People love to discuss music in extremes, deeming records or artists either brilliant or trash, without leaving much middle ground. The latest Eminem album is not as bad as the consensus claims, but it will try the patience of even his staunchest fans. Eminem is arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time, not based off of his popularity but rather his body of work — especially his first few releases. But in the past few years, the quality of his music has fallen off, growing repetitive and stale — and The Marshall Mathers LP2 follows suit.

To begin on a high note, Eminem’s latest is a showcase of his lyrical talent. Eminem has always been, and still is, one of rap’s most gifted lyricists, stringing together rhymes with unparalleled skill. He weaves and twists together convoluted phrases with impressive proficiency, no matter how disturbing the lyrical content can be. 

But rampant misogyny and violence run through his well-executed lyrics. He drops homophobic slurs far too frequently, and goes into gratuitously gory detail about the physical harm he wants to cause to women. These aspects made him provocative early in his career, when he coupled them with songs that were risk-taking and innovative enough that their content was defensible. This time around, he ran out of fresh ideas, lazily partaking in the overused practice of rapping over classic rock songs including in “Rhyme Or Reason” and “Love Game.” Most of his pop-culture references are also woefully out of date, making Eminem look like an out-of-touch dad.

There is a solid Texas connection as Denton folk singer Sarah Jaffe sings background vocals on the opener “Bad Guy.” The strangest moment comes with “Headlights,” which features vocals from Nate Ruess of Fun. and basically sounds like one of the band’s pop songs with Eminem rapping the verses. While it does not entirely work, it does showcase Eminem’s strongest work on the album, as he makes a starkly emotional apology to his mother — his confessional style coming off as self-aware and refreshingly sympathetic.

The Marshall Mathers LP2 shows that Eminem is well past his prime and seems unwilling to push out of his comfort zone. The album is not the creative resurgence many hoped it would be, but that won’t stop die-hard fans from downloading it for themselves.

Physics honors senior William Berdanier is a recipient of the distinguished Marshall Scholarship for 2013, which will fund two years of study in the U.K.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Physics honors senior William Berdanier will join the ranks of scholars who have studied under the prestigious Marshall Scholarship next fall, an award given to U.S. students who have shown great academic merit, leadership and ambassadorial potential.  

Berdanier was chosen along with 33 others from across the country to receive a Marshall Scholarship for 2013. The scholarship allows U.S. students with high abilities to pursue degrees at certain U.K. institutions. Berdanier was the only student chosen from UT this year. Since the scholarship program began in 1953, 22 UT students have won the award, and eight of those wins have been since 2001. The scholarship will fund two years of study for Berdanier and will consist of funds for university fees, cost of living expenses, an annual book grant and fares to and from the U.S.

Berdanier said for the first year of the scholarship, he will pursue a masters degree in Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at The University of Cambridge, and for the second year, a master’s of research at either Cambridge or the University of Oxford. He said after that he wants to pursue a Ph.D. in the U.S. and continue his research in physics.

Berdanier said he is very honored to have been named for the scholarship, and the magnitude of the accomplishment hasn’t fully sunk in for him yet.

“It’s amazing,” Berdanier said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity. I’m so happy to have won this.”

Larry Carver, English professor and liberal arts honors director, is UT’s Marshall Scholarship representative. Carver interviewed Berdanier for the scholarship Sept. 10 and has assisted him throughout the application process.

Carver said Berdanier has consistently excelled over other students while at UT.

“By all measures, Will is a gifted student of physics and mathematics,” Carver said. “Faculty members think he is one of the most gifted physics and math students that they have seen in a generation.”

In a letter of recommendation for the Marshall Scholarship, physics professor Gennady Shvets said he witnessed Berdanier excel throughout his four years at UT, and not just in his classes.

“Will is a remarkably capable young man who, in addition to choosing probably the most challenging double-major possible, physics and mathematics, is managing to find time for supervised research,” Shvets stated in the letter.

Berdanier currently has a 3.93 grade point average at UT. He has participated in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program, has been selected for 13 scholarships and fellowships including a $7,500 award through the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, another award given to highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers, has been invited to multiple academic talks and has been published. Berdanier is also an accomplished violinist, after taking lessons for more than 10 years. 

Printed on Thursday, November 29, 2012 as: Student to study at Cambridge on prestigious Marshall Scholarship

1. West Virginia: The Mountaineers basically did whatever they wanted to against the Thundering Herd, rushing for 331 yards on the way to 655 yards of total offense. The defense could become a concern, though. Marshall was able to accumulate 545 yards in total offense and 28 first downs with turnovers and penalties slowing its offense in its tracks.

2. Oklahoma State: 84-0. Let that sink in. 84-0. The Oklahoma State basketball team only passed 84 points twice last season. The football team has already got half of that. There’s not much else to take away from last week’s game. Savannah State was clearly overmatched, and we’ll have a better idea of how good this year’s Cowboys are as they go into Tucson to play an Arizona team that should at least have a pulse.

3. Baylor: The Bears might not miss their departed players as much as everyone thought. Baylor laid down 613 yards, 26 first downs and 59 points en route to an easy win over SMU. This is an offense that has the potential to score on seemingly any play. That should sound familiar for a Big 12 team, as should this: the Bears defense is a little sketchy. They allowed SMU to accumulate over 500 yards in total offense with 28 first downs.

4. Oklahoma: While West Virginia was doing as whatever it pleased on offense against Marshall, Oklahoma was having a tougher time against UTEP. The Sooners put up 427 yards in total offense, with over 200 in passing and rushing, but they only earned 19 first downs while converting only 31 percent on third down. Two fourth quarter touchdowns broke open a three point game, and the Sooner defense was gashed for 177 yards by UTEP rusher Nathan Jeffery.

5. Texas: The Texas defense had trouble getting a hold of Cowboys quarterback Brett Smith without blitzing and continues to have a propensity to give up big plays. But the run defense held Wyoming under 70 yards and the rush offense was able to get 280 yards in game one with a pair of 100-yard rushers.

6. Kansas State: Chronic sufferers from Jekyll and Hyde syndrome, Kansas State played in what may have been the strangest game of week one. Missouri State, an FCS team, scored on its first drive in the second half to tie the game at nine before Kansas State remembered that it came to play big boy football. The Wildcats proceeded to score six unanswered touchdowns, five in the fourth quarter, to blow open the game.

7. TCU: The Horned Frogs had the first week off and will begin the season against FCS opponent Grambling State. If TCU is the team that it expects to be, it should make easy work of the Tigers. Grambling State is coming off a one-point loss to conference foe Alcorn State in a game that was very close statistically.

8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders had no trouble against Northwestern State last weekend. Texas Tech had 500 yards in total offense, but a large bit of that came on the ground, as it tallied 179 yards rushing. It also showed that it can play a little defense, limiting the Demons to 84 yards in total offense and six first downs. With the defense and running game both starting to take shape, the Red Raiders are beginning to look more like a Tuberville-coached team.

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones overcame a slow start to take their first game of the season against Tulsa. Iowa State’s rivalry game against interstate foe Iowa is next on the schedule, and the Cyclones haven’t won in Iowa City since 2002. But this Iowa team needed to overcome an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to avoid losing at home in week one. If Paul Rhoads is really leading this Iowa State program back to relevance, then these are the games he has to win.

10. Kansas: The Jayhawks started the season off with a win, which has become an increasingly rare occurrence of late in Lawrence. Kansas started last season with a pair of wins before losing 10 straight.