I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t let Hailie listen to me neither…
I realize it’s a little late to review Eminem’s latest spewage, but forgive me. I’m an old white guy who “still listens to Elvis”. But I am also an old white guy that can’t stand morons that spout off against stuff they’ve never listened to or read. Okay, so maybe that’s me too (FearDotCom), but I try to make sure I actually read The Catcher in the Rye before trying to ban it!
Please, remember the following things about me: I’m white, 40, lower middle class, married, two kids (one teenager, one about to be). I do not naturally relate to anything Eminem talks about. I don’t drink or do drugs. I hate guns. I don’t even swear, unless I am extremely stressed or want to use it for effect. So, why did I pick up The Eminem Show and start listening to it? And what sense could I possibly make of it?
For one thing, I am always suspicious of attacks on artists. As I said, I find a lot of people who like to pontificate on things that they have never experienced.
Here’s a prime example: When the deputy president of the University of Central Lancashire’s student union voiced support for a ban on Eminem, he said, “Personally I don’t know Eminem’s music but I’ve been told it contains homophobic material so obviously it’s a good reaction from the SU because it’s important to uphold anti-discriminatory policy”. (Hard-Prest News)
Additionally, I am always amazed at the short memories wandering around the world in otherwise well-educated brains. Oppose Eminem because kids are encouraged to chant “F-U-C-K”? Oooh, that’s new. Never heard that before *cough*Woodstock*cough*.
Then there’s the general public’s lack of a sense of irony–as when Jonathan Swift wrote that the solution to Irish poverty was to sell their kids to the rich as food or more recently when idiots mistook Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ as a patriotic anthem.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, Eminem’s latest album. I am somewhere in the middle of loving it and just liking it.
On the one hand, Mr. Mathers–sometimes eloquently–addresses his critics, his ex-wife, his mother, his enemies, me, etc. with tight, clever lyrics:
Lets do the math, If I was black I would’ve sold half… – White America
…hip-hop was never a problem in Harlem, only in Boston… – White America
…dial straight down the center eight-zero-zero/ you can even call collect, the most feared duet, since me and Elton played career Russian Roulette… – Business
I’m not the first king of controversy/ I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley, to do Black Music so selfishly/ and use it to get myself wealthy (Hey)/ there’s a concept that works… – Without Me
The thing is it seems like every song is aimed that way. It gets weary after a while. Yes, Marshall, we get it. It’s a joke. You’re beset upon by morons. Can we move on?
When he does move on, though, there are some brilliant moments where he opens up his hurts for us to share. In this, the album is very much like John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band. It’s primal scream therapy that we’re invited to witness.
So, the quick summary from someone he could give a flying fuck about:
Well, it’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it. I’d give it an 85.
Oh…and when I asked my daughter what she thought, she said, “Who’s Eminem?”
[ Also seen at Blogcritics.org ]