Eminem’s ‘Kamikaze’ perfects the balance of bland and obnoxious

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Eminem’s latest album “Kamikaze” tries to fight back the critics of “Revival,” but these comebacks come across as being poorly thought out, showing how Eminem has had little to no personal growth and is unwilling to take genuine criticism.

“Kamikaze” is Eminem’s attempt at regaining his position as the controversial rapper who is not afraid to call out celebrities and the music industry. The train sadly never leaves the station, and the album feels like a shell of what an Eminem album used to be. It is incredibly difficult to listen to without being painfully reminded that this is a 45-year-old father who is beefing with rappers half his age.

Eminem took some of the critiques of “Revival” to heart, but failed to create a solid album. His previous album received criticism for relying too heavily on A-list features. In response, “Kamikaze” only has four credited features, which are also arguably the highlights of the album.

The best parts of “Good Guy” and “Nice Guy” are the Jessie Reyez features. The songs would be indistinguishable from anything else by Eminem without Reyez’s chilling vocals. Joyner Lucas is the only tolerable part of “Lucky You” as a wave of disappointment enters the room once Eminem starts rapping. It can go without saying that Royce Da 5’9 is more enjoyable than Eminem on “Not Alike.”

Eminem spends so much energy claiming he is a “rap god” on this album when these are by far his weakest lyrics. The first song on the album, “The Ringer,” is a five-minute long track where the rapper rhymes “finger bang” with “chicken wang” while saying that Lil’ Yachty is not for him. Two minutes of “The Ringer” could have been cut, and it would be the exact same song.

This will also be the first time, but not the last, that Eminem calls out Charlamagne for giving him “Donkey of the Day,” which is later mentioned again on “Fall.” The latter track has primarily garnered attention for its use of a homophobic slur to describe Tyler, The Creator. Paul Rosenberg’s supposed voicemail is also included as an interlude with Eminem’s response tacked on to show off that Eminem is still that angry boy from Michigan. Is any of this needed? No. We get it, Eminem. You like to yell a lot, and you will go after anyone. We understood this in 1998, and we understand it in 2018.

“Normal” is another stinker on the album wedged in between the aforementioned skip-worthy interludes where he raps about how it could possibly be his fault that he does not have the best track record when it comes to relationships. If any moment on “Kamikaze” is truly worthy of an eye roll, it is when Eminem whines about how he has relationship troubles. Like other songs on the album, Eminem decided that he will sing the chorus himself, filling the song with grating vocals someone supposedly thought sounded pleasant.

One of the worst songs of 2018, “Venom” is the epitome of unnecessary as it could have been cut completely and relegated as a soundtrack song. Similar to other songs made for Marvel movies, “Venom” is an overproduced anthem created specifically to be used on screen. As such, it adds nothing of value to “Kamikaze.”

Overproduction is a trend in “Kamikaze” as there are dozens of unnecessary sound effects scattered throughout the album. The theme of overproduction is alive on “Stepping Stone” as the song starts off with potential, but quickly falls apart as the chorus begins. The volume levels are headache-inducing, and the song feels incredibly unfinished and unprofessional. No one has ever listened to an Eminem album and thought it would sound better with more gunshot sound effects.

There are listenable songs on the album like “Greatest” and “Kamikaze” that feel like Eminem tracks pre-“Relapse.” The production on “Greatest” is the best on the album thanks to Mike Will Made It. “Kamikaze” is a highlight on the album with thumping, eerie production.

The transitions between songs are a high point as the album is laid out like a DJ set with the songs flowing seamlessly from one to the next similar to how Travis Scott did earlier this year with his album “Astroworld.”

Overall, “Kamikaze” is bland and completely underwhelming. Eminem plays it safe on his latest album, and that is best seen with how it closes with a song from a Marvel soundtrack. It is honestly astonishing that 250,000 people listened to this album and decided that they wanted to spend money on it.