Eminem was on a roll by this point in time. His second and third LPs had garnered some interest for their out there imagery and decent tunes. Nonetheless, Eminem had to feed the fire that was his solo career and made the best-selling album of 2002 in the process. He hadn’t sold out by this point yet, but he was becoming more and more commercially accepted as a rapper. In any case, let’s take a listen to this album, which is a pseudo-concept album, and we will hear where it takes us.
Curtains Up – Skit begins with some mechanical noises and clapping. This is followed by footsteps, a microphone test and Eminem clearing his throat.
White America begins with some awesome rapping and aeroplane rushing sounds, launching into a really awesome tune at hand. Eminem was back, and he was back with his usual politically incorrect ways. This is a directly political song, and it discusses the endemic and systematic racist and capitalist methods of government in the USA. The tune is a great piece of music as well, and it just shows that Eminem was on an up here. He points out the fact that, due to his skin colour, he was making much more success than African-American rappers, which is a fairly touchy issue. Nonetheless, this is a really cool, clever and amazing tune that is very selfish in approach, but witty and clever. A good piece of music to begin this album with, and worth many repeat listens. A great underappreciated Eminem tune. There is an extended outro with Eminem ranting on about those in power trying to stop him, which concludes with some unusual harmonies, before Eminem concludes by laughing and then saying, “I’m just playing America, you know that I love you”. Great song.
Business begins with some morse code and a parody of Eminem being a superhero in the Rap world in a discussion before this tune gets going. There is another section that follows where Eminem is on stage introducing himself. Pretty wacky, but cool. This tune eventually gets going and this is an underrated and fantastic tune to hear. A really awesome tune that is one of Eminem’s defining pieces, it is difficult to tell whether Dr Dre’s production or Eminem’s rapping is better on these songs. Eminem was in full stride to create offensive words and musicality, and this is the case here. A great Rap tune about Eminem and his self-obsessed nature, this is a wonderful listen from start to finish. Just keep this record away from your kids, and you’ll be fine. There is an outro with Eminem ranting away before this tune concludes. Nice listen here.
Cleanin’ Out My Closet is one of the more popular songs from this album. It begins with some eerie keyboard sounds, before some muted electric guitar and subdued drum parts enter. A good set of production values are here. Eminem quickly launches into a decent tune that is interesting and is another rather ranting piece where he seemingly pleads with his own mother about his own abusive nature in a Rap tune. He has a direct stab at his father, his ex-girlfriend and others in his life who caused him grief. An unusual but solid tune to listen to, Dr Dre’s production and sounds make this sound really wonderful. Lively, powerful and interesting, the second half of this tune is a rant against his own mother and is quite personal. A decent, melodramatic tune. It ends with the backing track fading out. Good job Eminem.
Square Dance begins with some spacey sounds and an accordion in the intro before this tune gets going. Some scratching is present, just as Eminem gets going into his Rap tune. Again, this tune comes across as a selfish rant, which it essentially is. Still, Eminem is still in fine form, attacking George W. Bush and others who have the levers of power and who are trying to stop his music. Eminem comes across as crazy, which he likely is. But again, this is a great song and it works. A very pretty and lively listen, the chorus is a nonsensical parody, which it is supposed to be. The second half, in particular, is Eminem rapping about those who try to oppose him. A catchy, but extremely weird tune, it is more textural than lyrical. Nonetheless, good but not as good as the songs before it.
The Kiss – Skit begins with a discussion with Eminem and a friend in the car about wanting to shoot someone, likely Eminem’s ex. It is a strange skit, and it is barely over a minute long, and it is very deep. Probably not the lightest nor the most essential moment on this album. Weird stuff. It segues into the next track.
Soldier begins with some dark sounds and imagery. Eminem gets his Rap on, and although this may be a lesser track, it still sounds lively and wonderful. The tune is one of the more serious and deep tunes out there by Eminem, and it is more or less about Eminem holding his ground as a rapper. There are many interesting samples, sounds and sonic textures to perfectly match Eminem’s own rapping expertise. Although the music on this album is great, it is better for Eminem to be less serious than this. Nonetheless, a great listen throughout. The outro has the backing track with chanting over it to the finish. Good tune.
Say Goodbye Hollywood begins with some police sirens and walkie-talkie sounds. Before you know it, Eminem gets rapping very confidently about his personal life and his ex-girlfriend Kim. An awesome piece of music that is let down by the backing track, it is interesting music nonetheless. Eminem is full of anger, hatred and shock motives, which fortunately drive this track along well, even if it is clear that he isn’t rapping on the best backing track. Anyway, an okay tune but probably could have been shortened or dropped entirely from the album. It’s not terrible, just a drag of a listen here. You can skip this one, it’s not that good.
Drips features rapper Obie Trice. It begins with some coughing and Eminem asking him what’s up. It is a weird tune about receiving sexual infections from a lady. Yes, this is Rap music after all. It is very funny and interesting listening and just sounds unusually hilarious for this scenario. Obie Trice makes for a good appearance here, although he didn’t become a big name in Rap music himself. The instrumentation is simple and supports the tune nicely. Eminem’s part rapping is brutally funny, and he perfectly articulates the issues of relationships and sexually transmitted diseases. Definitely worth hearing, and very hilarious. If you need a good laugh, hear this tune from Eminem. It is a good listen from start to finish.
Without Me begins with a sample of an Obie Trice tune, before this is stopped and we launch into Eminem’s song. This tune is instantly great sounding with massive beats, and awesome rhymes and Eminem is back in the house. A very wonderful and catchy tune, this is extremely fun listening to and is hilarious, once again. Eminem’s focus this time is on society in general. This sounds like The Real Slim Shady mark II. A really fantastic and enjoyable piece of music that demands repeat listens. “This looks like a job for me, so everybody, just follow me because we need a little controversy because it feels so empty without me,” is the chorus, which says it all. Eminem aims a punch at all different areas of society and points out the stupidity of the world in general, and in particular the music industry. The outro has some sarcastic harmonies, which is different. There is an extended outro with the backing track playing. Great song, and very brilliant.
Paul Rosenberg – Skit is a recording of a phone call, again with Paul from the previous album of Eminem. It’s not as funny as other skits but lasts less than 30 seconds, so there is no point skipping it. Interesting anyway.
Sing For The Moment begins with harpsichord and string melodies. Of course, this is an Aerosmith rip-off, but it works wonderfully well. Eminem breathes life into an old Rock classic and delivers a crossover Rock/Rap hybrid tune. The chorus is very uplifting and sounds like a beautiful listen throughout. Nonetheless, this is a tune about the pitfalls of life. Eminem delivers a fantastic tune, and although he is full of anger, this is a fantastic redo of an original tune. Very catchy and worth every moment and Eminem delivers a great song here for those who have absolutely nothing but great music in their lives. A wonderful tune and a great listen throughout. The extended chorus at the end is followed by a classy guitar solo. Great song, and something to be inspired by. Fantastic. It segues into the next track.
Superman features collaborator Dina Rae. It quickly launches into an interesting track about being in love, and it is a strange tune to hear. Eminem quickly launches into a piece about only valuing women for their bodies, not their personalities. Yes, this is hugely offensive, but it is supposed to be. A really awesome tune to listen to musically, and lyrically vicious, Eminem points out the stupidity of being in a relationship of any sort with a lady. The beats and sounds perfectly match this tune, and it is a great song for those men out there who really really want a vasectomy. Eminem does a great job of telling the world about why he doesn’t want to be together with a lady, and it makes sense if you feel the same. A genuinely great tune, the extended outro has “I can’t be your superman,” repeated for a bit with the backing track playing. Once again, a great listen. Good job Marshall Mathers.
Hailie’s Song begins with some clean drum beats, electric guitar parts and Eminem rapping away about his daughter. He does a rather raw and emotionally naked tune about his daughter and appreciates exactly how great it is to be a father. Sure, Eminem may not be your superman, but he appreciates his daughter for existing. Nonetheless, a good tune but probably not the best tune from this album. In any case, Eminem puts his heart on his sleeve here, and he does a great ode to his own daughter, although this is a very selfish piece of music. In any case, the music here is really cool. Enjoyable tune but probably not something you’d hear on repeat, like some of Eminem’s other songs. Good to appreciate this tune anyway.
Steve Berman – Skit begins with some murmuring from Eminem and a knock on the door. It launches into an interesting skit with a different conclusion than you’d expect. Weird, yet humourous. It is best heard to be appreciated.
When The Music Stops features Rap group D12. It begins with a rather serious intro with melodramatic sounds and strings, quickly followed by Eminem rapping over harpsichord and melodies that sound great. This is a bit like Bitch Please II but is following a different melodic structure. The different members enter from D12, taking turns to Rap away to this tune. It’s a bit too serious and dark sounding for a Rap tune but still is very good for what it is. It just sounds like something that is forced, not entirely natural on this tune. Anyway, a good effort, even if it is not a great one. It would have been better if Eminem had rapped more here, rather than D12. Good regardless, it ends with a gunshot.
Say What You Say features producer Dr Dre. It begins with some interesting, Castlevania styled sounds. Dr Dre and Eminem duel in a great effort on this tune, and Eminem launch into a great track, with Dr Dre battling it out with him. A good tune to hear, even though the backing instrumentation is rather repetitive, it still sounds good, even if it isn’t great compared to other songs on this album. This one drags on a bit all the same, however, despite the fact that both Eminem and Dr Dre are on this tune. In any case, it’s okay. This would have been better shortened. Anyway, good to hear, but not great. You’ll be glad when it’s over.
‘Till I Collapse is the most popular tune from this album. It begins with a toybox sounding melody and melancholy piano. In any case, this quickly launches into a good tune that sounds like proto-8 Mile era here. Eminem quickly launches into a vicious statement about his own purpose (again) but he sounds like he is making a career defining statement on this tune. Nate Dogg sings the chorus, and he does a great job at what he does here. A punchy, powerful and awesome tune, Eminem sounds angrier than ever on this song. In any case, a good listen from start to finish and something impressive by Eminem. Regardless of the lyrical content being as offensive as it is, Eminem does come across as a wonderfully talented rapper. It’s no surprise that Rap music exploded in popularity after the release of this album. There is some chanting in the outro and this track fades out nicely.
My Dad’s Gone Crazy begins with some TV channel changing with what sounds like Eminem chopping and snorting lines of cocaine. This quickly launches into a song featuring his own daughter. Unfortunately, this is a big joke of a song, and it really should not be on this album. It’s an audible joke, and yes, do skip this tune. Although it is funny at times, it’s not exactly a great Rap tune. Anyway, it is fine if you skip this nonsense. There are some rather out there lyrics by Eminem but still, this is awful. Avoid it if you can.
Curtains Close ends this album. It has a guest appearance by Ken from the previous album (Eminem pretending to be a homosexual) and he addresses an audience that isn’t there. Interesting listening, however.
This is a very good album that just falls short of being a great album due to the inconsistency of the album material. On the other hand, it does sound really clever and witty. In some ways, this is even better than The Marshall Mathers LP, and some of the tracks are legendary. Still, if you love Rap music or you haven’t heard Eminem before, this is a good starting point for this music. Eminem sold out very quickly after the release of this album and this is proof that he was beginning to do so. A good listen regardless.