I've been thinking for a while, trying to pin down what I like and loathe about Eminem's writing.
I think I finally got it.
I like the fictional and hypothetical situations he writes -- tracks like "Guilty Conscience" and last year's two-parter "Love the Way You Lie." But, to me, the songs where Em's rapping about his own fame and life always seem whiny and self-important.
I guess it boils down to this: Em's anguish comes out better as fiction instead of in memoir form.
Which is why the subjective single "I Need A Doctor" doesn't really move me. The track sounds like a B-side out of last year's Recovery, due to the same producer coming on board.
Speaking of "Love the Way You Lie," songwriter Skylar Grey shows up in this track with another evocative chorus. Between these tracks and last month's Lupe Fiasco single "Words I Never Said," Skylar is on fire.
Em isn't. Here, he runs through the woods with a flashlight, looking for fuel after he threw it all in for Recovery. The guy even says as much in the track: "I don't even know if I was awake or asleep when I wrote this."
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Dr. Dre, our subject, appears at the tail end of the track -- but he seems kinda snappy and bitter. In fact, he hasn't been this defensive since "Forgot About Dre."
Seems like Dre's got something to say, But when he moves his mouth, what comes out sounds like Cartman's angry depart, "Screw yew gaz, ahm goin' home."
Em might lament that Dre doesn't remember who he is. I think Dre's still got it, as we saw in last year's single "Kush." Not only was it cool, but "Kush" gave Snoop something else to do instead of appearing in Candyland, in daytime soaps and on Martha Stewart.
Here's hoping Dre's long-awaited Detox has more tracks like "Kush" and less griping like this one. Either way, though, "I Need A Doctor" will likely stick around. We might hear the chorus appear in promos for medical dramas -- maybe even Doctor Who, if doctors worth being reincarnated is our full aim.