On Friday afternoon, Eminem released a new song called “Walk on Water,” which features Beyonce. It’s a slow and emotional song in which some say Eminem sounds more like Macklemore than himself. As Rolling Stone notes, the rapper surveys his life and career throughout the track, building on intensity as the song continues.
Beyonce sounds sweet, but very remote.
“I walk on water,” she sings at the beginning as papers turn and follows that with “I know Jesus.”
The problems immediately start when Eminem comes in. His tone and affliction can barely be differentiated between Macklemore’s in the hit song “Same Love,” which became a callout for equality while people were debating gay marriage. Eminem’s lyrics attempt to be heartfelt, but they are all about himself. We’re supposed to feel sorry for a millionaire rapper who talks about the hardships of not living up to people’s expectations.
“Kids look to me as a god – this is retarded/ If only they knew it’s a façade and it’s exhausted,” Eminem emotionally tells the listener, obviously not caring about the fact oversensitive people who will rip him to shreds for using the word “retarded.”
Eminem has never been politically correct, and that has always been part of his appeal. But on “Walk on Water,” it sounds like he is trying to use the shock factor to cover up for his surprisingly mediocre song. The rapper tries to build on previous groundbreaking hits such as “Stan” and “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” but at least those songs produced legit emotions that made the listener empathize with Eminem, who sounds completely uninvested on “Walk on Water.”
Eminem’s greatest talent has been his play on words. His songs could be turned into (angry) poems that have perfect rhymes that sound thoughtfully put together. Now, it seems as if Eminem is pulling words out of a hat to see if they stick and rhyme.
“That’s a hard Vicodin to swallow, so I scrap these/As pressure increases like khakis,” is perhaps the biggest example of what could be considered a weasel rhyme, but he comes close in other parts of the song.
The most telling part of Eminem’s “Walk on Water” is when he ends it by trying to remind people he wrote “Stan.” He really makes himself a target for a joke by doing this, especially since he is basically reminding people that he used to have some kind of talent, even though it’s almost completely diminished now. Eminem doesn’t need to remind people he’s a current artistic mess. But why does he have to drag Beyonce into this?
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]