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It would feel empty without Eminem,
This review is from: The Eminem Show (Audio CD)
While both Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers are an important part of this CD, Eminem subsumes his two other personas to take center stage on The Eminem Show. While the album is not as consistently impressive as either of his first two albums, it contains some standout tracks and displays a unity of purpose and theme that marks Eminem as a more mature and talented artist more than comfortable in his own often-criticized skin. There is plenty of violence and cursing throughout the course of this exceedingly long release (coming in at over an hour and seventeen minutes), yet a softer and certainly more introspective Eminem sometimes reveals himself in the lyrics. While there is plenty of talk about his own life, it is now somewhat counterbalanced by criticism of the music industry, censorship, and even American policy (including, as everyone probably knows, some harsh words for Lynn Cheney and Tipper Gore). This doesn’t make Eminem a global spokesman for anything, but it certainly seems he is trying to place his music in a larger context. Naturally, though, his most intense lyrics revolve around his own life, the penultimate example of which is Cleaning Out My Closet. In this self-revelatory track, Eminem launches a vicious attack on his mother, seemingly holding nothing back at all in his diatribe. He raises the specter of his ex-wife Kim in The Kiss skit, but there is no equivalent track to Bonnie and Clyde 97 or Kim on this album.
Eminem doesn’t take himself too seriously, leading to tracks such My Dad’s Gone Crazy, the brilliant and funny duo with his daughter Hailie Jade. Hailie’s influence is felt most strongly, of course, on Hailey’s Song. This is by far my favorite song on this album, and it is certainly unique in that Eminem actually sings the lyrics, reflecting the obvious joy he feels at getting his daughter back. There are certainly enough tracks reflecting the rage and youthful exasperation that have always driven Eminem, but there is also a measure of fun rarely felt in his earlier efforts. Without Me is loads of fun, forever conjuring up images in my mind of Eminem in that superhero getup from the video. In White America, Eminem seems to take delight in pondering the effects he has on young people; and I find a lot of entertainment values in Square Dance. The only song I don’t really care for is Drips featuring Obie Trice, a song that seems to take shock value for its own sake a little too far for my tastes. Overall, though, The Eminem Show is yet another amazing album from the unstoppable force known as Eminem, and the maturity, commitment, and ever-increasing skills revealed in its conception and execution offer undeniable proof that hip hop’s most controversial and influential star is going to be a force in the business for a very long time.