While best known on early albums for his colorful, darkly comic fantasies, there has been a refreshing emotional honesty about family relationships and personal insecurities throughout Eminem's long and storied career. That sense of laying your soul bare, alongside a much-vaunted latent politicization, lies at the heart of Eminem's long-awaited new album, Revival.
Opener "Walk On Water" reveals a rapper full of vulnerability and self-doubt. Beyoncé opens the track with the graceful, gospel-infused chorus, and her exultation of "I ain't no Jesus" provides the perfect introduction to a song which details Eminem's struggles to live up to his fan's unrealistic demands. Elsewhere, repentance takes center-stage. Eminem has issued apologies in his music before, but on "Bad Husband" he takes the opportunity to say sorry to ex-wife Kim Scott for his past misdeeds. That thoughtful tone continues on "Castle," an ode to the other significant female that has colored Eminem's life and informed his lyrics over the years: his daughter Hailie.
"Untouchable" finds him once again expounding on current events, rapping about the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality and the history of racism in the United States. Elsewhere, there are more pointed references to President Trump on "Like Home." Among the soul-searching, mature ruminations and political fire there are still elements of the old Slim Shady mischief. The lusty lyricist of yore is back on "Remind Me" while "Heat" features some of his raunchiest lyrics yet. There's his much-vaunted penchant for comic violence, too, on the likes of "Offended" and "Framed."