A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Eminem is one angry guy, and he won't let us forget it on ENCORE. Using words and a level of intensity that are calculated to shock, he somehow also includes his audience in the raucous fun -- and occasionally even delivers a surprisingly valid point or two, albeit with a sledgehammer. On "Mosh," Eminem delivers a searing pre-election, anti-Bush, rock-the-vote call to arms; the next track follows the visceral and all-too-realistic sound effects and sentiments of "Puke." On "Ass Like That," the singer details the reactions of a certain part of his anatomy, but somehow it comes across as honest and funny because Eminem is not afraid to reveal his own very real dreams, demons, and participation in the process. "Mockingbird" is the sweetest and saddest song: Daddy Eminem tells his hurting daughter why sometimes, no matter how hard they try, parents can't always work things out and stay together.
Is it any good?
For better or worse, ENCORE offers few musical surprises; Dr. Dre's production sensibilities are predictable and a bit bland. The lyrics veer from wildly brilliant to poignant to utterly stupid. Eminem's perpetual adolescent act is getting old though, far less appropriate for an incredibly overpaid, multi-award-winning young man than it was for a scrappy, hungry teenager. As Eminem lurches clumsily toward adulthood, he's sharing the process with a revelatory honesty that for some families will provide balance for a multitude of indiscretions, not to mention a lot of uncomfortable language.