East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Decadal music notes

Eminem: If you've forgotten why he was the great white hope, listen to the first two albums again. The Marshall Mathers LP in particular is beyond classic, and was on track to hold back PE's claim to best hip hop album ever until two or three duff tracks in the teens. "Stan" showed he understood that his art had consequences as well as almost anyone; it's just that the consequences of his work were and are far less predictable than those of Renoir's. "The Real Slim Shady" is his cleverest lyric, ninety percent biting lines for the first two verses before claiming not that he is everyman, but everyman is him. "Marshall Mathers" destroys ICP; it's like Vader versus some random Saturday Night guy. I think the controversial "Kim" is as good Stanislavski as you'll get in rock. The next album, The Eminem Show, was a big step down, cameo from his daughter notwithstanding. Encore has its moments, particularly when he was embracing his outer whiteboy and sampling Martika. I put "Mosh" in my 2004 top ten, but on reflection it's clear if the song has anything to other besides "Fuck Bush", admittedly an enduring sentiment (Lily Allen is still making hay out of it). Five years later, only the murder-filled first half of Relapse is godawful; the addiction-fueled second half is merely disappointing.

Amerie: Rich Harrison go-goed up four spectacular bars of Ziggy Modeliste, then he and Amerie wrote an effective song around it that gave her a chance to use her sweet upper register. The result was "1 Thing", a song of the decade contender. The next best thing Amerie has done was "Gotta Work", an accomplished "1 Thing" rip-off.



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