Eminem’s new track is pretty slick. The freshly released single, “Guts Over Fear,” features the talented vocalist Sia, and is packed with gripping lyrics and rhythm. The very beginning of the song has a soft intensity to it that makes you lean in to hear more. Then they give it to you. “Guts Over Fear” is interesting because it has that “everything is tough but it’s going to be okay” feeling in the chord progression – think “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi. But pushing against those vibes are strong lyrics and tight rhythms that constantly keep it on edge.
Sia’s rich vocals on the hook are a dead ringer for Rihanna. But it’s not the first time we’ve noticed that similarity, and it’s certainly not a bad thing. Many thought she sounded exactly like Rihanna on her recent hit, “Chandelier,” and Sia actually wrote several of Rihanna’s most popular songs, including the 2012 hit, “Diamonds.”
Eminem sounds a little angry as always, but not “Ima tie her to the bed and set this house on fire” angry. He’s heated throughout parts of “Guts Over Fear,” but he delivers his lines with such an excellent range of dynamics that it puts the intensity right where it needs to be, rather than making it a constant thing. This contrast really pulls you into his words and makes the harsher moments (“eat their f—-ing faces off!”) pop when they are supposed to.
The song is mainly about the problems he has faced throughout his career, with a focus on his struggle to keep putting out new material. In fact, he touches on this theme almost constantly with lines like, “Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is find different ways to word the same old song,” “Feel like I’ve already said this a kabillion eighty times,” “How many times can I say the same thing different ways that rhyme?” and “So to the break of dawn here I go recycling the same old song.” This emphasis is pretty ballsy. Eminem is taking something that people could so easily criticize him for and just admitting upfront that he is aware of it and is frustrated with it. This kind of straightforwardness in such an unforgiving genre is really impressive.
Not only that, but the words roll off his tongue effortlessly. Lines like “Single parents, hate your appearance, did you struggle to find your place in this world?” are delivered with such precision it feels almost like percussion. If this is what the single looks like, I can’t wait to see the album.