Album review: Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Shady/Interscope)


The success of the original Marshall Mathers LP was largely down to the brutal honesty of its message – "I'm a horrible person" – allied to the pop appeal of riffs such as "The Real Slim Shady". While the follow-up goes some way towards the same formula, the accumulation of antipathy is ultimately overwhelming. "I just hate to be the bad guy," claims Eminem, but clearly he doesn't – his flow only truly ignites through anger and reproach, and there are moments when his verbal dexterity amazes. He also has an ear for a killer sample, such as the Zombies track on which "Rhyme or Reason" is built. But he can be surprisingly sensitive: "Headlights" is an almost shockingly apologetic love-letter to the mother he once denigrated so viciously.

Download: Rhyme or Reason; So Far...; Brainless; Legacy; Headlights