Motor Suburb Madhouse

illustration: Shawn Barber

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Eminem
The Marshall Mathers LP
Aftermath/Interscope
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Kid Rock
The History of Rock
Lava/Atlantic
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Part of his shtick, of course, is to exaggerate his dumbness, to pretend "my only words of wisdom are Suck My Dick." "You can look for answers, but that ain't fun": It's not a problem you can stop, as Axl would say, it's rock and roll. It's not something to fix. "Crucified by the critics every day," Kid kvetches, "'cause I really don't have that much to say." Yet it's obviously not far-fetched to argue that his and Eminem's embrace of "white trash" (starting with the pejorative itself) has much to say about class—not for nothing did Kid cover Creedence Clearwater Revival's anti-entitlement anthem "Fortunate Son" at Woodstock last summer, almost a year before Sleater-Kinney's rendition of the same classic led to claims in the Times of their reinventing punk rock. If Kid and Eminem are reinventing anything, it's probably just the idea that, as much as (say) Wu-Tang Clan fans, white kids who hate school need something empowering to call their own, and to blast out car windows while driving through menacing neighborhoods like their parents blasted snakeskin cowboy Ted Nugent and sick motherfucker Alice Cooper back in Dazed and Confused daze. Which is important,y'know? Ain't it funny how the night moves, when you just don't seem to have as much to lose?

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