April 29, 2004

In the end, I'm gonna stick with "because it blows"


It's no secret I'm a big fan of Marshall Mathers, but he's not making it easy, is he? After releasing one of the undisputed masterpieces of the last 10 years (on top of a pretty spectacular debut), he started to stumble. The Eminem Show had some interesting politics but represented a pretty steep falling off musically and lyrically. 8 Mile was a respectable bid for a wider audience, with a couple of pretty good songs attached, but creatively it was a placeholder.

And now comes the D12 single My Band, which is without question the biggest atrocity Eminem has ever been involved in. Sure he's done goofy shit before, but always buried deep on an album or dropped discretely as a bootleg. This is a single. And a hit single at that.

My first thought on hearing it was that it must be Em flipping the bird like never before — a Manzoni-esque critique of his fans. But The Gorilla has another compelling theory: Eminem really wants to be Weird Al.

"My Band" is high concept parody of low culture, in this case boy bands. I think Al's even done this already, probably even back in the New Kids days.

It has an annoying, but catchy melody-you can't get it out of your head even though you didn't want it there in the first place.

Most of the lyrics, especially the chorus are punctuated by an irritating vocal that appeals to 10 year old boys and then gets thrust on everyone else even though we didn't ask for it and don't want it. It may be tentionally irritating, but it is still irritating any way you slice it up.

Still, you have to admire, if not actually like, the talent involved here. Just listen to how effortlessly he pulls off this shtick. Sure I thought Weird Al was pretty funny when I was a kid, but even then I could sort of sense how hard he was trying. Eminem may yet regain his rightful place as the greatest musical artist of his generation, but if he doesn't all he needs is some better material and he's got a fine future ahead of him as a parodist.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


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