Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Eminem ft. Ed Sheeran – River

We’re done with Sound of 2018! Now we can start liking things again!


Katherine St Asaph: “Shoulda knew to use protection fore I bit into your forbidden fruit.” Leaving aside the mixed metaphor, painful as it may be: folks, wrap it up. Otherwise, you might make an Eminem song. (See your doctor if you experience these other symptoms: suddenly affectless voice [remember when Eminem sounded alive?], urge to swipe the bridge to “How You Remind Me,” tolerating Ed Sheeran’s biblically tormented act.)

Alfred Soto: Ed Sheeran coos, Em rat-tat-tats, and the results are what you might expect. No one is converted, nothing is delivered. As his flow gets knottier, the paucity of his vocabulary and references becomes a problem. Who says, “She’s been on the web lately” — what is this, 1999? Oh, right: Em’s golden year. 

Alex Clifton: Do artists just throw darts to figure out who they’ll collaborate with next? Ed’s chorus isn’t bad, but Eminem’s wordplay is pun-inspired (the “ex lacks” line in particular is grating). This is a collaboration I never needed nor wanted to hear.

Austin Brown: Funnily enough, this is the most I’ve ever liked Ed Sheeran, mostly because the musical drama backing him up gives his softboy shtick a good kick in the pants. Eminem, on the other hand, is somehow still huffing the fumes of The Eminem Show and “Lose Yourself,” deluding himself into thinking his talents lie in anthems rather than acrobatics. When I did come to Eminem (and I did, at a point!) it was for play, not pathos. His voice is too thin, his flow is too self-conscious, and his lyrics are, even at their dumbest, more skilled at tapping into the rhyming potential of the English language than depth of feeling.

Edward Okulicz: Forgetting Em’s former ferocity and intricate lyrics, this sounds like the work of a kid who just discovered enjambment and wants to put it in every second rhyme because he thinks it’s automatically clever. And the unconvincing soap opera that is the subject matter isn’t a patch on the complex subjects and monologues he used to make. I guess there’s always the chorus, because Ed Sheeran is reliable and he delivers with his typical everyman proficiency, though surely even he thinks this is corny.

Hannah Jocelyn: By the standards of Revival, this is listenable, in that it has a coherent structure. Well, almost a coherent structure — the last few bars of each verse, meant to ramp up tension, feel clunky even before looking at the stilted lyrics. You already know the worst lines if you’ve been on Twitter (no, the diarrhea line is from the Joan Jett-sampling “Remind Me”), but hearing them in context is another thing entirely. It’s almost a relief that Ed’s chorus is more or less what an Ed Sheeran chorus on an Eminem song about abortion and infidelity would sound like, and it probably could have fit on Recovery if Ed was famous back then. The bridge is where the worst instincts of Revival creep in, with these abrasive, ugly overdubs shouting nonsense.

Will Adams: Gotta love someone who can weave a bleak narrative about a failed relationship while also including a shit joke. It’s all that really sticks out in what is at this point the eighteenth retread of “Love the Way You Lie.”

Reader average: [2.66] (3 votes)

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3 Responses to “Eminem ft. Ed Sheeran – River”

  1. It takes a special legacy and joining of artists that just reading ‘Eminem ft. Ed Sheeran’ drains me.

  2. Awful song. “Love The Way You Lie” is arguably the worst thing that ever happened to Eminem’s career. It was a monster smash and somehow convinced him that this was the “artistic” route he should pursue.

  3. Every day I regret not blurbing this. I would have proudly given it my first [0].