Eminem feat. Rihanna – The Monster

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.

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One Response to Eminem feat. Rihanna – The Monster

  1. musicosity1 says:

    Once more to the well. Eminem goes nostalgic, watching music videos of his old triumphs, naming his new album after his old album, reteaming with an old duet partner. The lyrics assess his career and the way the Fame Monster warps people. Lady Gaga had already explored this same metaphor with the titles of her twin works The Fame (2008)/The Fame Monster (2009), but she didn’t actually explore those topics in the songs contained therein.

    Along the way, Eminem squeezes in reference to mentally unstable 80s rapper Kool Keith, to reality TV psychiatric counselor Jeff VanVonderen, to the way (American) football star Russell Wilson placed a disappointing 75th in the professional football draft despite winning many accolades in his college football career. All of these fit in with the general themes of insecurity and anxiety, that despite being one of the highest selling and award-winningest musicians of the last 100 years, he does not deserve to be remembered fondly. His worries, and the eloquence with which he expresses them, just go to underline why he deserves attention more than, say, somebody who records a whole album of clubbing songs.

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