“Without Me”, Eminem

He looks just like Buddy Holly…not!

I tried to not like Eminem.  He was Vanilla Ice, ten years later.  Wasn’t he?  Just a trashy white boy trying to be a rapper.  Why does anybody care about him?


Well, he got me.  I kind of liked “My Name Is.”  It was catchy, but I still thought Eminem was annoying as fuck.  The video was funny.  But I did not listen to Eminem’s music.  When “Without Me” was released in 2002, I was 29 and bartending at a shitty little bar near my parents’ house, where I still lived.  I had gotten fired from my coffee shop job a few months earlier, and was still trying to get over the guy I had worked with there the year before.  I was going out a lot and drinking and being scandalous.  I think the hilarious comic book video for the song really made me like it.    


“Without Me” reminds me of Weezer.  I bought the CD single (well, maybe it’s technically an EP because it has three versions of this song and two other songs, but whatever) and recorded it onto a cassette (I did not have a CD player in my car) about thirty times so I could keep listening to it without hitting rewind.  Maybe the song reminded me of the coffee shop, how it was not the same without me there.  I fucking hated that place, but I was really good at my job and I knew it would not be run as well now that I was gone.  For whatever reason, I really connected to that song. 


Weezer.  I had never really paid attention to them until one of the kids at the coffee shop turned me on to them.  He was the cutest thing ever!  He was a tall, lithe, blonde boy who worked at Burger King in the mall food court.  All the other kids there were Ozzfest freaks, but this boy was so not.  I knew he and I could be great friends, and when we hired him away from BK I was too excited.


I knew he was gay, but he did not.  From the start I made it clear that all of my friends were gay; I just wanted him to feel comfortable, whether he was out or not.  So we definitely got along and became friends, despite the fact that he was 16 or 17 and I was a dozen years older.  He had made me a tape with two of Weezer’s albums, and I really started to like them.  He knew that my main love in life was Foo, but I was open to listening to other stuff.  So in the summer of 2002, we piled into my little red Cavalier with another girl from the coffee shop and drove out to Blossom Music Center to see Weezer.  We saw them twice, once with Tenacious D, and this time was supposed to be with The Strokes, but Julian Casablancas was sick or something so they cancelled. 


Anyway, Weezer played the songs I knew and a bunch that I had never heard, but I still really dug the show.  I was definitely a fan.  Blossom is a great place to see a concert.  We had pavilion seats, thank God, because when you sit on the lawn (like most people have to) there are far too many bugs all up in your business, plus far too much weed being passed around.  Leaving Blossom after a show is a nightmare.  It’s a huge concert venue—the Cleveland Orchestra plays there—in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  There is no way to really make street traffic in and out of there any easier.  And there is no way to control the flow of traffic in the parking lot, either.


Enter Slim Shady.  We sat in, on, and around my car for over an hour before we were even close to leaving the parking lot.  I was blasting my “Without Me” tape the whole time.  All those nerdy Weezer fans were confused and probably a little scared.  My friends were laughing the whole time. 


Two trailer park girls go ‘round the outside

‘Round the outside

‘Round the outside


Two trailer park girls go ‘round the outside

‘Round the outside

‘Round the outside


Over.  And over.  And over.  It was awesome.  When we did get to move a few inches toward the exit and someone tried cutting me off, I turned up the music to intimidate.


So the FCC won’t let me be
Or let me be me, so let me see
They try to shut me down on MTV
But it feels so empty, without me

So, come on and dip, bum on your lips
Fuck that, cum on your lips, and some on your tits
And get ready, ’cause this shit’s about to get heavy
I just settled all my lawsuits, fuck you Debbie!


Whenever I sing that last line and flip off Eminem’s mother Debbie I think of how childish the whole song is.  But that’s why it was popular, and that’s why Eminem was a star.  He said whatever the fuck he wanted to say.  He insulted everyone.  He just didn’t give a shit.  I think he was a hero for those who wished they could be more open about how they felt.  Good or bad, that is appealing. 


I have listened to “Without Me” about a dozen times while writing this.  And I still fucking love it.  Eminem is more mellow these days.  And so am I.  We are the same age.  We gave up partying and scandal in the past few years.  We still have shit to say and to be angry about.  But when you grow up, you realize that there is just some shit you have to let go of.  Most shit ain’t that serious.  But things just would not have been the same in the early 2000s without Em.  And they definitely would have been boring without me! 

One thought on ““Without Me”, Eminem

  1. Pingback: “Lose Yourself”, Eminem | What I Like Is Sounds

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