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Eminem / Bruce Springsteen - The Eminem Show / The Rising
(Interscope)/(Columbia)

Eminemís schtick, itís about as attractive as Phil Collinsí chant of "Hah heh heh, uhh" after the chorus in Genesisí "Mama." And Bruce, well, heís back leading the best live band in the history of arena rock, but heís just not writing enough great songs these days to sustain a great album, let alone a great 75-minute album. There really are some sharp beats on the Em album, and the instant when "Drips" ends and the lead single "Without Me" kicks in is one of the most exciting moments on any album this year. "The Fuse" and "Lonesome Day" are solid, rugged, durable additions to the bard of Freeholdís canon.

But both of these guys could learn a lot by going to school on each other. Marshall needs to generalize (not stereotype) more in his lyrics, and el Bosso would do well to incorporate a few more names and details into most of the bland tales heís spinning nowadays. As two of the biggest sellers of the summer, these two records donít sum up much about the "White America" E claims to speak for, other than its fractured nature, and the painfully obvious fact that its masses feel adrift in the most nihilistic year to come along in decades. Thereís no future, Englandís dreaming, and the United States is stuck with this crap.

YEAH YEAH YEAH, 2002