20 December 2002

2. eminem, "lose yourself"
i didn't want to put "lose yourself" this high but eminem was implacable; that he's not in the top spot is only because he was shouted down by the artist at number one. "lose yourself" is inexorable and obstreperous; people who didn't like eminem up to this point -- my nephews, for two -- are caught up in it, and that's in no small part due to the use of rock dynamics. when i first heard it, i mistakenly lumped it in with "cleanin' out my closet" and it wasn't until i saw 8 mile that it finally set in and made sense. one of eminem's rare gifts is that he brings real-life people into his rhymes -- his mother, his ex-wife, his daughter -- and makes them interesting if only be association. (even benzino.) with "lose yourself," he draws the audience in, regardless of age or race, and refuses to let them go. greil marcus has called it a career-defining hit. it's amazing that, with all of the huge, epochal hits eminem has behind him, marcus could make such a claim; and it seems ridiculous that he could compare it to "like a rolling stone" or "gimme shelter." but most amazing of all though is that he's right on all accounts.

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