Review Summary: If you thought The Marshall Mathers LP was good, wait'll you hear this.
Let's see, let's go through what Eminem's done:
His third album, The Marshal Mathers LP, is the fastest selling solo album of all time.
He's won a total of thirteen Grammys, three of them on his albums.
Made two albums that were the fastest-selling of 2001 and 2003.
Won an Academy Award for 8 Mile.
#82 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time
#79 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time
Named Best Rapper Alive
Is the Best Selling Artists of the Decade
So summarizing just how massive Mr. Mathers truly is would be more difficult than just saying it. I'm not going to go BS'ing that it's the single greatest album alive, that he's the best vocalist of all time, or that he deserved EVERY Grammy that he got, but Eminem really does deserve the praise he's gotten. And you can sympathize with Eminem. Outside of his out-of-reality, psychotic Slim Shady persona, he's had a really tough life. Abused by his mother, beaten by classmates, taunted by classmates, attempted suicide, he even lost his Uncle Ronnie all because of a damned shotgun. Imagine that kind of life. Try to even remotely VISUALIZE the slightest amount of torture that was Marshall Mathers' life.
And The Eminem Show just shows that Eminem has led an unhappy life. The Eminem Show is deeply heartwarming. The Eminem Show is personal. It's astonishing. It's Eminem's best album yet, and one of the single greatest recorded albums of all time. The Eminem Show shows a side of Mathers that not a whole lot of people can relate to: he may not look like it, but he's unhappy. And for those who say Marshall's just a drugged-out, homophobic, misogynic freak, you're wrong in many ways.
Now, I won't BS that every single song on this album is the best. In fact, Eminem's previous album, The Marshall Mathers LP, with songs like the disturbing"Kim", the lyrically breathtaking"Stan", and the now-brilliant, angry "The Way I Am", is still one of the best albums of all time, and one of the most well-written. But the absolute emotional stress and power that this album possesses is what makes it the most amazing album, most brilliant album the former rapper has made.
Here's an interesting fact about this: it's almost entirely self-produced. The album is the first released under Shady Records. Mathers had become so undeniably popular and rich that he was able to move from Dr. Dre's talented control and make his own company, which soon became a blessing AND a curse. On the upside, there's a lot of work put into this album, and it truly shows. On the downside, without the medicine the doctor gave it, it's not all perfect.
The lyrics in the songs are tremendous. Eminem always was a gifted in terms of being a poet, and it's present in this album. The absolute lyrical fire in the songs are flowing and spat out. I mean, take a look at THIS. "These ideas are nightmares to white parents / Whose worst fear is a child with dyed hair and who likes earrings / Like whatever they say has no bearing, it's so scary in a house that allows no swearing / To see him walking around with his headphones blaring / Alone in his own zone, cold and he don't care / He's a problem child And what bothers him all comes out, when he talks about His ***in' dad walkin' out / Cause he just hates him so bad that he blocks him out If he ever saw him again he'd probably knock him out"
It's really intense and wicked stuff, I'm telling you. And Eminem is true to life. "Sing for the Moment"" Oh my god, you HAVE to listen to Sing For The Moment. It's an epic, moving, emotional song that is his single most brilliant single to ever be recorded. He spits out what helped him through childhood, singing for the fans, making a difference in music. Cheesy" Yes. But oh so utterly wonderful.
"Cleanin' Out My Closet" is a personal reflection on Marshall's life of pain and suffering. It succeeds for the most part, but comes out as mean-spirited. He sings about the abuse he received from his mother and his anger at his father for abandoning him. He's very, very hateful towards his Mom in the constant spew of anger radiating off the power of his lyrics, insulting his mother so hard that even stating that not even his daughter Hailie would go to her funeral. It's powerful, and almost as disturbing, yet touching as Marshall Mathers LP's "Kim".
"White America" is a lash at the media and the angry critics, who seem to do nothing but attack him, so this is him fighting back. The lyrical fire in this song are just as great, and oh so controversial. "burn the casket and replace It with a parental advisory sticker, to spit liquor in the faces of in this democracy of Hypocrisy, *** you Ms. Cheney, *** you Tipper Gore, *** you with the freest of speech this Divided states of embarrassment!" Just.. whoa.
"Hailie's Song" is another touching piece, again wondering about his tortured life, and how his beautiful daughter is what pulls him through it. It's basically Encore's "Mockingbird", but just as moving and powerful. "Without Me" and "My Dad's Gone Crazy" take the exact opposite side of the album, and move towards the Slim Shady persona that Em's known for: crazy, perverted, and flat-out hilarious. Still, these feel a little off-beat, and the latter has some jarring mixing, but they're both worth a listen. Oh, and "Say What You Say" is once again a Dr. Dre and Em pairing, like in Slim Shady LP's Guilty Conscience, and Relapse's Crack A Bottle. Only... better than the latter, I suppose.
There's some downfalls to the album, but they are only very minor. As I had mentioned before, the production is just slightly off the talent of Dr. Dre. The skits on the album feel very lame, written at the last second, and aren't exactly good. Song-wise, "Soldier" and "Drips" don't belong here. The latter doesn't even deserve to be in the face of music. Hey, despite the praise I've given it, nothing's ever perfect. "'Till I Collapse" would have been fine even without Snoop Dogg, despite the talent each rapper has.
Overall, though, The Eminem Show is a masterpiece. It may seem a little steep, but go the store and OWN this thing of beauty.
Sing For The Moment
Cleanin' Out My Closet
...and maybe Without Me
: Either the awesome lyrics in Sing for the Moment or the insults in White America.