It was the summer of 2000 and I was 11 years old. Back then I didn’t know much about music and I mainly just stuck with the crowd about what was “cool”. So anyway, that summer, and pop group by the name of LFO came out with their hit (and only) single “Summer Girls”. This was really poppy music, like NSYNC in CandyLand poppy. But I didn’t know any better so I just sat back and watched the music video over and over again. By the end of the summer, I knew all the words to that song. It was just so unbelievably catchy. I can still recall the chorus to their anthem…
“New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick. I think its fly when girls stop by for the summer”.
School started in 2001, which was 5th grade for me. Of course all of the one-hit wonder bands from the summer were dead. Along with the likes of “Len” and a few others I wish I could still name. So it’s a few days into the school year and I met someone who I could really be friends with, Bryan Alzate was his name and we shared taste in music. At recess he told me about a new rap artist named Eminem. I thought it was funny that the new music sensation was named after candy covered chocolates. Finally I see the music video for “The Real Slim Shady”. I fell in love with Eminem’s music. The lyrics were hilarious, the beats were zany, the subject matter was understandable for a gifted child at my age. I bought his first album and I wasn’t really impressed at the age I was. I didn’t really understand the irony and the humor Marshall Mathers was distributing to the public. But I never lost hope, because then the next single came out for Marshall’s next album.
“The Way I Am” was released, and whored all over MTV for weeks. There’s Eminem on the #1 and the #2 spot on the same episode of TRL. Eminem was the biggest scene in the world of music. He smashed the record books with “The Marshall Mathers LP”. The album had a colossal amount of mixed opinions. Tower Records told Interscope to go f**k themselves, as did Wal-mart. But the album was sold regardless of the boycotting that many of the major retailers did. The Christian societies were beside themselves, demanding that the album be shredded so it doesn’t contaminate America’s youth. Then the other side claims that the record is a masterpiece. In between was the homosexual community, who were mentally and physically assaulted on the record by Marshall. They formed unions against him, and also tried to ban the album. I wasn’t persuaded by any of the opinions. I still went out and bought “The Marshall Mathers LP”. My mom never even looked at the “Explicit Lyrics” warning. She just dished out her 20 bucks at Target Greatland. I carefully open the treasure in the car, and put it in my portable cd player. I closed my eyes as I heard the familiar “Public Service Announcement” start up…
Before I knew it, I was on the internet buying baggy jeans and changing my image. Eminem has just changed my life. He fueled my hatred towards all of the pop singers out there that have one track and then they die in the back of peoples minds. Soon, I didn’t really give a sh
it what was popular anymore. Marshall Mathers was my idol, and I was concerned he always would be. I knew every word on the album, from the lyrics about killing Britney Spears, to the ones about Kim, to the ones about neglectful parents. Everything he said to me was gold, I took every bit of it I could and I absorbed it. I was a sponge, and I was still in 5th grade. It was me and Bryan Alzate who would recite the songs at lunch. We would toss it back and fourth to each other. It was so perfect. It’s almost a year later, and the cd is still in my player, never to be removed. I couldn’t sense what kept me hooked. Maybe it was the intentionally sloppy, but crazily smooth rapping in the song “Remember Me”. Or maybe it was the collaboration with D12 and Eminem in the 17th track, “Under The Influence”. Either way, I loved it. I would constantly have one of the songs in my head everyday. It was at this point that my 5th grade brain had officially changed.
What Eminem had done to my mind-set was crazy. Instead of liking what was popular, I just did my own thing. I would also tend to curse a lot, but only in front of my friends. I can’t say that the impact was all negative, because I realized that the music industry is corrupt. Why did NSYNC deserve millions of dollars when their lyrics are written for them and all they did was repeat whatever was in the script. Instead of singing along to “Bye Bye Bye”, I constantly made fun of it. But what put the final rose on the grave of my old personality was Eminem’s spoof lyric on LFO’s “Summer Girls”. Soon I would sing…
“New Kids on the Block suck a lot of d!ck, boy-girl groups make me sick. I can’t wait till I catch all you faggots in public, Im’a love it.”
I still sing that song to this day. Not only do I sing that song, but I sing the whole album. I also still use the word “faggot”. The meteor sized hole in the world that Eminem created is still there. Too many acts have been created, and are obvious rip-offs of Marshall’s breadcrumbs. So whether I’m in Biology class humming the tune to “Amityville”, or I’m in the passenger seat of a car mumbling the lyrics to “Criminal”, Eminem’s words will always be with me. I have listened to this record so much, that its pretty much tattooed in the back of my mind. The catchiness and the power in the lyrics was just out of this world.
“Kim” was one of the tracks I never listened to because it flat-out scared me. It is definitely the most powerful piece of music I have ever heard. It is epic, and told in the words of Eminem frantically trying to relieve himself of his pain by killing his wife. She cheated on him in Marshall’s eyes. You hear her screaming in the trunk, and the song hits its climax when you hear Marshall slitting her throat and tossing her in the trunk of his car. Listening to it as I write this is downright disturbing. I never felt this emotional over a fictional story (except for Jack Frost of course).
I would be lying if I told you that this isn’t my favorite piece of music ever created. You must also know all of the awkward conversations that I have about what my favorite cd ever is. The crowd I’m with are all 100% rock music, so I don’t really fit in with them. After 5th grade, I never did see Bryan Alzate ever again, but Entwistle sees him everyday in English class (mehh).
I’m not recommending this album. I’m requiring it.