Eminem drops surprise album Music to be Murdered By to strong reviews, comparison to Ariana Grande Manchester bomber slammed

The album dropped on Friday.
The album dropped on Friday. Photo credit: Getty / Eminem.

Rapper Eminem has come under heavy criticism for comparing himself to the Manchester Arena bomber on a track from his surprise new album.

Eminem - real name Marshall Mathers - released Music to be Murdered By on Friday to strong reviews. The Guardian's music reviewer said it was far stronger than previous albums by the rapper, while it got a 5/5 from The Telegraph.

"Eminen’s 11th album offers over an hour of the world's greatest rapper blasting away on all cylinders. It is the first great album of 2020, so lethally brilliant it should be a crime," The Telegraph's Neil McCormick said.

Dropping the album out of nowhere on Friday night, Mathers tweeted: "It's your funeral" and a picture of Alfred Hitchcock holding an axe and gun to his head.

However, as with many of the rapper's previous works, one of the songs on the album has come under criticism. The song 'Unaccomodating' features a line where Eminem compares himself to the Manchester Arena bomber. In 2017, 23 people died (including the perpetrator) and hundreds were injured when a radical Islamist suicide bomber detonated a device at an Ariana Grande concert.

"But I'm contemplating yelling 'bombs away' on the game / Like I'm outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting," the rapper says on the track.

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn was killed in the attack, tweeted that the lyrics were "pointless".

"Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities. Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage."

Manchester's Mayor Andy Burnham has also hit out at the rapper, calling the lyrics "unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful". 

"Can't understand why Eminem would donate money to the Manchester Arena victims' fund and then release a song so insulting to their families," said one fan.

Many online said that people were being too sensitive and Eminem should be thanked for his work in raising money for the victims. 

"For people mad at Eminem referencing the Ariana Grande concert bombing: these are merely lyrics. He raised $2 million for the victims, which is way more than you did. You were also probably laughing at WWIII jokes about bombing Iran... at least be consistent with what offends you."

In promoting the album, Eminem has put focus on an "end to senseless gun violence", linking on his website to a list of gun law advocacy sites. The lead song, 'Darkness', has a music video - warning it contains confronting imagery - featuring news reports from mass shootings with the words: "When will it end? When enough people care."

He also calls for people to vote in the upcoming US election.

The new album features collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Skylar Grey, Anderson Paak and Juice Wrld, who died on December in an apparent drug overdose. 

It currently has an average score of 61/100 on Metacritic from professional reviewers and 7.9/10 from users.