Got this from NME.com:
'THE EMINEM SHOW' - TRACK-BY-TRACK
'Curtains Up' (0:29)
'White America' (5:24)
Beginning with bangs and crashes, this is a massive-sounding rock track which Eminem kicks off with a megaphoned dedication to 'the men and women who have broken their neck for the freedom of speech the United States government is squandering.'
Eminem goes on to sum up the state of play: because he's white, he's become a massive star ('let's do the math/If I was black I wouldn't have sold half') with the children of white, suburban America hanging onto his every word. Which is why politicians are more scared of him than any black rapper ('I could be one of your kids', 'hip-hop is never a problem in Harlem, only in Boston'). The song ends with Eminem pissing on the White House lawn, taunting that he's now 'a motherF***
ing spokesman for... white America!' and shouting 'I spit liquor in the face of the democracy of hypocrisy... F***
[anti-obscenity campaigner] Tipper Gore, the United States of embarrassment.' Confrontational, political, scarily perceptive and intelligent, this is an amazing curtain raiser. Like 'Kill You', the first track from 'The Marshall Mathers LP', it finishes with a mock recantation - 'Just playing America, you know I love you.'
Obviously Dr Dre-produced, 'Business' is like a soundclash between 'Forgot About Dre' and the 'Batman' TV theme. Both funky and slightly kitsch, it introduces the concept of the album being a show (Eminem even shouts 'the show must go on' in the manner of a circus ringmaster). 'Business' alludes to his brawl with Insane Clown Posse associate Douglas Dali (the chorus goes 'We shuttin' this sh**
down on these clowns/Can I get a witness?') and makes a jokey reference to him and Elton John 'playing Russian roulette with our careers' when they performed 'Stan' at the 2001 Grammys.
'Cleaning Out My Closet' (4:57)
Probably the most personal song Eminem has ever released, this packs an emotional punch equal to 'Stan'. Over a piano-driven backing track which sounds like a prettier version of 'The Way I Am', Eminem picks at the scabs of his last two major lawsuits; his mother Debbie's defamation suit against him and the concealed weapons charge he faced after pistol-whipping John Guerra, whom he caught smooching with his then-wife Kim.
Beginning with an almost theatrical appeal to his disenfranchised audience ('Have you ever been hated or discriminated against?'), 'Cleaning Out My Closet' defies Debbie Mathers to sue again. It details Eminem's appalling childhood: the poverty, Debbie's neglect and Marshall Mathers II, the 'f**' father who left when he was two months old and who has since appealed for Eminem to get in touch. (The lyric 'I wonder if he even kissed me goodbye/No I don't, second thoughts, just F***
ing wish he would die' suggests there's unlikely to be a reconciliation.) 'Cleaning Out My Closet' then goes onto regret that there were no bullets in the gun he pistol-whipped Guerra with - if there had been, he says 'I would have shot Kim and him both'. The last verse is an extraordinary hymn of hate to his mother, vowing that Hailie Jade, his daughter, 'won't even go to your funeral... you selfish bitch, I hope you F***
ing pay for this sh**
'Square Dance' (5:23)
There's a distinct Southern hip-hop influence to some of 'The Eminem Show'; 'Square Dance' suggests that Eminem's been listening toOutKast , Nelly, Missy Elliott and his white rap rival Bubba Sparxxx. In an exaggerated Southern American accent, Eminem tells his audience to 'let your hair down... docey doe now' over skidding synths and siren noises. It's great.
'The Kiss' (1:15)
The first interlude must have kept Interscope's lawyers entertained for weeks - it's a (very) thinly veiled dramatisation of the John Guerra incident. Eminem is in a car with a friend, following his wife. He pulls out a gun, ignoring his friend's warning to put it away. Eminem's tell him that it isn't loaded, but when he sees his wife kissing a man across the street, the red mist descends...
Over straight-up hip-hop beats, a spooky sample that sounds a bit like the theme from 'The Exorcist' and a chanting crowd, Eminem makes a 'me against the world' declaration of strength: 'These shoulders hold up so much/They won't budge/I'll never fall or falter/I'm a soldier/Even if my collarbones crush or crumble/I will never slip or stumble.'
'Say Goodbye Hollywood' (5:03)
Another self-analytical rock track: like 'Marshall Mathers' and 'Stan' on the last album or 'Role Model' on the first, this debates Eminem's influence over his fans. But rather than saying he's a spokesman (as on 'White America'), the chorus of 'Say Goodbye Hollywood' claims 'I am only entertaining you/My goal is to stimulate/Making you high/And take you and I/To a place you can't see/But I believe you can fly.'
So which perspective is the right one? Inevitable answer: they both are. Lyrics aside, the rhythm and rhyme schemes are technically amazing.
Featuring Detroit-born newcomer and D12 associate Obie Trice (first single: 'The Well Known a**hole'), 'Drips' is a 'Kim'-style piece of feminist-enraging grossout comedy. The storyline: Eminem's pregnant girlfriend has been seeing Obie Trice on the side, and all three have caught VD. 'That's how dicks be getting drips', sings Eminem, charmingly, over slow hip-hop with orchestral flourishes.
'Without Me' (4:50)
The single: a discofied, super-savvy smash-and-grab raid on popular culture dissing Lynne Cheney (the wife of Republican presidential hopeful Dick Cheney, and who publicly condemned his lyrics in 2000) Moby (for accusing him of homophobia), the FCC (for trying to get his records banned from the airwaves), Chris Kirkpatrick from *N Sync (for responding to disses on 'The Marshall Mathers LP') and Limp Bizkit (because Bizkit's DJ Lethal sided with Everlast in the vicious lyrical battle between the two rappers last year).
Squeezing in a quick 'F***
you, Debbie!' Eminem's final, ironic flourish is to describe himself as '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'. It's safe to say that not many pop stars are as knowing and clever as this.
'Paul Rosenberg' (0:22)
...is Eminem's manager. This is a quick comedy skit.
'Sing For The Moment' (5:39)
A passionate, if slightly unctuous full-on rock track built around the chorus of Aerosmith 's 1973 single 'Dream On', 'Sing For The Moment' returns to Eminem's problems of the past two years. His mom tries to take his money, politicians try to shut him up, journalists 'try to burn you' and the courts try to prove he's a criminal. 'It's all political', spits Eminem, referring to the concealed weapons suit. 'If I'm a criminal, how the F***
could I raise a little girl?/You're full of sh**
too, Guerra/That was a bitch that hit you, bitch'. The subject matter returns to the disenfranchised kids Eminem claims are his hardcore fans ('We sing for these kids who don't have a bean/Except for a dream and a F***
ing rap magazine') and ends with the rapper in almost Messianic form: 'Let our spirits live on/Through our lyrics...'
Another Southern-influenced bounce track, this contains one of the album's most topical - and controversial - lyrics, Eminem threatening to put anthrax on a woman's Tampax 'and slap her with it'.
'Hailie's Song' (5:20)
This is a first: an Eminem track where he sings throughout, in a soft and surprisingly high voice.
A rock song dedicated to his six-year-old daughter (complete with the sounds of a baby laughing in the background), the first half is pretty slushy, with lines like: 'People make jokes, they don't see my real side... My insecurities could eat me alive'. However, this being Eminem , the song gets darker as it goes on. Kim reappears ('I've got a wife who's determined to make my life a living hell') and the soppy atmosphere evaporates with the enquiry 'Why did I put my penis up it?'
Eminem's gay critics, meanwhile, will have a field day with his assertion that Hailie is 'the only lady that I adore'. The song ends with the jokey admission 'I can't sing... oh well, I tried' and the sound of a kiss.
'Steve Berman' (0:33)
...is Interscope's senior executive of marketing and sales.
Following his appearance on 'Devil's Night' and 'The Marshall Mathers LP', this is another skit about him being unable to market the record.
'When The Music Stops' (5:09)
Driven by harpsichord, gunshots and West Coast hip-hop beats, 'When The Music Stops' is another track about hip-hop's influence over its audience, in which Bizarre from D12 claims he's been incited to crime through listening to rap.
''Till I Collapse' (4:57)
Like 'Soldier' and 'Hailie's Song', this is lyrically defiant, a 'nothing-can-stop-me' rabble-rouser. Namechecking Nas OutKast , among others, Eminem asserts his pre-eminence as an MC, rapping 'I'll probably never get the props I feel I ever deserve' over ultra-bombastic beats reminiscent of Queen 's 'We Will Rock You'. Also features the hugely prolific Nate Dogg singing the chorus: ''Til the roof comes off/'Til the lights go out/'Til my legs give out/Can't check my mouth'.
'My Dad's Gone Crazy' (4:27)
Throughout 'The Eminem Show', Hailie's been painted as Eminem's one redeeming influence. But 'My Dad's Gone Crazy' is a final removal of the safety net, a 'Criminal'-style excursion right over the top summed up in the chorus: 'There's no-one on earth that can save me, not even Hailie'.
'Hailie' responds by rapping the title line (again, in a Southern American accent for some strange reason). Rhythmically complex, it keeps 'The Eminem Show' innovating, outraging, amazing and delighting right up to the final minute.
'Curtains Close' (1:01)
(Edited by Jenn at 9:17 am on May 9, 2002)
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