Tuesday, 10 September 2013

New Tracks: Eminem and Skream

Many of you will have heard it by now, but "Berzerk" is the first single to be released from Eminem's comeback album "The Marshall Mathers LP 2", which due to be released on November 5th via Aftermath records.

The title of his forthcoming LP alone suggests a diverted trajectory back to his pre- "Relapse" rawness and old- school tendencies, and that's exactly what Eminem would have you think too with lead- off single "Berzerk." Everything about the track screams a return to his former musical sojourns... Well, almost everything. The first verse is loaded with Beastie Boys samples and Golden Era- scratching. "Let's take it back to straight Hip Hop and start from scratch" imposes Em amidst a thunderous rock riff, a pounding groove and Public Enemy references.

It's a bombastic return, for sure. But there are hints here not only of Eminem clinging on to the mainstream acclaim that previously he didn't care about, but also of trying a little bit too hard. The chorus is minorly irritating as it sees Em's vocals climb to the absolute nether regions of his range, to the point where it's almost comical. The track also seems to sacrifice some of the esoteric wordplay we know Eminem capable of in favour of samples which eventually become over- bearing.

"Berzerk" is sure to be a party and live favourite, and maybe that's why Mathers released it as a single. It's a fists-in-the-air pop anthem with plenty of old- school tendencies, just lacking slightly in the wit and self- awareness of that time. Nevertheless, it promises vibrant and hard- hitting things for "The Marshall Mathers LP 2."

Dubstep icon Skream however really has undergone a change of pace and style on his newest single "Rollercoaster", which features Sam Frank on vocals. It's an unashamed throwback of deliriously funky, glisteningly retro House. In a post- "Random Access Memories" world it would be easy to be cynical and accuse Skream of jumping on the bandwagon. However, that critique is largely saved by the fact that "Rollercoaster" is a very fine tune indeed.

It's full of squelching synths and a thumping, groovy beat, bolstered up by a delectably groovy and organic bass line. Ridiculously cheesy, glacial '80s keyboard chords make an appearance in the chorus, and throughout the sex- panther guitar samples work to brilliantly tuneful effect. Frank's vocals add vital (if stylistically unremarkable) character to the track, before it closes on 2 and a half minutes of gloriously old- school self- indulgence.


  1. Total agreement on the sample front. Starts of really positively but kinds detracts from the actual song as it progresses. Not in the slightest bit worried about this being a seemingly 'pop' offering on the basis that 'My Name Is' and 'Real Slim Shady' were of the same ilk and came off amazing albums. Will be absolutely gutted if MMLP2 is anything but a throwback to those first three albums. This is make or break for me, will Shady fall off completely?

  2. Right you are about "My Name Is" and "Real Slim Shady", but the lyricism in those songs, in terms of wordplay, is tenfold the level of this. I'm not particularly worried; he sounds interesting on this track, and I haven't been captivated by anything he's done since those first three records. I just hope there's more substance to the rest of the material on the album.