Darkness

Album: Music to Be Murdered By (2020)
Charted: 17 28
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • During this track, Eminem raps from the point of view of mass murderer Stephen Paddock. On October 1, 2017, Paddock opened fire from a hotel room on concertgoers attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. There were 59 fatalities (including Paddock).
  • Eminem addresses Paddock's loneliness, anxiety and depression on this track, plus the easy availability of guns in America. All this played a role in Paddock's heinous crime.
  • The rapping is offset by a repeat every four bars of "Hello darkness, my old friend," an interpolation of a lyric from "The Sound of Silence." The piano also echoes the chord progression from the 1966 song.
  • This is the second time Eminem has sampled a Paul Simon tune. On 1999's "Murder, Murder" from the soundtrack album to the film, Next Friday, he borrowed from "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover."
  • "Darkness" finishes with various clips of news items from the many massacres that have taken place on American soil in recent years.
  • The song was released as the lead single from Music to Be Murdered By. The album's title and cover art alludes to the 1958 Jeff Alexander compilation LP, Alfred Hitchcock Presents Music to Be Murdered By.
  • The music video evokes the horror of the Las Vegas Strip tragedy with Marshall Mathers picturing himself as the shooter. A blurry image of a man in a cowboy hat bears a resemblance to Jason Aldean, who was onstage performing when Paddock started spraying bullets. At the end of the clip, Eminem urges viewers to vote for gun law reform.
  • Eminem produced the song along with Ruis Resto and longtime partner in crime Royce da 5'9." Em and Royce first teamed up in the late '90s when they were underground Detroit MC's. Since then they have collaborated frequently, including their 2011 Bad Meets Evil Hell: The Sequel EP. Royce earned two production placements on Music to Be Murdered By, the first productions credits of his career.
  • Royce da 5'9 sent Eminem the original beat for "Darkness," then Shady wrote some rhymes to it. Royce told Billboard. "Em is a way more seasoned producer than me. He added like a lot of instruments on top of it and once he did that, after he laid his vocals, then it started to really, really become a record."

Comments: 3

  • Heat from NoMakes me want to pray- but not give up any of my rights to responsibly own my weapon. What ‘clicked’ the closest is recognizing the pain of the people and the pain of the perp ran parallel, one lasts here and the other? For eternity. Please M- gun laws are not the answer. Mental health is, and why the f--k can’t we get that?
  • Sethavision Who did the vocals for this track?
  • Techguy35 from MarylandThe comment at the end of the music video is one message I was waiting to hear from someone with a platform to reach the world. It basically said that change will only happen when people care enough. Things move so quick today that instead of fighting till something is done, most people will say i don’t have time for this and that action alone is why things never get done. And a great cause and reason to make change is gone with the wind. Take a second to notice how we move at a lighting space. It’s my own personal opinion that protests do nothing for real change. Why because ultimately the people above will wait it out. Protests fade and it’s business as usual with no change. So why protest if it’s never long enough and never strong enough to make a change? This isn’t just my own view it’s shared similarly with what Eminem said. Change will only happen when people care enough. Last I checked his video on YouTube only had about 100 million views. Where other songs with no real meaning have hundreds of billions of views. And that proves what Eminem says. There isn’t a fire to make this change happen. So it never will until we all care enough about it. Protest after protest after protest have happened and thus far I haven’t seen much from them if anything. End result is always the same, the fade to the wind. People up top know this. And they use to their advantage. People will give up they say. And when they do everything will still be the same. Just hang in there. I’ve tried to bring peaceful change. But I’m one tiny voice. So I’m glad Eminem wrote this song and I just hope that it spreads like fire and doesn’t let go till change is made. Best wishes to you all. US is and will always be great! And we all should be proud of that. Country is ours not those up top. :)
see more comments

Editor's Picks

N.W.A vs. the World

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

Bass Player Scott Edwards

Bass Player Scott EdwardsSong Writing

Scott was Stevie Wonder's bass player before becoming a top session player. Hits he played on include "I Will Survive," "Being With You" and "Sara Smile."

Millie Jackson

Millie JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Outrageously gifted and just plain outrageous, Millie is an R&B and Rap innovator.