First Hit #1: December 21, 2013
It’s the end of the year, time for Rihanna, though in a feature spot instead of a headline. Instead we have Eminem, and a bit of a retread. See, Love the Way You Lie was an example of a man making a raw and personal portrait of a damaged person in a damaged relationship. The Monster is an attempt to do the same thing, but it’s less successful. The Monster is more generalized insanity, Rihanna’s chorus is sillier, and it doesn’t quite reach beyond the platitudes. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was kind of the same problem of the song – Eminem has done all of this, better, earlier. The pop charts are built on doing variations on a formula – and hey, it worked here as well, because we’ve got another hit – but it’s disappointing when you hear an artist that is trying so hard to replicate past success without quite going to the same lengths to achieve it. The Monster is confessional Eminem by the numbers, which is good enough to reach the top of the charts, but it’s not nearly the best he can do.