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Eminem|Curtain Call: The Hits

Curtain Call: The Hits

Eminem

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If Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits really is his final bow and not merely a clever denouement to his series of Eminem Show and Encore albums, it's a worthy way to retire. And even if he stages a comeback years from now, there's little question that the first five years of his career, spanning four albums plus a soundtrack, will be his popular and creative peak, meaning that the time is right for Curtain Call -- it has all the songs upon which his legend lies. Which isn't necessarily the same things as all the hits. There are a few odds and ends missing -- most notably one of his first hip-hop hits, "Just Don't Give a F***," plus 2003's "Superman" and 2005's "Ass Like That" -- but all the big songs are here: "Guilty Conscience," "My Name Is," "Stan," "The Real Slim Shady," "The Way I Am," "Cleanin' Out My Closet," "Lose Yourself," "Without Me" and "Just Lose It." They're not presented in chronological order, which by and large isn't a problem, since the sequencing here not only has a good, logical momentum, alternating between faster and slower tracks, but they're all part of a body of work that's one of the liveliest, most inventive in pop music in the 21st century. The only exception to the rule are the three new songs here, all finding Shady sounding somewhat thin. There's the closing "When I'm Gone," a sentimental chapter in the Eminem domestic psychodrama that bears the unmistakable suggestion that Em is going away for a while. While it's not up to the standard of "Mockingbird," it is more fully realized than the two other new cuts here, both sex songs that find Shady sounding as if he's drifting along in his own orbit. "Shake That" has an incongruous Nate Dogg crooning the chorus, while the wildly weird "Fack" finds Eminem spending the entire track fighting off an orgasm; it seems tired, a little too close to vulgar Weird Al territory, and it doesn't help that his Jenna Jameson reference seems a little old (everybody knows that the busty porno "It" girl of 2005 is Jesse Jane; after all, she even was in Entourage). Even if these three cuts suggest why Eminem is, if not retiring, at least taking a long break, that's fine: they're reasonably good and are bolstered by the rest of the songs here, which don't just capture him at his best, but retain their energy, humor, weirdness, and vitality even after they've long become overly familiar. And that means Curtain Call isn't just a good way to bow out, but it's a great greatest-hits album by any measure.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Curtain Call: The Hits

Eminem

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1
Intro/ Eminem/ Curtain Call (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:00:34

Eminem, MainArtist - Not Applicable, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2005 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

2
FACK (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:03:25

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Luis Resto, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Mixer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist, Bass (Vocal) - Mike Strange, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Tony Campana, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

3
The Way I Am (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:04:51

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Richard "Segal" Huredia, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Dre, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2000 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

4
My Name Is (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:04:29

Andre R. Young, ComposerLyricist - Eminem, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Richard "Segal" Huredia, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Labi Siffre, ComposerLyricist - Dr. Dre, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1999 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Stan (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:06:44

Dido, FeaturedArtist - Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Dido Armstrong, ComposerLyricist - P. Herman, ComposerLyricist - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, Co-Producer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - John Reis, ComposerLyricist - Richard "Segal" Huredia, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bruna Lombardi, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The 45 King, Producer - Peter Reichert, ComposerLyricist - Adam David Willard, ComposerLyricist - DJ Mark the 45 King, Producer - Andy Stamets, ComposerLyricist - Paul O'Beirne, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2000 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

6
Lose Yourself (Soundtrack Version) Explicit
00:05:26

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Luis Resto, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Bass, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Strange, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, Drum Programmer, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

7
Shake That (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:04:34

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Nathaniel Hale, ComposerLyricist - Luis Resto, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Mixer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist, Bass (Vocal) - Nate Dogg, FeaturedArtist - Mike Strange, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Obie Trice, ComposerLyricist - Tony Campana, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Antoine Rogers, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2005 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

8
Sing For The Moment (Album Version) Explicit
00:05:40

Marti Frederiksen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Bass, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Co-Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Strange, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, MainArtist - Aerosmith, Unknown, Other - Joe Perry, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - DJ Head, Drum Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Steven Victor Tallarico, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2002 Aftermath Records

9
Without Me (Album Version) Explicit
00:04:50

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Trevor Horn, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Bass, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Co-Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Strange, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, MainArtist - Anne Dudley, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bell, ComposerLyricist - Malcolm McLaren, ComposerLyricist - Dr. Dre, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Alex Reverberi, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - DJ Head, Producer, Additional Producer - Mauricio "Veto" Iragorri, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Urban Kris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 Aftermath Records

10
Like Toy Soldiers (Album Version) Explicit
00:04:55

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Luis Resto, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Mixer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Strange, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Tony Campana, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Martika, ComposerLyricist - Michael Jay Margules, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2004 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

11
The Real Slim Shady (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:04:44

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Mike Elizondo, ComposerLyricist - Andre R. Young, ComposerLyricist - Eminem, MainArtist - Richard "Segal" Huredia, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mel-Man, Producer - Dr. Dre, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coster, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2000 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

12
Mockingbird (Album Version) Explicit
00:04:11

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Luis Resto, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Strange, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Tony Campana, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2004 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

13
Guilty Conscience (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:03:20

Marshall Mathers, Producer - Andre R. Young, ComposerLyricist - Eminem, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Richard "Segal" Huredia, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Dre, Producer, Mixer, FeaturedArtist, StudioPersonnel - Richard Stein, ComposerLyricist - Mark Avery, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1999 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

14
Cleanin' Out My Closet (Album Version) Explicit
00:04:58

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Bass, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Strange, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, MainArtist - DJ Head, Drum Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Urban Kris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 Aftermath Records

15
Just Lose It (Album Version) Explicit
00:04:08

Mark Batson, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Mike Elizondo, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andre R. Young, ComposerLyricist - Mike Strange, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, MainArtist - Tony Campana, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Dre, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Christopher Pope, ComposerLyricist - Rouble Kapoor, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Michael Sroka, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Scott Hays, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mauricio "Veto" Iragorri, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jost, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Daniel Baughman, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2004 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

16
When I'm Gone (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:04:40

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Luis Resto, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve King, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Strange, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eminem, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Tony Campana, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2005 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

17
Stan (Live At 43rd Grammy Awards)
00:06:20

Marshall Mathers, ComposerLyricist - Dido Armstrong, ComposerLyricist - P. Herman, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, MainArtist - Eminem, MainArtist - John Reis, ComposerLyricist - Peter Reichert, ComposerLyricist - Adam David Willard, ComposerLyricist - Recording Academy, Producer - Andy Stamets, ComposerLyricist - Paul O'Beirne, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2001 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records

Album review

If Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits really is his final bow and not merely a clever denouement to his series of Eminem Show and Encore albums, it's a worthy way to retire. And even if he stages a comeback years from now, there's little question that the first five years of his career, spanning four albums plus a soundtrack, will be his popular and creative peak, meaning that the time is right for Curtain Call -- it has all the songs upon which his legend lies. Which isn't necessarily the same things as all the hits. There are a few odds and ends missing -- most notably one of his first hip-hop hits, "Just Don't Give a F***," plus 2003's "Superman" and 2005's "Ass Like That" -- but all the big songs are here: "Guilty Conscience," "My Name Is," "Stan," "The Real Slim Shady," "The Way I Am," "Cleanin' Out My Closet," "Lose Yourself," "Without Me" and "Just Lose It." They're not presented in chronological order, which by and large isn't a problem, since the sequencing here not only has a good, logical momentum, alternating between faster and slower tracks, but they're all part of a body of work that's one of the liveliest, most inventive in pop music in the 21st century. The only exception to the rule are the three new songs here, all finding Shady sounding somewhat thin. There's the closing "When I'm Gone," a sentimental chapter in the Eminem domestic psychodrama that bears the unmistakable suggestion that Em is going away for a while. While it's not up to the standard of "Mockingbird," it is more fully realized than the two other new cuts here, both sex songs that find Shady sounding as if he's drifting along in his own orbit. "Shake That" has an incongruous Nate Dogg crooning the chorus, while the wildly weird "Fack" finds Eminem spending the entire track fighting off an orgasm; it seems tired, a little too close to vulgar Weird Al territory, and it doesn't help that his Jenna Jameson reference seems a little old (everybody knows that the busty porno "It" girl of 2005 is Jesse Jane; after all, she even was in Entourage). Even if these three cuts suggest why Eminem is, if not retiring, at least taking a long break, that's fine: they're reasonably good and are bolstered by the rest of the songs here, which don't just capture him at his best, but retain their energy, humor, weirdness, and vitality even after they've long become overly familiar. And that means Curtain Call isn't just a good way to bow out, but it's a great greatest-hits album by any measure.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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