Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By (B Sides): Review
In the midst of a heightening trend of making a deluxe version of your album consist of another set of tracks that can have a release as its own new album, many go without notice because most times they don’t match up against the original set. Instead, this leads to a belief that some artists need to go about a better sense of picking songs. It doesn’t matter whether they are part of the new school or old, the turn out is a great thing for fans. However, I tend to see it a little differently depending on what they present. Eminem has come as one where his deluxe or B sides to his January release of Music To Be Murdered By comes with a stronger set of tracks opposite the A side. He finally has a better sense of song construction and lyricism that isn’t always there, but you get to hear the “fun” he has making them.
Sans the improvement, Eminem takes a different tone and approach to the Hitchcockian influence. Instead of something more jabby with instrumentals more savvy to films like Rebecca and Rope, the B Sides is more like Dial M for Murder and Rear Window with more instensity.
The Hitchcockian influence derives from the culture change Hitchcock had in Hollywood with the way his films implemented expansive stories beyond the outer layer in both Horror and Thriller. But this is Eminem and he doesn't build up stories like that and instead goes full force with what he wants to say. He takes the musical themes and cues to further implement his meanings, like if you strip a film bare.
It has structure, better rhythmic patterns and better chorus lines that mesh in transition. This comes with genuine surprise on the track, “Black Magic” featuring Skylar Grey, which usually never turns out well, but here is a different tune. She is minimized into a lowly atmospheric chorus that boosts the tonality of Eminen’s verses.
The B Sides are not as feature heavy as the A, and the features that show carry a lot of strength all their own, with artists and producers like Dr. Dre and DJ Premier to proper extent and boasting more oomph to the respective tracks they are a feature in. It all comes together with more ease than Revival. And speaking of older releases, Eminem drops a unique closer that takes you back to Relapse in a great way. It's fun and he flexes his lyrical and technical chops, without as much of a wince (most of the time on the former strength - lyrics).
Unfortunately the recurring problem of biting more than you can chew comes at the expense of those who listen to the proximity of the words and beat pattern. Like the bubble wrap line Eminem has on the 2013 track is weak beyond comprehensible measures, but at times it is okay here considering some of the self aware nature MTBMB B Sides has, especially on “Alfred’s Theme.” The jazzy instrumental has these nuances of a score like amplification someone like Bernard Hermann would apply to the movie. Though it lacks the dramatic escalation, the fun Eminem has performing this in the studio is audibly heard.
His direction has allowed Eminem to create a path where he gets a piece of both worlds. He continues to remind everyone that his technical prowess holds no limits. But unlike what they say about age, he isn’t that much wiser. However he tries to turn themes about disproving the “wash” sentiments into slightly new and unique ways. But it can’t help muddle the weaker tracks begotten throughout.
Outside of certain tracks, like “Kim,” and “Superman,” Eminem’s weakest moments come at the expense of drowning out his emotional feelings about women he sees or has dated. It brings about a necessity to hit the skip button. This is a slight recurrence on the album, with stars like “Tone Def,” and “Favorite Bitch,” which don’t embody enough to feel like they belong. They feel more like loosies that went through the “fuck it” phase and then mastered after slight adjustments. But there are some of you who enjoy that kind of Eminem, and if so he has enough to contribute on the journey for you.
But throughout that journey Eminem takes you, there is satisfaction to have from seeing him continuously showing he hasn't skipped a step on a technical level. Music To Be Murdered By B Sides isn't part of the strong closers of 2020, but it most certainly has enough punch to warrant a listen through.