Stan (song)

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MarshallMathersLP.jpg
Stan is the third track on the Eminem album The Marshall Mathers LP (2000).

"Stan" was the third single (after "The Real Slim Shady" and "The Way I Am") released from The Marshall Mathers LP, the second LP from rapper Eminem. The song samples "Thank You" by Dido. It is a haunting story of a fan who writes to Eminem but doesn't receive a swift reply. Unhinged already, the fan (Stan) drives his car off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk. The first three verses are delivered by Stan, with the third actually being spoken in the car itself as he is about to drive off a bridge. The fourth verse is Eminem responding too late to Stan, only realizing at the last second that he has heard about Stan's death as he was writing to him.

The chorus is sung by British singer Dido. It is a haunting melody, and ominous and threatening when placed alongside the booming, deep bass beats and the sound of rain and thunder and lightning.

In the first verse, Stan writes to Eminem for the third time. He is still optimistic that his hero will write back. He explains the level of his devotion ("I got a room full of your posters and your pictures man"). He optimistically believes that Eminem "must not have gotten" his previous two letters. Stan also reveals that his girlfriend is pregnant, and that he is going to name his daughter after Eminem's, and sympathizes with the suicide of a family member ("I read about your Uncle Ronnie too I'm sorry/I had a friend kill himself over some bitch who didn't want him"). In spite of the optimism of Stan, the menacing beats, intermittent thunder and rainfall, background music keeps the mood dark and ominous.

In the second verse, Stan is angry, though not extremely so. He begins somewhat optimistically but begins to lose his temper by the second line ("I ain't mad - I just think it's FUCKED UP you don't answer fans"). The thunder in the background has grown steadily more constant and louder, particularly at some of the more chilling lines in the song, lines that illustrate the depths of Stan's fanaticism, such as: "I even got a tattoo with your name across my chest" and "PS: We should be together too" as well as his general lack of mental health: "Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds/It's like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me" (see self-mutilation). Stan mentions his little brother, Matthew, who is an even bigger fan than Stan himself. This could be interpreted as an example of Psychological projection on Stan's part, placing his own feelings and emotions on someone else. Stan is bitter because Eminem had refused to give Matthew an autograph at a concert, after waiting in the "blistering cold" for four hours. Stan explains why he identifies with Eminem ("I never knew my father neither/He used to always cheat on my mom and beat her").

The third verse is Stan rapping into a tape recorder in the car he is about to drive off a bridge. His pregnant girlfriend can be heard screaming in the trunk, and the rain and thunder are loud and insistent. Stan is irate, addressing Eminem as "Dear Mister-I'm-Too-Good-To-Call-Or-Write-My-Fans". He explains his predicament: "I'm in the car right now, I'm doing 90 on the freeway/Hey Slim, I drank a fifth of vodka, you dare me to drive?" (the second line refers to a song on the previous Eminem album, The Slim Shady LP). This is followed by a reference to a Phil Collins song, "In the Air Tonight". Specifically, Stan refers to an urban legend that the song is about a true experience of Collins, that he was aware of a man who killed another person by drowning and saw that man in the front row at a concert. (Collins claims that this is not true and nothing of the sort ever happened.) Stan vents, revealing the depths of his anger: "I hope you can't sleep and you dream about it/And when you dream I hope you can't sleep and you SCREAM about it/I hope your conscience EATS AT YOU and you can't BREATHE without me". At the end, Stan realizes he will be unable to send the tape to Eminem.

The fourth verse is Eminem's belated reply to Stan. He begins casually "Dear Stan, I meant to write you sooner but I just been busy." He also sends a Starter cap with his autograph for Matthew. He also reveals something of his serious and sober side with his advice for Stan: "You got some issues Stan, I think you need some counseling" and "I really think you and your girlfriend need each other/or maybe you just need to treat her better". He apologizes for missing Stan at the concert mentioned in the second verse, and also chastises Stan for suggesting an apparently homosexual relationship (later related to in the Pet Shop Boys song "The Night I Fell in Love"). The song ends with Eminem's realization of what has happened ("... in the car they found a tape, but they didn't say who it was to/Come to think about it, his name.. it was you"), and then a sudden clash of thunder.

Legacy of the song

The song was released in the United Kingdom over the Christmas period, however it was prevented from getting to the Christmas No.1 spot by children's cartoon character Bob the Builder. British DJ Chris Moyles performed a parody of the song entitled "Stanta", featuring Moyles taking the part of Stan writing a similar series of letters to Santa Claus with similar results. The parody was never commercially released. Rapper Canibus released a response track to this song entitled "U Didn't Care," in which Canibus, as Stan, accused Eminem of not caring about him at all.

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