EMINEM – “Kim” (MP3)
Eminem is conceivably the most commercially lucrative purveyor of the consciously, proudly ugly in pop music ever. This track could conceivably be to him what “Hippopotamomus” was to Nick Currie – the moment when even his defenders turn round and say “enough is enough”, when the NME turns into the Daily Mail. And this is on an album which will almost certainly displace Britney as US#1 after one week. These are extraordinary times.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more extreme track, at least in terms of its vocals – Em’s every word is a scream, a vicious, animalised cry, a bloodthirsty demand for his prey (the most telling moment is when he, literally, bites ), almost beyond any recognisable human speech. You know exactly, what the female screams in the background are. Nothing else has ever been such a convincing description of the experience of physical abuse, presented as a mock-opera with mournful classical sample, which strengthens the grotesquerie, presenting it as something important and meaningful, to be built up as a dramatic event for our entertainment. It is, quite literally, vile . It is capable of shocking the unshockable. Essentially I like it a lot, but I’ve never been more morally doubtful about anything I’ve liked. Beginning with the sound of a lullaby, the final sounds suggest nothing less than the destruction of a woman, her body left to rot in a countryside signified by outrageously out-of-place birdsong.

I don’t think I’ll play it for at least 48 more hours. I know I’ll return to it from time to time, aware that this is an important place for pop music to go and that censorship is evil, but also that visiting this particular place can make even the most confirmed liberal feel censorious.