Courteeners' Liam Fray says Eminem 'crossed a line' with Manchester Arena lyrics amid battle for UK No.1 album

21 January 2020, 11:10 | Updated: 21 January 2020, 14:17

The Courteeners frontman and Middleton rocker has commented on the US rapper's Unaccommodating track, which features on his surprise album, Music To Be Murdered By and references the Manchester Arena attack.

Liam Fray has spoken out against Eminem's track referencing the Manchester Arena attack, which saw 22 killed after an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

The Courteeners frontman - who hails from Middleton, Greater Manchester - has reacted to the US rapper's Unapologetic song and accused him of resorting to "shock" tactics.

Asked by the BBC about the song, which features on Eminem's surprise album Music To Be Murdered By, Fray said: "It all just felt like an old comedian who can't get on the telly any more just saying something outrageous".

He added: "I just felt a bit sorry for him. I just felt like he's jumping the shark a bit."

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray and US rapper Eminem
Courteeners frontman Liam Fray and US rapper Eminem. Picture: 1. C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images 2. Gary Miller/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The Heavy Jacket singer revealed he wasn't even aware of the track until he started seeing the reactions online.

"I didn't realise really, it was almost like tongue in cheek," he explained. "As it's quite funny for a lad from Middleton to be calling out the biggest rapper in the world!"

He added: "But you'd have to be stone-hearted to not think of the consequences of those words really, because they're outrageous. What is going on in someone's mind to think that those kind of things are OK?

"Look, shock has a place in art and it always has done but there's a line and I just think that line was crossed. That's just my opinion and other people might think otherwise but when it's close to home and when you've seen the city pick itself up piece by piece, day by day, then it gets you, man."

The lyrics to Eminem's Unapologetic song includes the lines: "I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game like I’m outside an Ariana Grande concert."

The comments come as Courteeners and Eminem are vie for a UK No.1 album this week.

Both the rockers' More. Again. Forever. record and the rapper's Music To Be Murdered By album was released on Friday 17 January, and sales are said to be very close.

As reported by NME, the follow-up to Courteeners' 2016 Mapping The Rendezvous is said to be in the lead by as little as approximately 2,000 sales.

A UK No.1 for Liam Fray and co would mark their first ever, while a chart-topping record for Eminem would mark his 10th UK No1. - with the The Marshall Mathers LP (2000), The Eminem Show (2002), Encore (2004), Relapse (2009), Recovery (2010) , The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013), Revival (2017) and Kamikaze (2018) all hitting the top spot.

Courteeners' previous albums St Jude (2008), Falcon (2010), Anna (2013), Concrete Love (2014) and Mapping The Rendezvous (2016) have peaked at fourth, sixth, sixth, third and fourth in the UK album charts respectively.

Speaking to Radio X's Gordon Smart about their chances last week, Liam Fray said: "This is our best chance to get a No. 1, but it's looking very tight."

The Better Man singer added: "Maybe it doesn't mean as much as it did, but I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be cool to say we had a Number 1 album."Because then we can relax and do the jazz album next and it doesn't matter!"

Watch Liam Fray talk about More. Again. Forever in an album track by track:

Courteeners Songs