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LISTEN: Eminem's celebrity-baiting throwback single 'Berzerk'
For better or worse, the first track from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 feels like a lost track from the original 2000 album
 

During the Video Music Awards on Sunday, Eminem surprised fans with a pair of commercials that announced he would release a new album called The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in November. Barely a day after that announcement, the first single has already dropped. "Let's bring it back to that vintage Slim," raps Eminem in the first verse of "Berzerk," a song that nakedly echoes some of his earliest and most durable hits.

It's for good reason that Eminem has named the latest album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 — a title that calls back to 2000's controversial, Grammy-winning The Marshall Mathers LP. "Bezerk" eschews the style of recent Eminem hits like "Love the Way You Lie" by returning to rapid-fire, pop-culture heavy riffs of his earlier work. The backbone of "Berzerk" goes back even further with a sample of the guitar riff from Billy Squier's 1981 hit "The Stroke," but it's clear that Eminem is aiming to conjure up a late '90s/early 2000s feeling.

Unfortunately, that means the other thing that stands out about "Berzerk" is how dated its references are. Ren & Stimpy? Kevin Federline? "Bawitdaba"? If Eminem's goal was to release a single that could actually have been a lost track from the original Marshall Mathers LP, he succeeded. But if he wants to go back to taking pot-shots at celebrities that are actually relevant, he might want to spend a day browsing TMZ first next time.

 
Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor and film and television critic for TheWeek.com. He has written about film and television at publications including The AtlanticPOLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.

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