Space Bound

We touch, I feel a rush, we clutch, it isn’t much
But it’s enough to make me wonder what’s in store for us
It’s lust, it’s torturous, you must be a sorcerous
Cause you just, did the impossible, gained my trust
Don’t play games it’ll be dangerous if you fuck me over
Cause if I get burnt, I’ma show ya what it’s like to hurt
Cause I’ve been treated like dirt befo’ ya
And love is “evol”, spell it backwards, I’ll show ya”

 

Space Bound by Eminem signifies a return of a tortured man that seems to be jaded by love.  The song starts off with a somewhat mellow guitar string playing as your hear Eminem voice come in over it.  However this is not the aggressive Eminem voice that fans of his are used to hearing. The sneer in his voice is not there. The anger seems to be nonexistent.  This is more of a somber tone as he slowly raps the words above. There seems to be pain and confusion in his voice. Where is the aggression? In the beginning of the record it seems to have been replaced by another emotion, pain.  As the song continues you hear the drums come in and in classic Eminem fashion he seems to be one with the beat landing specific words on the same part of the beat every time. Words such as “know” and “snow” and “so” land on the certain drum beat almost purposely at the same count every time in the beginning of the verse. 

Now I know you’re thinking why this song? Why did I decide to pick this Eminem song to show a significant movement in music?  I choose this song because of the use of metaphor and simile which seems to be a lost form in the hip hop culture.  I also choose this record to show how Eminem, who is arguably one of the best hip hop artists of this generation, took one of the biggest risk in actually choosing to compose a record of this nature. 

            The title “Space Bound” is used as a metaphor to describe his journey into a relationship with a woman.  The chorus goes “I’m a space bound rocket ship and your heart’s the moon and I’m aiming right at you”, which is sung by Steve McEwan who is known for his award winning works with country music artist such as Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw.  Throughout the song he tells you the classic love story beginning to end using different forms of word play and metaphor and simile.  Word play is also used early within this song.  As u can see from the lyrics above he sends out a warning to all those about love.  He states “Love is evil spell it backwards I’ll show ya”.  Now obviously love spelled backwards is not evil but “evol”.  He uses a play on words and sound to get his point across which is one of the most creative an artistic thing and artist can do.

The best use of metaphor that is used in this song comes at the end of the first verse.  Eminem raps;

“it’s exactly what I thought it would be like tryin’ to start over
I’ve got a hole in my heart from some kind of emotional roller-coasta’;
Somethin’ I won’t go on till you toy with my emotions, ho it’s over
It’s like an explosion every time I hold ya, wasn’t jokin’ when I told ya
You take my breath away, you’re a supernova”

He raps those words in such a way that you can hear every word perfectly and does not take a single breath between words.  He relates the feeling of his breath being taken away by rhyming these words with no break in between and a without a single breath being taken in between any of the words.  So not only is he telling us the she “takes his breath away” but he also displays it to us in a very unique way.

The song soon returns to classic Eminem form with the third and final verse;

 

“So after a year and 6 months, it’s no longer me that you want
But I love you so much it hurts, never mistreated you once
I poured my heart out to you, let down my guard, swear to God
I’ll blow my brains in your lap, lay here and die in your arms
Drop to my knees and I’m pleadin’, I’m tryin’ to stop you from leavin’
You won’t even listen, so fuck it, I’m tryin’ to stop you from breathin’
I put both hands on your throat, I sit on top of you, squeezin’
Til’ I snap your neck like a Popsicle stick, ain’t a possible reason
I can think of to let you walk up out this house and let you live
Tears stream down both of my cheeks, then I let you go and just give
And before I put that gun to my temple, I told you this”

 

This verse is followed by a bridge where Eminem sings “And I would’ve did anything for you to show you how much I adored you, but it’s over now it’s too late to save our love just promise me you’ll think of me every time you look up in the sky and see a star” and it is followed up by the chorus.  After the chorus the guitar stings play again and it fades out the same way it came in. almost as if the song came back full circle and he ends up back where he started.

Yes the song uses metaphor and simile and word play which is a very difficult thing to do in today’s world of music, but is the song itself a metaphor? Who is Eminem really rapping about? Is it a female or is it deeper than that. To me this is why this is a very important song in music culture. When you take a listen to the record take a very good listen to it. He stays away from words such as “he” and she”. He uses the word “you” in place of those words so it isn’t as if he is telling us a story as much as he is pleading his love to the listeners. When you throw your head phones on and listen to this song it becomes way more personal than if it is playing for an audience. The love he is displaying is one for his fans and he makes it personal by using the word “you”.  In that last verse is it a female partner that he is begging to stay or is it his fans that he is begging to stay loyal to him? He states “just promise me you’ll think of me every time you look up in the sky and see a star”. The journey that he is on is it to a woman’s soul or is he stating that he is still searching for ways to find his way into every single one of his fans heart so they can all have place in their hearts for him forever?

This song goes deeper than just the words he his rapping. You can hear it in his words, beats and the instruments that are playing. You can dissect this song to the core and there will always be more to it. The classic “love song” is just the top layer. There is a bigger picture when it comes to this record and this is what music, hip hop in particular has been missing.  Eminem has brought back the use of metaphor and simile and word play to help bring us not just an incredible song but album as well.  Music has gotten so monotonous these last couple of years and it is nice to see that an artist like Eminem does not subject himself to just go with the flow or whatever is popular. Though this song is not a single and not deemed to be one of his most popular, it is one of the most brilliant pieces of work that he or any other artist has developed in a while and for that you cannot offer the man anything other than respect. He still understands the true essence of rap and music in general.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ2bjStuwyY

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29 Responses to “Space Bound”

  1.   Amy Herzog Says:

    I really enjoyed this analysis, Gerald– you pulled apart Eminem’s lyrical construction in an intensely detailed way, with particular attention to his use of linguistic devices. My favorite part was your discussion of his breathing, or lack of breathing, coinciding with his lyrics. The implication here is that Eminem uses his controversial tendency for narratives of domestic violence in a metaphoric way– would love to hear what people think about this. Great attention to detail and meaning!

  2.   dbanegas100 Says:

    Hey Gerald,
    I really enjoyed reading your paper on Eminem’s Space Bound. It is amazing how many things producers can do with rap songs these days. What i found interesting was the song sample that he used. I listen to this song many times on the train and i never realized it was a country artist who sang the chorus. Eminem is my favorite rapper and artist of all time, and im he always seems to amaze his fans with his choice of samples.

  3.   nicole Says:

    I really liked your detailed description of Eminem’s delivery. Like you said, I definitely hear the pain in his voice and the background music compliments the tone of the song nicely. I’m glad you pointed out where the chrorus came from because I never would have known, or expected Em put a country song on one of his chorus’s. It just goes to show you how far hip hop has come in embracing other genres. I know this track came from his last album, Recover, and I agree with you that although it wasn’t released as a single, it deserves respect. It’s very refreshing to hear a sincere and vulnerable side in hip hop artist again(instead of commercial crap).

  4.   joanc Says:

    Oh wow this is a very thorough analysis. I liked how you described a lot of detail and background information about the song. I didn’t know the chorus part was from country music, that’s interesting. The song is very intense and emotional even though most of it is done in rapping. It starts off slow but gradually gets faster in the end. In terms of the lyrics, it feels very personal as if Eminem was talking about his past. I agree how there is indeed a significant meaning to the song in terms of the lyrics and musical instruments used. It’s not just for show but something that truly comes from the heart.

  5.   williamdabney Says:

    It was great reading how you analyzed this song. You describe the song in great detail and broke it down so that everyone could follow what was being done in the song. The quotes that you picked from the song i also liked. I’m not a big Eminem fan but the way you analyzed the song made me want to listen to more of his work.

  6.   theblog Says:

    You really broke this song down completely. Even a person who hates rap music and cant understand anything a rapper ever speaks about would definately be educated on the lyrics and ideas of this song. This is probably one of the best analysis ive read about a record.

  7.   michaeltableman Says:

    great analysis. I have learned new meanings to the song and it had a lot of things I didnt know about. With Eminem everything he writes is so controversial and it is hard to really place your finger on exactly what he is trying to say wether it be about politics which he gets at. Or is personal life to his friends his daughter his relationship with his ex-wife Kim his state and rehab or his drug abuse problem it is so hard to pinpoint wether he is talking about all of them or focusing on one of them in general. You did a great job of pointing out the specifics of this and what each flow and deliviery means to him

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