors and reflects on Eminem’s relationship with Kim Scott, his ex-wife. He questions how they could have such a rocky and unhappy relationship while Eminem continued to be a good father to their children.
One of the most intriguing songs on the album, which convinced me this could be his goodbye album, was “Arose,” where he talks about his drug-related health problems. This last song on “Revival” starts with Eminem singing about regretting all his choices to do drugs as that made him miss out on events in the lives of his daughters. The song takes place in 2008; Eminem sings as if he is lying in a hospital bed dying while his wife and daughters are waiting for him to open their Christmas presents. He leaves final comments to his brother, wife, daughters, father and mother. The melody of this song is much slower and calmer than most songs that Eminem sings, until the last minute, where he changes the tone. In the final minute, he swears to stop using drugs after the reality check that the rest of the song is about, and the song closes with a flushing toilet, where the listener can assume he is flushing his drugs.
“Revival” is one of the most diverse albums that Eminem has produced. Although he switches from his normal tone in a few tracks, he keeps the anger and energy that we expect from Eminem in songs like “Chloraseptic” featuring Phresher, “Untouchable” and “Offended.” In typical Eminem fashion this album includes controversial songs sharing his opinions with the world, while he also leaves nothing out, giving us some more sentimental songs than before. With all these changes, it leaves fans wondering, will this be the last time we hear from Eminem?