26
Sep 02

EMINEM — ‘Lose Yourself’

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 494 views

‘You can do anything you set your mind to, man’: positivity, from the man who brought you ‘Kim’? As curious a concept as emotional maturity from the man who bought you ‘Drips’, but this is Eminem in filmland and normal service doesn’t apply. Of course Shady’s negativity and immaturity are part of what makes Em as infuriating, compelling, tiresome and exciting as he all-at-once is, so ‘Lose Yourself’s more wholesome stylings are mildly disappointing as well as mildly heartwarming.

All he’s doing, though, is playing by genre rules. The poor-kid-redeemed-through-music trope is one Hollywood has long welcomed with open wallet, and it’s attractive to musicians too for the opportunity it gives them to remythologise themselves. Audiences are a different matter, though Eminem’s picked a better career point for his autobiopic than Mariah Carey did — so there’s nothing to say 8 Mile won’t be a Flashdance sized hit for grittier times. On ‘Lose Yourself’ Eminem swaps a steel-and-stone world for the trailer park, and he’s typically upfront about the money-motive for losing himself in the music. But he’s believable enough — the almost-him kid protagonist starts off with vomit dried on his jumper from nerves and a rap half-forgotten. The trailer park is par for the rags-to-riches course, blah blah, but the vomit sticks with you.

The Flashdance connection got mostly set up in my mind by the music, though — ‘Lose Yourself’ continues The Eminem Show‘s fascination with the sound and dynamics of rock music, building an ultra-simple beat around a tightly coiled guitar riff which hums with the same hi-gloss tension as ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. It’s effective and it doesn’t sound like anyone else but it’s bombastic too, and the track constantly runs the risk of exhausting you (like its cousin, ‘Sing For The Moment’).

The music and the flow set up an expectation problem, too. Eminem’s such an efficient rapper now that he can build up the drama in a verse from almost nothing and the big chorus-release ends up a letdown, because he’s not very good at ‘serious’ choruses (eg ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’). He’s like one of those toy clockwork cars which you pull back and pull back and pull back until the revs are going mad and then you let it go and it hits a table-leg and just stops. This almost ruined ‘Square Dance’ but it didn’t quite because the end-of-verse payoffs were so good. But there’s no intense serious ass-fucking in ‘Lose Yourself’, just a big head-of-steam build-up and then a chorus which says you’ve got to lose yourself in the music and take your chance man. It’s motivational, but in a business-lunch way not in a jump-out-your-seat way. Such, perhaps, is Hollywood.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required

Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page