We end Summer 2014 on the Singles Party with a look at the brand new one from Eminem. “Guts Over Fear,” which will be scoring the soundtrack to the Denzel Washingtion drama, “The Equalizer” is the first single of Shady XV, which drops on Black Friday this year (November 28th).
Justin Matchick: Accompanied by a synth-laden beat and the support of Australian singer Sia, Eminem’s new single from the upcoming compilation album Shady XV show he is still going strong after last year’s great Marshall Mathers LP 2. With lyrics that are both introspective and retrospective, Eminem isn’t afraid to admit the mistakes he’s made in both his personal life and professional life. (“But I’d rather make Not Afraid 2 than make another motherfuckin’ We Made You”, he raps). Over 15 years into his career Eminem still is able to bring ferocity to his flow for his darker songs that allows for his emotions to be worn on his sleeve. His forceful delivery is nicely paired with the calmer and soothing chorus from guest artist Sia, who might honestly eclipse Eminem as the best part of this track at times. This is a definite playlist addition for any Eminem fan, and should even be checked out my those who aren’t fans of Eminem or hip-hop. Verdict: Add to playlist
Erica Batchelor: Eminem’s career has been circled by controversy as well as criticism and after 15 years this release proves he still has something to rap about. Eminem and Sia previously worked together for “Beautiful Pain” and her compelling vocals on “Guts Over Fear” really stood out as high points of the song. Eminem has always been one of my guilty pleasures and this song is more of an honest, expression piece as opposed to the performance artist he’s been in the past. The duo certainly showcase their talents on this track and will not only please the old fans but will attract new ones as well. Verdict: Add to playlist
Lucas P. Jones: Eminem’s new single from Shady XV is, in short, classic Eminem with a modern flavor. He proves that he can still flow with grace, yet also be forceful in the right places. He has a great grasp on composition, and it shows in this track as he goes from a quiet and smooth groove and builds into a crescendo. It keeps the track interesting, which is something other artists in the genre have trouble doing. He still doesn’t mind baring his personal and profession issues and feelings for all to see, but perhaps why I’ve always had a soft spot for him. This is a great track, even for the casual fan. Verdict: Add to Playlist
Max Freedman: When I was super young, Eminem was breaking onto the scene with his spitfire flow, intensely angry lyricism, and borderline persona. Since then, he’s settled into an unsatisfying pattern of rapping about expired topics over typical, badly produced beats. “Guts Over Fear”, his newest tune, finds a compromise behind his late 2000s failures and the more modest mishaps of MMLP2. Although its pop chorus, featuring Sia, is a sadly predictable mistake akin to the many misplaced moments of Shady’s recent years, its verses display a more restrained Eminem musing over some personal issues with the rap game in general. But the violin-centric beat backing his words are just too bright to properly match an Eminem tune. What happened to the wise man who transformed Dido’s most sombering pop song into a character far more unsettling? “Stan” is long gone, but what we have here is still better than much of Marshall Mathers’ recent work. Verdict: One and Done.
Bill Bodkin: Eminem begins “Guts Over Fear” by lamenting the fact he has trouble not creating the same song over and over again. After this heartfelt lamentation he goes and creates a song he’s done a thousand times before, but instead of guest vocals by Rihana he taps Rihana clone Sia. Mind blowing. Straight up – this song is a piece of shit. I’m not going to be nice here. Eminem has worlds of talent. He can be brilliant on the mic. He can be a lyrical miracle. He can also produce the sappiest, most blatant cash-grabby pop crossovers. And this is one of them. I’m sure people will love this song and get the lyrics inked on their rib cages like a bunch of douche bags, I will not be one of them. Burn this song with fire. Verdict: One and Done.
Final Verdict: We have our first tie in forever. So, give it a listen, but you have been warned.