Headlights – Eminem feat. Nate Ruess

The other day my friend Jordan, AKA “Ginge” asked me if I loved that Nate Ruess collaborated on a song on Emimen’s new album.  I responded yes and no; that it was complicated. After listening to it again I decided to expand on my thoughts. I obviously love Nate Ruess and I appreciate Eminem’s talent (especially with his song Slim Shady because it’s just amazing), but  I feel there are some things I can not ignore about him. Eminem has been very derogatory towards women in some of his older songs and he is involved in a recent argument where he claims he is not homophobic despite using “gay slurs” in his songs. However, it’s about the music…or is it? I’ve never been able to decide if it should be only about the music or if it’s fair to let the actions and views of the artist affect how you feel about their music. If I were to ignore my personal opinions about Eminem and just look at the song itself, I still have some issues with it.

Nate’s part of the song is an unreleased fun. song called “Jumping the Shark” that was changed slightly to fit “Headlights”. The song is beautiful in its own way but it would have been far more beautiful and more relateable if it were released on its own, not as a collaboration part in Eminem’s song.  That has always been something I’ve loved about fun. songs – they are easily applied to your own experiences (see fun. talk about their use of connective pronouns here). The song is a statement about Eminem’s rocky relationship with his mom,  which makes it difficult for everybody to relate to on a personal level. Another aspect of the song that bothers me is the over processing and pop quality of Nate’s part of the song. Nate’s part of the song takes on a pop identity that fun. songs generally don’t have, keeping them on the Alternative spectrum. Nate’s voice sounds slightly overlayed or autotuned on this track, which I find to be annoying. I support autotuning as an artistic statement, but the autotuning on Nate’s voice was used to further him as a pop symbol to make this song popular for radio play rather than artistically. However, it is a testament to how far fun. has come that Nate was asked to collaborate on an Eminem song – which in the musical world is an honor. Overall, I have mixed feelings. I still bought the song. I still think it’s good. But I believe the separation of the original song and the Eminem song would have made both better.

Check out the original fun. song “Jumping the Shark” here

And “Headlights” here

– Aly


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