The time has finally come - Eminem is back. The MC already made headlines when he destroyed Donald Trump in his freestyle for the BET Awards, and he's ready to make a confident comeback. Confidence is what he struggles with on his new track, however. Eminem battles his own expectations in 'Walk On Water,' a calmer track with a lot of uncertainty backing it.
'Walk On Water' is introduced by a church-like piano under Beyoncé's sweet, reassuring vocals. There's a vulnerability in it, her crooning admitting "I walk on water / But I ain't no Jesus / I walk on water / But only when it freezes." Eminem enters worriedly, asking "Why, are expectations so high? / Is it the bar I set?" 'Walk On Water' is all about Eminem being beaten down by the fact that he will never be able to reach the same level of success as his peak. He worries about being forgotten or dismissed by critics, much like he was when he made his first comeback in 2009 with Recovery. You can hear Eminem scratching out lines as he tries to write in the background of Beyoncé's hooks, lines such as "To tarnish whatever the legacy, love or respect I've garnered? / The rhyme has to be perfect, the delivery flawless" stressing how he is in a constant battle for perfection, trying to make the some quality material he did when he was at his peak.
Eminem shows a much more humble side on 'Walk On Water,' showing his growth as an artist and as a person. The song's gentle and smooth instrumental with the occasional orchestral touch in the verses really adds to the biblical allusion of the song, but as Beyoncé reminds him, he's no Jesus: "I'm only human, just like you." It's very much a big change of tone for Eminem, though it feels like the only appropriate way to enter a new era. Retrospection and admitting how he feels going into this new run is a welcoming and relieving way to enter this. Fans of the old Eminem need not fret, though, because the aggressive Slim Shady persona does shine through at the end of the track, which seems to be a lead in to the one that follows, Eminem barking "'Cause I'm just a man, but as long as I got a mic I'm godlike / So me and you are not alike / Bitch, I wrote 'Stan'."
Eminem battles his own expectations in 'Walk On Water,' his big return to the game that sees a more humble side of him. It goes to show that even the most aggressive and acclaimed artists can find a hard time facing their past. A new era for Em is upon us, and we can't wait to see what it holds.
Rating: 85 / 100