After an incredible career spanning multiple years, Eminem is back with the release of ‘Walk on Water.’ The first single from his highly anticipated, upcoming album Revival. The name of the album has had fans speculating the direction the rapper will take his music in. After listening to ‘Walk on Water’ it’s obvious Eminem has delved into a place he has only before skimmed the surface of. Not a song to add to your pre drinks list but instead a thought provoking and deeply personal piece. One still infused with the genius Eminem is notorious for bringing to his music.
Listen to ‘Walk on Water’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1WpP7iowLc
The first thing that may catch your attention about ‘Walk on Water’ is the collaboration with pop queen, Beyoncé. The female singer’s angelic tones adding another layer of beauty and softness to the otherwise raw song. Eminem has become well known for his angry and rhyme spitting lyrics when it comes to his music, something he is both praised and ridiculed for. However ‘Walk on Water’ is filled less with anger and more with powerful emotion, each lyric hitting hard without offending. The central topic of the song is Eminem looking back on his career as a rapper and analysing the journey he has made to where he is today. Questioning his relevance now and speaking truthfully about how he feels his fans treat him. Using ‘Walk on Water’ to bring a fresh era of music.
From the beginning of the song Eminem instantly dives into the struggles he has suffered trying to live up to the expectations fans have of him. Outwardly questioning, ‘why, are expectations so high? Is it the bar I set?’, still questioning himself also. Showing a level of maturity as he is not shirking the responsibility entirely onto his audience. Whilst also addressing the fact that sometimes he has fears of not being able to cope with the pressure these expectations are putting on him. The song then flows into a sense of realisation as Eminem address the fact that no matter how hard he works on his music, there will always be people out there criticising him. He shows his talent as a clever word smith by playing with the phrase ‘bitter pill to swallow’ by replacing it with ‘that’s a hard Vicodin to swallow.’ Using a drug he has had recorded issues with, showing how he is willing to accept the mistakes of his past and not simply act as if they never happened.
‘Walk on Water’ stands as a song for all artists, the inclusion of Beyoncé on the track furthering this. Speaking about troubles artists face such as never believing if their work will be good enough or if they should simply just pander to fan wants instead of their own. Eminem uses personal experiences when he has ‘[sat] in the car, listen, and pick it apart’, referring to lyrics he has written only to disregard them due to fan expectation. The song rises to an almost lyrical crescendo as Eminem seems to get back to his roots. Giving acknowledgement to those who inspired him such as 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G. Even referring to Deshaun, an old friend who was killed in 2006 as the only person who could ever really judge him.
The track ends on a wind down as the song enters a state of reflection with Eminem imagining a world where he is forgotten by fans but that no longer matters. Instead of fading away, the rapper plans to stay and fight for the music he wants as he rightly should. Even ending the track on a bit of comedy with ‘so me and you are not alike/bitch, I wrote ‘Stan’’. Showing that the rapper knows his worth even if it took all these years to figure it out.
‘Walk on Water’ acts as a reminder to fans that artists are people too. We are all human, we all make mistakes and none of us should be held under contempt for our pasts.
Review by Skye W. Winwood