Soundtrack Review – Eminem feat. Gwen Stefani – Kings Never Die

Everyone knows who Eminiem and Gwen Stefani are so this introduction will be almost uniquely short. This collaboration comes from the soundtrack for the upcoming film “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Firstly, the film. When I saw the early shots of the film I was incredibly excited especially since I had just seen Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler but the trailer left me feeling a bit disappointed. The film feels distinctly “American” (if you get my drift), especially in its stylised and dramatic fashion. Having said that I’ll watch Jake Gyllenhaal in pretty much anything and always be impressed by the performance he brings.

The combination of a boxing film and Eminem is good enough on paper (“Lose Yourself” is practically a boxing montage song anyway) and listening to him and Stefani belt out this rock-rap song proves the fit is even better than you’d think. Stefani nails the chorus/intro with an almost cheesy 80s glam rock guitar in the background. Eminem starts off the record strongly as he gets into his flow quickly. However, a promising start leads to a more disappointing second half – especially in the auto-tuned rap section which is god awful. It’s not just the production but the lyrics, particularly the line about not caring what haters think because he’s “awesome”. It’s just blunt and a little cringey, especially because they are much clever ways of saying as much or one-upping who he refers to as the “cynics”.  The single is better than his previous song for the film, “Phenomenal”, the chorus of which is incredibly annoying on repeated listen. I mean, how many times can anyone listen to Eminem repeatedly say “I am Phenomenal” with all the reverb that comes with it. Overall, it is a little too overproduced for me and the lyrics in the latter half is a bit of a letdown.

Callum Christie @ChristieCallum

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