Editor's Note: Before you ask, we're reviewing The Eminem Show because Interscope Records sent us a copy, and we review everything we receive. And that's the only reason.
The Eminem Show finds Eminem contemplating the complicated facets of his own life, or more appropriately, "Who came first, Marshall Mathers or Slim Shady?". It certainly is an interesting quandary, and given his current somewhat amicable public persona, the lines of distinction have once again become blurred. There aren't really any straight answers on The Eminem Show, but in relation to past outings, Em's riddles regarding the subject are a bit less cryptic -- though they're still shielded by his wise-ass smirk and impossible-to-deny skills behind the mic, hinting that a conclusion on the matter could be reached sooner than later.
Musically, The Eminem Show is a thump-and-groove driven Cadillac ride down the shadowy streets of Motown (the town and the label). Opener "White America" is a virulent lyrical triptych set to bounding beats and hot-rod production, and first single "Without Me" comes equipped with enough dancefloor-ready beats and whiplash breaks to satisfy even Richard D. James himself. Elsewhere, the Aerosmith-sampling "Sing for the Moment" and the Dr. Dre-produced "Say What You Say" are two of the most impressive songs Eminem has unleashed in his short-but-controversial career. The album tries desperately to uncover the truth about the man behind the curtain, but in the end, The Eminem Show raises just as many questions as it answers.