For someone under the age of say, seventeen, take my word for it that Eminem was once the biggest rapper alive. His abrasive style made him an early-00s shock-jockey icon.
‘Walk On Water’ meanwhile, is the most flaccid, joyless and irrelevant song in Eminem’s increasingly morose, lifeless career.
“Why are expectations so high?” Marshall opens, setting the tone for a song obsessively focused on his own diminishing artistic returns. The expectations aren’t that high Marshall, forgive me for wanting a song that isn’t a total fucking chore.
‘Walk On Water’ is essentially a power ballad. With no beat, rhythm or pace whatsoever. Considering Eminem is a hip-hop artist, this is the equivalent of a thrash metal band releasing a song with no guitar, bass or drums, just someone holding down a single note on a Casio keyboard.
‘Walk on Water’ trudges down the path of tedious navel-gazing that has become the norm of latter-day Eminem. And whilst ‘Love The Way You Lie’ and ‘The Monster’ were great songs despite it (the Rihanna effect – or perhaps just having a beat? Maybe?) this song is closer to ‘Not Afraid’; painfully serious and no fun whatsoever.
The gimmick here is that it’s a confessional – hence the sounds of scribbling, scrunching of paper and barely audible asides that permeate the verses. You should have scrunched up the entire lyric sheet and tossed it into the paper bin of artistic oblivion, you silly twat.
Why was this released? I feel sorry for the mixing team, the audio engineers, the people who were contractually obliged to stay awake during the mastering.
Stoic, serious rap music does not have to be played so straight, and Chance The Rapper & Kendrick Lamar have proven that on their recent releases. It would be nice to have an alternative to mainstream rap music – i.e twatty songs about how big my car is.
For a latter-day comeback single this isn’t a bad angle, the problem is that no one cares about whether Eminem has trouble writing raps; except Eminem. Come to us when you’ve actually written one. This is like turning in your working-out as the answer to a maths question.
Eminem is trying so hard to sound pained and serious that it passes into farce. The line “If you bitches are trying to strip me of my confidence – mission accomplished!” is the lamest, snow-flakiest thing ever said on planet earth.
The thing is we’ve come to expect this kind of exhausting self-obsession from Eminem, it’s Beyoncé I’m surprised at. She has one of the most carefully controlled personas in pop culture. Why the hell did she agree to sing even this one refrain, which is repeated over and over, each time sounding more desperate.
This is a mess – a boring plod of insipid sad pianos, saccharine plug-in strings and a sad reminder of Eminem’s dulled passion.