Eminem Playlist - Favorite Eminem Tracks
Marshall's official website.
While I have several favorite musicians, Eminem currently tops the list and has for several years now. His vocal skills are unparalleled and his lyrics are witty, biting and frequently controversial.
While I have virtually every song of Eminem's loaded to my iPod, this is my personally chosen iTunes playlist of his best tracks. The full playlist contains 20 favorite Eminem songs, but really it's not even close to complete because it doesn't contain songs from his first failed album, Infinite, or any of the dozens of diss tracks and unofficial releases.
And I also love dozens of other tracks, but many of them are songs that I have to be in the mood to listen to. These ones here are in perennial rotation. Since even 20 songs is an awful lot for one web page, I've selected my top 5 Eminem picks. I think they make a great introduction to his work, especially for people who are more familiar with what the press say about Eminem, than they are with Eminem's work directly.
Also, note, Eminem's real name is Marshall Mathers. He almost always refers to himself as Marshall rather than "Eminem", so I tend to do so as well when I'm writing up track reviews :)
My Top Six Picks for Eminem's best songs
'Till I Collapse
This song bangs so hard. If I need a pick-me-up, I listen to 'Till I Collapse. If someone makes me made, I listen to it. If I want to get my adrenaline pumping, it is my go to song!
When I'm Gone
This is one of the best tracks Marshall has ever written. It's the most honest thing he has ever written and as a result it is emotionally stirring and almost uncomfortably revealing.
Runnin (Dying to Live)
Nope, Marshall doesn't even rap on this track, but his hand is evident all over it -- from the selection of the sample to the gorgeous strings and a sentiment which he comes back to again and again in his music regarding the dangers of escalating rap battles until they destroy real people's lives.
This is Marshall's 9/11 ptsd song. This is my 9/11 ptsd song. It's the best and most complex track on The Eminem Show and it took me many months to appreciate it. What I find interesting is that Eminem said at the time he would not write a track about 9/11 and yet, many of the tracks he's written since then are clearly informed by the events of September 11th. There are echoes of it all over his music since then, including When I'm Gone.
Lose Yourself is a great track, but I think Rabbit Run is even better and how awesome is it that Em wrote a song about Writer's Block? We can all relate. I love everything about this track, particularly the pacing and the sound effects (which like the leaves in Kim are probably coming straight from Em's hands and not from some kind of digital sound effects board), but I bet we'll never hear him perform it live unless he was planning to allow it to kill him from oxygen deprivation.
The best song on the Marshall Mathers LP. I'm sure some would argue that The Way I Am is better, but I'm going to stick with this one because it's much more unique and a far better example of his vocal skills and how much his emotional state informs the way his voice actually sounds on any given track. There's a moment on this track when I can feel my own throat closing up in sympathy to the distress in his voice.
This song is one of the reasons The Eminem Show never left the CD player in my car for nearly six months.
When I'm Gone
One of the more powerful features of Eminem's music is that most of them follow a narrative structure and his lyrics provide strong visuals that are almost cinematic in quality -- so much so that I find the music videos often fail to live up to the movie in my own head. His music doesn't need music videos because the visual aspect of is already so strong. That said, here are a couple I like:
Firstly, When I'm Gone, the 3rd and best of a series of tracks written for his daughter, Hailie;
Secondly, the video for Runnin' (Dying to Live). This song was produced and arranged by Marshall from recorded rap verses entrusted to him by Tupac Shakur's mother. All of the strings and the sample of Dying to Live by Edgar Winters that is used as the chorus are Eminem additions to the material.
Runnin' (Dying to Live)
The Eminem biography by Rolling Stone reporter, Anthony Bozza is, in my opinion, the best book written about Eminem and it's an excellent read.
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