Urban Contemporary, 2000
Well, there’s no escaping this foul-mouthed rapper nowadays, is there? I actually bought this CD out of curiosity, and also because Stan is one of the best songs to grace the airwaves in a long time. That’s the funny thing: The Marshall Mathers LP boast some really brilliant, well-produced tunes, but when Eminem starts yapping like a castrated chihuahua about killing his wife Kim and raping lesbians, it is so hard to take him seriously.
Sure, the blame could have fallen on MTV and the stupid Grammy folks (“It’s the music, not the message we are recognizing” – can we say fudging?) to glorify Eminem’s brand of hatred so that any dumb doofus under 17 – those who stupidly buy what’s cool at the moment, and make no mistake, Eminem is cool at the moment – will buy Eminem’s homophobic, misogynistic, misanthropic rant without exerting any action with their own brain cells.
But if I look the other way, Eminem’s anger – or at least, the anger that comes off in his music – can also be seen as a representative of a middle class straight, WASP teenager’s confusion and fear in a climate where his gender and sexual preferences hold little power in the media and the current climate of political correctness. One could see it as a manifestation of an unthinking, simple, unenlightened suburban boy’s fear at the sight of gay rights advocates talking on TV about gay equality and all, and hell if this doofus can’t think of any action to vent other than to beat up some gay boys in his neighborhood. These things happen, and Eminem isn’t chicken-smelly-stuff to pretend he doesn’t feel these emotions.
And either way, there’s no escaping the pop perfection of Stan, a Gothic masterpiece of fandom/obsession blurred, The Real Slim Shady‘s gorgeous kineticity, and the sensuality of chemical abuse in The Drug Ballad. But Eminem isn’t always so clever with his words and outrageous melodrama. The homophobic piece Ken Kaniff‘s supposedly ironical/grandiose/self-masturbatory “revelation” at the end falls flat. Likewise, the self-indulgent see-me-wank piece that is Here I Am is tedious and dull.
When Eminem is really good, he is the voice of a generation of skinheads, Nazis, and other stupid people you and I can find in our neighborhoods. He is just being their poster boy. When he is bad, he comes off as a stupid pea-brained attention-starved Momma’s Boy who hates his mother but can’t cut the umbilical cord (Kim). And since he just lowered himself to perform at the Brits and Grammy award shows, even after pointing his finger to these events in his music, I am more inclined to believe Eminem as the latter.
But there’s no denying it though – Eminem has made an impact in the music scene with this album. Let’s just see where he takes himself from here.