Eminem


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

The Slim Shady LP , 7/10
The Marshall Mathers LP , 7.5/10
Show , 6/10
Encore (2004), 4/10
Relapse (2009), 4.5/10
Recovery (2010), 4.5/10
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White rapper Eminem (Marshall Mathers) from Detroit joins the legion of Insane Clown Posse and Kid Rock, disaffected white kids from the suburbia that unleashed their angry rants at society through a parody of ghetto music's street genre.

The Slim Shady LP (Universal, 1999) highlights Mathers' carefree and sarcastic attitude (the hit single My Name Is..., the follow-up Just Don't Give A Fuck), besides his tormented youth (Brain Damage, Rock Bottom), his freudian sense of guilt (Guilty Conscience and his questionable antisocial preaching his perverted fantasies, which frequently involve his own daughter (97' Bonnie & Clyde, in which his baby's mother gets killed and the baby helps him throw the body in the ocean, Bad Meets Evil). Mathers' songs are crafted with a parsimonious choice of instruments and a modicum of syncopated rhythms. Notwithstanding Mathers' macho humour (particularly bitter when addressing pop icons like Spice Girls or Pamela Anderson), a sense of desolation and even loneliness permeates the music, which ultimately reflects the doom and weltanschaung of the urban misfits. And the closing Still Don't Give A recapitulates this tragic leitmotiv in a quasi-classical epic. The album will top the charts for weeks in 2000.

(Translation by / Tradotto da Cinzia Russi)

Eminem (Marshall Mathers), rapper bianco di Detroit, fa parte della legione di Insane Clown Posse e Kid Rock, ostili ragazzini bianchi dei sobborghi che scatenano le loro rabbiose sfuriate nei confronti della societa` parodiando la musica di strada del ghetto.
The Slim Shady LP (Universal, 1999) mette in risalto l'atteggiamento sarcastico spensierato di Mather (il singolo hit My Name Is, con il suo seguito Just Don't Give A Fuck), la sua tormentata adolescenza (Brain Damage, Rock Bottom), il suo senso di colpa freudiano (Guilty Conscience) cosi` come la discutibile predica antisociale delle sue fantasie perverse, che coinvolgono spesso sua figlia ('97 Bonnie & Clyde, dove la madre della bambina viene uccisa e la bambina stessa aiuta Mathers a buttare il cadavere nell'oceano, e Bad Meets Evil). Le canzoni di Mathers sono caratterizzate da una parsimoniosa scelta degli strumenti con ritmi sincopati ridotti al minimo. Nonostante il suo umorismo "macho", la musica di Mathers e' permeata da un senso di desolazione o addirittura solitudine che finisce per riflettere il destino tragico e la weltanschaung dei disadattati urbani. Il pezzo di chiusura, Still Don't Give A, riassume questo tragico leitmotiv in un'epica quasi da musica classica.

The Marshall Mathers LP (Columbia, 2000) refines that approach. Eminem's salacious fantasies of Britney Spears and other assorted "bitches", "sluts" and "faggots" are crowd-pleasers (if the crowd is morbid enough, as crowds tend to be), but the art is elsewhere: Stan (whose rude male rap alternates with an angelic female lullaby over sounds of a storm and a Neil Young-ian rhythm) and Kim (whose thundering, symphonic score punctuates the screams of two arguing lovers and contrasts with a romantic melody a` la Francoise Hardy) are psychodramas (not only songs) that force hyper-realism into rap music the same way the Doors forced drugs into pop music.
It is not a coincidence that Mathers' tragic peak comes with the post-Morrison Freudian nightmare of Kill You, a rap (paced by brutal pauses) that sweeps away any remaining taboos about sex and violence, a conversation piece in which vulgar language becomes "the" poetic language. To emphasize the melodrama, The Way I Am employs even death bells and a Beethoven-ish piano figure, and its rap is as visceral and desperate as Eminem music can be.
When it works, Eminem's pantomime is a force of nature.
On the other hand, The Real Slim Shady is a farcical rigmarole with a vaudeville-esque rhythm, I'm Back is virtually a cabaret number turned rap, Drug Ballad employs a stomping beat, a strummed piano and girl-group backing vocals, Criminal sounds like a mockery of Eminem's own hit My Name Is, and Marshall Mathers is a parody that borrows from Broadway musicals and western soundtracks: Mathers has no respect for his own art.
Mathers is a calculating pop phenomenon (songs alternate with brief spoken interludes of people commenting on Eminem's attitude, of he having oral sex with two guys, etc, the ultimate form of self-glorification) that viscerally exposes calculating pop phenomena.
The album will sell 15 million copies in two years.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Maria Dolores Perriello)

The Marshall Mathers LP (Columbia, 2000) raffina quel tipo di approccio. Le fantasie lascive di Eminem su Britney Spears e altre "bitches" (cagne), "sluts" (troie) e "faggots" (checche) assortite sono destinate a deliziare le folle (se le folle sono abbastanza morbose come tendono a essere), ma l'arte e` altrove: Stan e Kim fanno entrare di forza l'iperrealismo nel rap allo stesso modo in cui i Doors facevano entrare la droga nel pop. Non e` casuale che il tragico apice di Mathers si abbia nel postmorrisoniano incubo psicoanalitico Kill you. D'altro canto, Criminal ha un'attrattiva da pezzo commerciale come poteva averla My Name Is. Mathers e` un fenomeno pop calcolato che mette visceralmente alla berlina i fenomeni pop calcolati. Che Mathers si suicidi e` solo una questione di tempo.

The single Without Me is the only "consummable" song on Eminem's third album, Show (Columbia, 2002), which, for the most part, is busier promoting himself than in creating art. Compared with the previous output, this is Eminem's "serious", "mature", "adult" album. Like David Bowie and other pop stars before him, he is beginning to worship his own life/art relationship, in a subtle bid to self-craft a personality cult. Alas, it is also the one in which the listener is subjected to an endless, unbearable rosary of his heroic attitudes in a hostile and hypocritical world (Without Me, Squaredance, Soldier, Cleaning Out My Closet, Say Goodbye Hollywood, When The Music Stops). Angst is ok (White America), but repeated self-immolation is ok only if followed by facts, whereas this album seems much more interested in immortality than in immolation. Nods to Aerosmith (Sing for the Moment) and Pink Floyd ('Till I Collapse) and Dr Dre's contributions (Business, the best hip-hop number, and the duet Say What You Say) are not enough to change the impression of a monolithic uniformity: musically, the album is impeccably produced, but repetitive to boredom. If Eminem ever had a sense of humour, it's gone (except for the closing My Dad's Gone Crazy), and it has not been replaced by an adequate sociopolitical reportage, since Eminem mainly "reports" about himself.

Eminem's artistic collapse continued on Encore (Shady, 2004), on which the provocative angst of the early albums was replaced by a sort of parody of such angst (Rain Man). A few rhymes (Crazy in Love), rhythms (Evil Deeds) and melodies (Yellow Brick Road) are genuinely inspired, but, let's face it, his Freudian self-analysis stinks, his Slim Shady alter-ego is yesterday's news, his self-reflections about his own celebrity are becoming quite annoying. His attempt at politics in Mosh is childish at best. He seems to thrive on controversy, not art. But then, maybe, that's precisely what his career is all about: turning controvery into an art.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Massimiliano Pugno)

Il singolo "without me" è la sola canzone "consumabile" del terzo album di Eminem, Show (Columbia, 2002) nel quale l’autore, fondamentalmente, si preoccupa più di promuovere se stesso che della sua produzione artistica.

Rispetto alle sue opere precedenti, questo è il lavoro "serio", "maturo", "adulto" di Eminem che, come David Bowie e altre pop star prima di lui, sta iniziando venerare la sua particolare relazione con la musica, con il recondito scopo di creare un culto della sua stessa personalità e impone all’ascoltatore una continua, insopportabile esaltazione del suo risentimento contro un mondo ostile e ipocrita (Without Me, Squaredance, Soldier, Cleaning Out My Closet, Say Goodbye Hollywood, When The Music Stops). Va bene l’angoscia esistenziale (White America) ma la continua auto-immolazione deve essere seguita da fatti, mentre l’autore di questo lavoro sembra molto più interessato alla fama che al sacrificio. Gli omaggi agli Aerosmith (Sing for the Moment) e ai Pink Floyd ('Till I Collapse), nonché i contributi di Dr. Dre (Business, il miglior brano hip-hop,e il duetto Say What You Say) non bastano a cambiare l’impressione di monolitica uniformità di quest’album che, se dal punto di vista musicale è impeccabile, risulta ripetitivo fino alla noia. Con l’eccezione di My Dad's Gone Crazy, Eminem sembra aver perso il senso dell’umorismo (se mai ne aveva avuto uno) e di non aver sviluppato nessuna sensibilità sociopolitica, dal momento che non fa che occuparsi di se stesso..

La crisi artistica di Eminem continua con Encore (Shady, 2004). In questo lavoro, l’angoscia provocatoria dei primi album è stata rimpiazzata dalla sua parodia (Rain Man). A parte alcuni versi, (Crazy in Love), ritmi (Evil Deeds) e melodie (Yellow Brick Road), che appaiono davvero ispirati, bisogna fronteggiare la realtà, e capire che la sua autoanalisi è ridicola, il suo alter-ego Slim Shady oramai ha detto quello che doveva e le sue considerazioni sulla sua stessa celebrità iniziano ad essere noiose. Il suo tentativo d occuparsi di politica (Mosh) appare, ad essere buoni, appena infantile. Eminem sembra sguazzare nelle polemiche. Ma, a ben vedere, tutta la sua carriera è stata basata proprio su questo: trasformare polemiche in musica.

Presents (2007) is a mixtape, another sign of artistic decline.

Relapse (Interscope, 2009), his first album in five years, avails itself of Dr Dre's beats in a cuynical but also enigmatic manner. It is hard to believe that this is the same artist who made The Slim Shady LP. A couple of raps are convincing (We Made You, Dejavu) but mostly this is serviceable... dejavu.

Despite being propelled by the singles Love the Way You Lie and (especially) Not Afraid, its successor Recovery (2010) was not any better. Having finally realized that his lyrics were mediocre and trivial, the world expected to find some music on his albums, and the problem was that Eminem was not a skilled composer either. Worse: his choice of producers yielded some of the most trivial beats in the business. Eminem kept indulging in his old fare (that few still cared for) and only accidentally stumbled onto interesting/disturbing material such as Won't Back Down and Going Through Changes.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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