Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Eminem: The Slim Shady LP [Aftermath/Interscope, 1999]
Anybody who believes kids are naive enough to take this record literally is right to fear them, because that's the kind of adult teenagers hate. Daring moralizers to go on the attack while explicitly--but not (fuck you, dickwad) unambiguously--declaring itself a satiric, cautionary fiction, this cause célèbre runs short of ideas only toward the end, when Dre's whiteboy turns provocation into the dull sensationalism fools think is his whole story. Over an hour his cadence gets wearing, too. But he flat-out loves to rhyme--"seizure"/"T-shirt," "eyeballs"/"Lysol"/"my fault," "BM"/"GM"/"be him"/"Tylenol PM"/"coliseum," "Mike D"/"might be"--and you have to love the way he slips in sotto voce asides from innocent bystanders. Sticking nine-inch nails through his eyelids, flattening a black bully with a four-inch broom, reminding his conscience/producer about Dee Barnes, watching helplessly as an abused Valley Girl OD's on his shrooms, cajoling his baby daughter Hailey into helping him get rid of her mom's body, he shows more comic genius than any pop musician since--Loudon Wainwright III? A-