“I hope your conscience eats at you and you can’t breathe without me”
Written by Eminem/Dido Armstrong
Produced by The 45 King/Eminem
Taken from the album The Marshall Mathers LP
Also released on Curtain Call: The Hits
UK #1, AUS #1, US #51
At end of 2009, it was widely agreed that Eminem was one of – if not the – most influential and successful artists of the past decade. ‘Lose Yourself’ may have been his biggest hit, but one of his songs emerged as one of the most important in that ten year period – ‘Stan’. The story of an obsessive fan, the first three verses feature Stan getting progressively angrier while the last verse saw Eminem trying to get back to him, before realising it’s too late.
Stan eventually takes his pregnant girlfriend and puts her in the trunk of his car, echoing Eminem’s early song ’97 Bonnie & Clyde’, and then while making a tape to send to his idol, he drives the car over a bridge. Even with all the shit that happens in Eminem songs – murder, drugs, abuse, everything – ‘Stan’ is still maybe the most disturbing. He was so huge at one point, and so important to a certain demographic, that ‘Stan’ came eerily close to being possible. It was always known that songs like ‘Kim’ were a fantasy, ‘Stan’ could have easily turned out true. All of this mixed in with Dido’s haunting sample from ‘Thankyou’, ‘Stan’ created a world of unease.
Although it never charted too high in the US, the song nevertheless became a cultural landmark, a symbol of celebrity culture in the 2000s, a symbol of Eminem’s dominance and hero status. The performance with Elton John at the Grammys became an iconic moment, and ‘Stan’ launched Dido to stardom. It would be Eminem’s first number one in Australia, beginning a run of eleven top ten singles that would last until 2005. In the UK, it was the fifth of fifteen straight top tens. Not only is it my favourite Eminem song, but my favourite hip-hop song of all time.