Thursday, May 21, 2009

Same Old Song And Dance

I've read a lot of interesting reviews on the new Eminem album, Relapse. I've listened to it; much of it is disturbed and dark. No surprises there. Marshall Mathers isn't known to millions because of his stunning mental health. No one will confuse him with Leo Buscagalia. This is not Chicken Soup for the Rapper's Soul. Nor is it a sexual ode to the ladies either, alas no one is using their milkshake to bring the boys to the playground (oddly, I saw this quoted on a sign for a shop selling snakes the other day -- How does the owner's milkshake bring in people who want to buy snakes? Paging Dr. Freud to figure out this mess!). A lot of people feel that Eminem is played out and that his shock value is one of diminishing returns. I don't feel he is playing the shock card -- there's not much that is terribly surprising; he got hooked on prescription drugs. He's upset at his stepfather. It seems that every man of a certain age in Detroit has an abusive stepfather. I remember hearing one dude ramble on at a bar for a long time about his, a hard evil man who had a great vocabularly. The guy kept saying over and over, He knew so many words. As for Eminem, perhaps the most shocking thing he's admitted is that he's very close friends with Elton John and reached out to him for help when he began trying to get sober. Sir Elton? Eminem? Sobriety? This is truly shocking.

People spend a lot of time analyzing his clever rhymes and highly confessional nature; I don't see any critics doing this with say, Nelly's highly dance-friendly song "Candy shop." Of course, it doesn't take a scholar of metaphor to decipher lyrics like -- "I'm going to the candy shop/ going let you lick my lollipop." Confusing indeed! The man some refer to as the Great White Hype has returned on the scene after a long absence. Did some of us miss him? Certainly. Love him or hate him, he keeps the scene from becoming one long ode to sexual pleasure. If rap didn't have him, we'd have to invent him: his anger, his despair, his cleverness.

Michelle's Spells of the Day
“I hate and love - wherefore I cannot tell, but by my tortures know the fact too well.” Catullus

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Relapse Eminem

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Go Red Wings!


Anonymous said...


the walking man said...

I like M. I like the Slim Shady disc and particularly liked his political songs prior to the election. I've been reading probably the same reviews of Relapse as you have and when and if I feel like spending some money on music I will probably spend a bit on this one.

He is older now...maybe it is that he doesn't have to worry so much about a crazy mother and a weird wife but he has for the past couple of years kept himself away from the trouble that followed him early on.

There are some who will never get it, rap music and that is maybe the rappers fault when they went hypersexual in lyric and video. But their audience obviously likes it so why should I judge it, I vote with my money.

Cheri said...

Eminem came around when I was in jr. high school- I was a fan then and I'm a fan now. Detroit is a loyal city.

Heff said...

Being a rocker, I can't stand M&M. Closest I'll go is S&M !

Charles Gramlich said...

I only listened to eminem a bit when my son was in to him as a teenager. There was a song I kind of liked, although I don't remember the title. I saw his movie, eight mile. It wasn't bad.

jodi said...

Hey Girl, I like to do a white girls rap with the MNM! My favorite line(s) being, "2 trailer park girls go round the outside, round the outside, round the outside!" Whaaaa? I dunno, I just like singin' it!

Scott said...


Not much of a rap fan myself, but I do see that he's trying to do something a bit different, at least.

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