“I got a song filled with shit for the strong-willed,” Eminem tells us at the beginning of “Venom.” And he’s true to his word: “Venom” is a dark promise of a song, well-timed for Halloween, with an action-packed music video to match. In the video, focus frequently switches between several people, as each in turn is hit with an infectious rush of evil power; each time, the person becomes energized and combative, dancing and glitching before shoving into a new person, thereby passing the force onto them.
The song is part of the soundtrack to Marvel’s Venom, which came out just last week. This connection explains the premise of the video as the film explores the idea of an alien “symbiote” that can invade the bodies of regular people and control them. Eminem’s voice and identity, however, are still everywhere, both in the song and in the video. When he takes on the role of the villain, possessed and embodied by the venom, it’s not just for show: He boasts, “I probably ruined your parents’ life / And your childhood too,” and refers to himself as “the supervillain Dad and Mom was losin’ their marbles to.”
It’s clear from the beginning, though, that the song isn’t just about Eminem. “Venom” is for all the strong-willed, for everyone who knows what it feels like “when the world gives you a raw deal /…When it talks to you like you don’t belong / Or tells you you’re in the wrong field.” It’s no mistake that the venomous force in the music video takes turns possessing people of several different races, ages, genders and occupations. The feeling of the song, of being angry and fueled with adrenaline, is something most people have felt one way or another. We all get a little venomous sometimes.