In a move that no one anticipated, Eminem took the world by surprise with the release of his tenth studio album, Music to Be Murdered By, unannounced on Friday (Jan. 17).
The special delivery came accompanied with a new bleak music video for the record’s eighth track, “Darkness,” in which Eminem tackles the politically divisive subject of gun control in America. The visual opens with the Shady Records honcho sitting alone washed in blue light, as the opening verses comes in the form of a haunting repetitious rasp: “I don’t want to be alone in the darkness anymore.”
The first half of the six-minute track focuses on familiar topics of anxiety and substance abuse that we’ve heard from Em.
The second half of the music video delves into the political realm where Eminem makes a rousing call to action for gun control reform as it becomes more clear that the video is a reenactment of the horrific 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 music festival.
The featurette is shot from the perspective of the gunman, while the music video parallels Em’s lyricism in the style of a first-person video game up until the moment of the frightful act that claimed 58 concert-goers’ lives and left nearly 500 others injured to the shooter’s self-inflicted fate.
The video ends with Eminem in a room filled with TVs broadcasting a plethora of shootings before their screens all transition to images of the American flag. “When will this end?” a card poses at the end of the clip, rhetorically answering,“When enough people care.”
The music video concludes with a PSA calling attention to gun violence with an encouragement for people to vote. There’s also a link out to Eminem's website with information and links to several anti-gun violence organizations, including the Sandy Hook Promise, March For Our Lives and the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center.
But Em’s latest record hasn’t come without controversy. The Detroit MC is facing some backlash over lyrics from the opening track on the album, “Unaccommodating.” In the song, Em raps: “But I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game/ Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.”
Some listeners found the lyrics insensitive in light of the terrifying bomb attack that claimed 22 lives during the Manchester Arena stop of Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour. Furthermore, Ariana has also been open about her struggles following the incident, divulging to British Vogue that she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In a statement provided to BBC News, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said Eminem’s lyrics were “unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful to the families and all those affected.”
Eminen nor his team have publicly responded to criticism over the song. Needless to say, Eminen will definitely be a talking point for many people today as fans continue to dig through his latest cuts.