When Eminem released his new single “Walk on Water,” featuring Beyonce, last week, most people thought the rapper, who used to be a huge superstar, was desperate. As Rolling Stone noted, Eminem surveys his life and career throughout the track, building on intensity as the song continues. However, a lot of people thought the song was more anemic than intense.
Pitchfork was particularly brutal.
“Once, about 6,000 years ago, Eminem sounded genuinely playful,” claimed critic Jayson Greene, adding that “Walk on Water” was nothing but a joyless trudge of a power ballad.
Vulture was a little nicer and just pointed out that the new song just wasn’t great. But many thought that Eminem had proven the skeptics wrong since “Walk on Water” instantly hit No. 1 on iTunes. Unfortunately, the song has plummeted to No. 13 as of Friday afternoon, and it keeps falling. According to the Pulse Music forums, where official radio monitoring charts are posted daily, Eminem’s latest has only moved up one spot, to No. 44, in the past day. It has gained some radio impressions, but not enough to be considered a hit.
Some commenters at the music industry site try to explain why we shouldn’t be shocked that Eminem’s new song isn’t an immediate hit.
“So the last monster hit for him was ‘Monster’ 4 years ago, so dont expect automatic success even for him and 4 years is a long time in US music business. The second thing is his age – he is 45 and not gonna make angry puberty music anymore (unlike Madonna),” says Sigur.
“This song itself isn’t exciting and CHR/Pop radio doesn’t really scramble for Beyonce anymore,” claims Heaux.
Perhaps Eminem’s stint on an upcoming SNL will make people feel differently about the song. Variety describes his appearance from a new promo.
In the clip, Chance the Rapper introduces himself and Eminem. When Leslie Jones asks why Eminem won’t battle her, he says it’s because she’ll win. Eminem is being dragged on Twitter for his promo clip.
— Clay (@ClaytonTramel) November 17, 2017
Eminem creeps me out with that weird stubble beard thing
— Sean Kincade (@TheNotoriousSRK) November 17, 2017
Perhaps one of the reasons people are down on Eminem has to do with the changing times. In a recent article, Grio refers to Eminem as “arguably the most homophobic and misogynist lyricist of our times.” As others have noted, homophobia and misogyny might have been embraced just one decade ago, but that certainly isn’t the case now. However, as the lyrics of “Walk on Water” show, Eminem might have changed from his old days. Unfortunately, so have the music charts.
[Featured Image by Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images]