Kamikaze (Colv) (Grn) (Oliv)

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aec.aftmb002921101.1 12/7/18 New
$22.98
ID: aec.aftmb002921101.1

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    Kamikaze (Colv) (Grn) (Oliv) Aftermath
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Release Date: 12/07/2018

Review

Review Text In case the title Kamikaze didn't provide a clear tell in regards to Eminem's state of mind, the cover art to this surprise 2018 album is an explicit parody of the Beastie Boys' 1986 debut, Licensed to Ill. True heads know that the Beasties originally planned to call Licensed to Ill "Don't Be a Faggot," which the label wisely realized was too antagonistic and homophobic, yet the album was still filled with enough questionable material that the trio spent a good portion of the '90s atoning for their juvenilia -- an understandable action from a group whose members were all entering their thirties. Inviting such comparisons to the Beastie Boys may not be the wisest move for Marshall Mathers. Eminem was 45 when he released Kamikaze, a record that positively seethes with slurs and is drowning in dick jokes. Where the Beasties questioned their past, Eminem finds comfort in it, relying on familiar themes while he celebrates the days that are gone. Coming after Revival, the 2017 album where he grappled with questions of mortality along with the moral rot of the Trump era, the retreat to spitting insults and reflexive anger is a bit of a disappointment, particularly because Kamikaze isn't quite the jolt it was intended to be. Maybe it's because the genesis of the album lies in "Venom," a song Em recorded for the anti-superhero film of the same name, but Kamikaze often feels like an extended exercise in Eminem hitting his marks. Apart from "Fall" -- a spectral cut co-written by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon that's also home to a homophobic swipe at Tyler, The Creator (a lyric that made Vernon disown the track) -- the music is direct, heavy, and claustrophobic. Its insularity suits the solipsistic worldview of Eminem, and its monochromatic pulse also puts his astonishing verbal facility in sharp relief. As sheer performance, Eminem's vocals remain a thing of wonder, which is why it's so dispiriting to hear him circling the drain, relying on old tricks instead of expanding his worldview. He has the musical skills to mature; he's just refusing to let himself act his age. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Release Date
12/7/18 

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