October 27, 2004


Our October Surprise?

Eminem, of all people, has pre-released a scathing anti-Bush song called "Mosh." You can hear it here. Sample rap: "Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us/ Mosh pits outside the oval office/ Someone's trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying/ We're responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered ... Let the President answer on high anarchy/ Strap him with AK-47, let him go/ Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way ... Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes/ They've been swiped, washed out and wiped ... If they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president."

Here's Salon's review:
...it's a brutal, unflinching obliteration of President Bush and his Iraq war. It could also turn out to be the most important protest song written this year -- and I've listened to a lot of them this election season. However impressive the lineup of the Vote for Change concerts, with artists like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and REM, at this point Eminem sells more records and reaches more ears than any of them. And while I have no facts on this, I'd suspect that Eminem has a larger Republican audience than any other artist who has taken such a strong stand against Bush, save maybe the Dixie Chicks.

It also helps that "Mosh" is so articulate, persuasive and powerful in its criticisms of Bush -- although I wouldn't expect any less from one of the greatest storytellers in popular music. "Mosh" moves at a slower tempo than most of Eminem's songs, which was not necessarily a great decision musically -- he's more thrilling in quicksilver mode, spitting out rhymes faster than most of us can think -- but it ensures that every damning word is heard, and heard clearly. This is not a particularly pleasant song to listen to: There's nothing catchy about it, and the beat is a clanging, leaden monstrosity made for marching, not dancing. But Eminem is clearly not out to entertain here, and this song, with its ominous monotony, allows him to do what he does best: pure, seething anger.

I felt the same way about the music not being that catchy until I watched the video: Wow...

More: In the new Rolling Stone, Mr. Shady has this to say:
President Bush is "like a dog chasing its tail," the Hollywood-bound Eminem tells the magazine, set to street during the first week of November.

RS: You get deep into your feelings about President Bush and Iraq on “Mosh.” Do you think the Iraq War was a mistake?

E: He’s been painted to be this hero and he’s got our troops over there dying for no reason. I haven’t heard an explanation yet that I can understand. Explain to us why we have troops over there dying.

RS: There is no good answer.

E: I think he started a mess. America is the best country there is, the best country to live in. But he’s f**kin’ that up and could run our country into the ground. He jumped the gun, and he f**ked up so bad he doesn’t know what to do right now. He’s in a tailspin, running around like a dog chasing its tail. And we got young people over there dyin’, kids in their teens, early twenties that should have futures ahead of them. And for what? It seems like a Vietnam 2. Bin Laden attacked us and we attacked Saddam. We ain’t heard from Saddam for ten years, but we go attack Saddam. Explain why that is. Give us some answers.

RS: Are you voting?

E: This is the first year I’ve registered to vote. And I’m gonna vote. Bush is definitely not my homie, but I’m still undecided. Kerry has been known to say some things that’s caught my attention, made a few statements I’ve liked, but I don’t know. Whatever my decision is, I would like to see Bush out of office. I don’t wanna see my little brother get drafted. He just turned eighteen. I don’t want to see him lose his life. People think their votes don’t count, but people need to get out and vote. Every motherf**kin’ vote counts.

So who the hell is he going to vote for? Lyndon LaRouche?

I've always been on the fence about Eminem but I've never been able to deny the fact that he truly has verbal skills (I won't embarrass myself and spell "skills" with a "z"). I'm definitely looking forward to his performance this Saturday on SNL. Wonder if he'll actually sing?* (I know, I know: He doesn't sing, he raps. I just needed a way to seque to the "gifted and talented" Ashlee Simpson**). If you live under a rock, watch the clip so you'll know what the following open letter to Lorne Michaels is all about...

Dear Lorne:

Believe it or not, I've been watching SNL since the very first show on October 11, 1975. Over the years, I've seen your show die a thousand deaths only to rise back up, if not exactly like a Phoenix from the ashes, at least like a certain Black Knight with a flesh wound.

While the comedy has not always been great, the show has at least had the good taste to book some amazing musical guests. A few come to mind: Neil Young, The Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Prince, U2. What do all of those acts have in common? Yes, you guessed it Lorne: They are all actual musicians who actually play instruments and sing with their own voices.

So, now that the world has all witnessed the debacle that we shall call Ashlee "I don't lip synch. My God, I'm very anti-that" Simpson, I believe you should institute a strict policy for your "Live" show: "If you can't sing, if you can't play, you don't perform on myyyyyy shoooow."

Thank you Lorne.

*Update (10/31/04): Eminem's vocals on SNL last night appeared to be suspiciously "multi-tracked"; it didn't feel very live to me. Ironic since the show took the effort to make, not one, but two potshots at Simpson.

**I really don't mean to pick on young Ashlee. I'm sure she's a nice girl and all. I actually blame her father for exploiting her so blatantly and foisting her lack of talent on the general public.

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