Most helpful positive review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Worthy of the original? No. This one's better.
on 5 November 2013
I've listened through this album once only so I'll admit it's quite early to make a final judgement. But my first impression is that not only is this a hip hop masterpiece - musically, lyrically, conceptually - but it is the strongest contender, in my opinion, for Em's best album to date. So let's break it down a little.
For one, this is a love letter to fans of the original Marshall Mathers LP. The opener Bad Guy makes plenty of references to classic lines from the MMLP, the song "So Far" actually uses small samples from the songs "I'm Back" and "The Real Slim Shady" - to name but two - and the skit "Parking Lot" (one of only two skits on the entire album) is a fun sequel to the song "Criminal" on the original LP. So the name of the new album is not just some cheap marketing ploy; there's substance to it, not least in the sense that volume 2 reaches and even outdoes volume 1, which many regard as his best, most influential album.
Musically, the production here reaches heights never heard before be it in terms of the pop-savvy beats, the rock-fueled guitar and the dead-on piano riffs (capturing the best of the MMLP), not to mention the voice work. The album sounds expensive and is a cross between Em's early work and the underrated Encore and Relapse; Recovery sounds flat compared to what we have here but nothing Eminem has put out to date quite equals the production values on here. In addition, there is the right balance between loud tracks like Bezerk and softer tracks like Legacy - that helps give the album a harmonious feel.
Lyrically, Em is as over the top as ever and at the top of his game, breaking standards he himself has set for hip hop artists. I obviously didn't catch all the subtleties, self-references and jokes on my first listen through but it's clear that MMLP2 will repay multiple listens - plenty of stuff to dig into, if one isn't too distracted by the excellent musical production, that is. I'm also glad to note that Eminem hasn't given up on his skilled use of "accents" and nasal delivery, which makes this album closer in feel to Encore and Relapse than his last, Recovery, which for me is a good thing. However, as on Recovery, there are plenty of artists who sing the chorus on this album and Em continues his singing career which is now stronger than ever as shown, ironically, on a song called "Stronger than Before" where he sings more than he raps.
Highlights. So many to choose from. Because I'm a nerd I give stars to tracks I listen to on Media Player. No less than ten of the tracks got five stars from me and none less than four stars. I will no doubt upgrade some of my ratings in due course since I know from experience that Eminem's albums tend to be growers. The absolute highlights for me though are the awesome songs Rhyme or Reason and Legacy - the latter is a slow, soft, song which I personally think better than Stan and Rhyme or Reason needs to be listened to to be believed. There are of course the singles Bezerk, Rap God, Survival and Monster, which are excellent. Also noteworthy is that, to my knowledge, this is Em's first album to contain two songs, namely the excellent "Bad Guy" and the closer "Evil Twin", which break the seven minute barrier; and contrary to expectation they never let up.
So to round up Eminem is back for good this time and has done the best fan service possible by releasing what is arguably his best album to date and one of the best Hip Hop albums of all time, no less (and I say this owning a huge hip hop collection). This is a five star album which will have a long shelf life and confirm Eminem's superstar status. Well done Slim!