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Eminem
ENCORE
(Aftermath/Interscope)

In the latest Rolling Stone, Eminem says he hopes his galvanizing anti-Bush single "Mosh" wasnít "too little, too late." Well, it was, and this puke-and-shit-stained album makes it even less likely that sympathizers who read Rolling Stone or the Phoenix will reach out for it anyway. Encore does have several moments more consistently remarkable than "Mosh" ó the rap-history reminiscence "Yellow Brick Road," the address-to-his-daughter "Mockingbird," the self-knowing anti-anthem "Like Toy Soldiers." But the critics, hipsters, and assorted other cosmopolites whoíve accepted Emís brilliance over the course of three good-to-great albums and the best-ever Hollywood autobiopic will find the terminal pettiness of his star syndrome, the grossness of his potty humor (with sound effects), and the sheer predictability of his beats depressingly inconsequential.

Thing is, I suspect that this nonstop suicide isnít for us bluebloods; itís for all those who bleed red in the streets every day, and who therefore might normally side with the Thug-in-Chief whom Em loathes as much as I do. This pedestrian album, in which even Eminemís inexhaustible flow sometimes fails him, might be an attempt to prove he shares their "values." If the strategy doesnít work for this master of disguises, what chance does it stand for the lowly Democrats?

BY FRANKLIN SOULTS


Issue Date: November 26 - December 2, 2004
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