Full disclosure: For the most part I listen to classic rock. That being said, I don’t limit myself to what I’ll listen to nor do I discriminate against a certain genre. I do recognize when there is obviously some real talent behind what I may be listening to at the time; in walks Eminem. I’ll admit, I never really followed or listened to Eminem. Sure, I heard him mentioned in the news from time to time over the years and did see 8 Mile, but never really listened to his music, I just simply heard his music (note the distinction) and summarily dismissed it. Well, that all changed last week. I’m not sure what exactly led me to listen to Eminem. I think I was browsing through You Tube and one of his songs came up in a recommended list, I believe it was “Not Afraid“; I have to say I was quite impressed. Other songs that I really listened too were “No Love“, “Space Bound“, “Stan“, “When I’m Gone“, “Love The Way You Lie“, “Like Toy Soldiers” and a lot of others; you can go to the Eminem You Tube channel to find them all (most of which are the censored version, which loses a lot of the meaning).
Now from what little I understand of Eminem (I won’t pretend to know anything about him just because I saw a handful of interviews, read some random article about him, or saw 8 Mile), he lived a hard life early on, (assuming) he generally keeps to himself and has a multitude of emotional barriers up most of the time to protect to himself. His cathartic outlet (contrary to what the aforementioned slanted articles may depict) are the words he puts on paper and has the courage to, to put it bluntly, speak his mind to the masses; some of it of a very personal nature. This is just my observation, but I think he gets (or did get) a lot of bad press (other than for the bullshit reasons from the narrow-minded talking heads) because people in general are jealous that they lack the mental fortitude to say what’s on their mind like he does (with no apologies), or, as it is for me, put words together the way he can. I also have the utmost respect for someone who is able to pull themselves up from their bootstraps so to speak and make themselves better (even when they get lost along the way, recognize it, but find their way back) instead of bitching and moaning and blaming this person or that event of his situation and doing nothing about it; he had a dream, and fought tooth and nail to get there and is not letting it go.
So while this may seem like some sort of man-crush, it’s not; I’m simply recognizing a true and natural talent when I see and listen to it and am now definitely a fan (but not like “Stan”).