Welcome to What’s the Buzz, 25YL’s feature where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. In our internet age, there is so much out there to think about watching, reading, listening to, etc., that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, filter out the noise, or find those diamonds in the rough. But have no fear! We’re here to help you do that thing I just described with three different metaphors. Each week a rotating cast of writers will offer their recommendations based on things they have discovered. They won’t always be new to the world, but they’ll be new to us, or we hope new to you. This week, Robert Chipman is listening to “Our House” from Eminem, Hal Kitchen recommends Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of Raquel Jaramillo Palacio’s Wonder (2017), and Rachel Stewart has been catching up on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Welcome to Eminem’s House
Robert: If you don’t recall the power Eminem had at the turn of the millennium, it was unparalleled. Between 1999 and 2002, Eminem released three solo albums with The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show, garnering worldwide attention. To go along with that, the 2002 release of the 8 Mile Soundtrack headlined by the single “Lose Yourself” and nabbing himself an Oscar capped off a truly remarkable time. With so much of an output, there is no doubt that Eminem created more content than was released. What I would like to focus on goes back to the production of The Marshall Mathers LP.
Flashing back to the more innocent time of 2000, Eminem and Limp Bizkit lead singer, Fred Durst, became acquaintances. Due to the short amount of time they stayed on good terms, I will not say they had a friendship, especially with how acrimonious they became towards each other. Before the hate-spewing and vitriol, two known, unreleased songs between the two leaked. Though no sources have confirmed what was to happen with the recordings, it appears a song titled “Turn Me Loose” was meant to be on Limp Bizkit’s Significant Other, while a song titled “Our House” was to appear on The Marshall Mathers LP. I want to talk about the latter.
Feeling right at home with other songs on the album like “Kim,” “Amityville,” and “Remember Me,” the dark and gritty production sets the mood for storytime, the Marshall Mathers way.
Eminem has always used his troubled childhood as fodder for spinning many of his tales. In “Our House,” Em gives a first-hand account of the traumatizing childhood he experienced with his mother. Beginning with a spoken-word, Eminem weaves a tale about a little boy in a suburban neighborhood trying to get through life.
The little boy in the story spends three verses struggling to get along with his mother. From his mother not appreciating rap music, violent fights that result in being kicked out of the house, and his mom using illness from food poisoning to fund her bingo habit. Eminem does not hold back with the household anger, and that rage translates to the yelling, high-pitched voice from his early years.
I know I mentioned Fred Durst, so where does he fit into this? Never known as a wordsmith, Durst handles the hook, but this is a good thing. Durst sings a dark and haunting version of Madness’s “Our House.” Though slower than the original version, Durst is able to convey the hell that this child is going through—providing a nice counter-balance to Eminem’s angry verses.
The one final thing I want to touch on is the beat. As this song has only ever leaked and never seen an actual release, the sound is rough and unfinished. Why I bring this up is that this works towards the song’s benefit. The rough and unfinished nature seems to coalesce with a rundown and unfinished house within the track. This residence is not in pristine condition—I imagine cigarette-stained wallpaper, dishes piling up, and fist-sized holes laid out across the walls. Was there ever a happy family in this house?
This family is a mess. The beat is a mess. The house is a mess. And what a haunting mess it is.