Time was when a new Eminem single would generate a global media scrum, with every mag/website/TV station falling over each other to bag the exclusive. ‘We Made You’, however, seems to have been greeted with a collective shrug.
Perhaps that’s because the song, and the video, generate such a powerful feeling of déjà-vu. All the targets feel out-of-date – Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse. It’s as if the lyrics were written with search engines in mind. A passing reference to Sarah Palin is the only evidence that Marshall Mathers has switched on a TV since 2006.
Plus, post Nickelback, using the term “rock star” to skewer celebrity pomposity/self-delusion feels horribly stale. Elsewhere, Eminem clichés abound. There’s the reference to prescription pills (Zantac, in this case); the jabbering, Eric Cartman-esque vocals, with Shady spewing grossout double entendres straight out of ‘American Pie’ (“I’m beginning to sprout an alfalfa”).
Then there’s the video, which borrows visual themes from ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’. Whoa, cutting-edge.
Eminem’s popularity arose from his unerring ability to catch the zeitgeist (in ‘My Name Is’ he namechecked The Spice Girls, in ‘The Real Slim Shady’ it was Fred Durst and Viagra). But ‘We Made You’ suggests he’s not only stopped finding absurdity in the world around him, he’s actually bored of being himself.