By Clare McCabe
Released November 5th, 2013 - UMusic
You used to always know what you were getting with Mr Mathers. Parental Advisory stickers abounded. He had loads of fun offending as many people as possible and swearing often.
But the last two albums I have found disappointing and to be honest I nearly didn't bother checking out the latest release. Now that would have been a bad move.
There is a load of publicity surrounding Eminem's latest effort - perhaps too much as everyone is super keen on comparisons here. A fabulous video for Berzerk featuring Mr Rick Rubin in all his bearded glory and some excellent sampling of the Beastie Boys was released first. Great tune and excellent video. In fact the whole album was executive-produced by Eminem's old pal Dr Dre and Rick Rubin.
The thing with Eminem is when he is on form (which this album proves he still can be) his songs are so catchy that you can't stop listening to them. Over and over. Case in point the mighty So Far, a reworking of Joe Walsh's Life's Been Good in which Eminem sings "got friends on Facebook all over the world, not sure what that means they tell me it's good" and a wee touch of Slim Shady sneaks in there too. Make this one your next single thanks Marshall.
Oh yes, the man sure can rhyme. And he is still quite angry.
However, he is also a big fan of the collaborations - on this album he joins with Rihanna on The Monster (not one of his best as Rihanna tends to overpower anybody she sings with, but that means it will do super well in the charts I suspect). Then there is the great sing-along Love Game with Mr Kendrick Lamar and the wonderfully fast and offensive Rap God. Another gem is Headlights (featuring Nate Ruess) which is a lovely ballady number about poor old Marshall's mother - who he has slandered many times over his previous albums. I'm sure everyone will bring out the lighters for this one when Eminem plays at Western Springsearly next year - oh no wait, that's probably banned these days. And then there is the anthem Survival which brings back shouty Eminem (along with the fabulous Liz Rodrigues).
Now this album is quite long, and some of the tunes feel a bit like filler, or maybe there are just too many "guest singers". But the great ones (Berzerk, So Far, Survival and Headlights) totally make up for that. Oh the joy of being able to skip tracks as and when. And you can't help but love the "skits" that Eminem includes on his albums.
Can you believe that it has been 13 years since the Marshall Mathers LP was released? Or that Eminem is in his 40s now. Will there ever be another "Stan" moment in Eminem's career? Probably not. But there are surely some new classics in amongst the Marshall Mathers LP 2. If you are intending on catching Eminem on tour next year, this is a must-listen to ensure you can sing along to some of his new tunes.
All together now: I own a mansion but live in a house. A king-size bed but I sleep on the couch...