Eminem’s resilient “Not Afraid” — the first single from “Recovery,” June 22 — has a redemptive, chin-up get-it-done vibe that is, in a way, a notch in the W column for Marshall Mathers.
“Won’t Back Down” featuring searing pop singer Pink, on the other hand, is one for Slim Shady.
With a nasty, grinding undercurrent of live drums and guitars on the threes, and an outspoken (literal) organ further fouling up the waters, Eminem boasts the length of his own (sexual) organ and makes meta-reference to his own “punchlines.” Of which, in this blistering, raucous track, there are many.
Pricks, d*cks and douchebags: as if the weaker links on the hip-hop food chain lacked a proper stable of petnames before, Shady’s vivaciously adolescent vocabulary is resurrected for their sake, with some headturning weaknesses (are we really still attacking “white trash”?), some LOL shrugs (“donkeys with Parkinsons”) and also with some exquisite self-empowerment. “I’m ready for combat man,” and similar, believable declarations, from which Kanye West could’ve benefited after expelling his recent litany of injuries.
But… “sh*tstain on the underwear of life?” Pot-shots at Michael J. Fox? Really, Em?
Pink’s chorus is nasty, a refreshing voice that opts not for the cooing or clubbing sexpot imaging, but adapts perfectly to the sharp grrr of Em’s attitude. Producer DJ Khalil saw this li’l light of Slim’s and he let it burn, instead of lightening it up. He should have a longer conversation with The Dead Weather.
Not that it”s ever been easy-going before, but the radio edits for this second single will be unusually cruel and unusual punishment on the ears, with entendres and dirty words a’plenty. See you on the airwaves. The tracklist for “Recovery” was announced this week, with other confirmed guests including Rihanna and Lil Wayne.