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"Stan"
Single by Eminem featuring Dido
from the album The Marshall Mathers LP
Released December 2000
Format CD
Recorded 1999
Genre Gangsta rap, Horrorcore
Length 6:44 (Album Version)
5:35 (Radio Edit)
Label Aftermath/Interscope
Writer(s) Eminem, Dido Armstrong
Producer The 45 King, Eminem
Certification Platinum (BPI)
2x Platinum (ARIA)
Eminem singles chronology
"The Way I Am"
(2000)
"Stan"
(2000)
"Without Me"
(2002)
Dido singles chronology
"Stan"
(2000)
"Here with Me"
(2001)
Curtain Call: The Hits track listing
"My Name Is"
(4)
"Stan"
(5)
"Lose Yourself"
(6)
Curtain Call: The Hits track listing
"When I'm Gone"
(16)
"Stan" (live)
(17)

"Stan" is the third single from The Marshall Mathers LP, by rapper Eminem featuring Dido. It peaked at number one in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is also included on Curtain Call: The Hits, performed with Eminem and Elton John. The song was produced by The 45 King and Eminem, and uses a slightly modified break from Dido's "Thank You" as its basis. The track also samples the opening lines of "Thank You" as its chorus. Coincidentally, both songs were released as singles in December 2000.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #290 in their list: The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was also listed on VH1's list of the greatest hip hop songs of all time.

"Stan" tells the fictional[1] story of a fan who is obsessed with Eminem and writes to him without receiving a reply. The first three verses are delivered by Eminem as Stan, while the fourth verse is Eminem attempting to write to Stan, only to realize that he had already heard about Stan's death on the news.

Contents

Structure

In the first verse, Stan is writing to Eminem for the third time, hoping his hero will write back. He explains the level of his devotion ("I got a room full of your posters and your pictures, man") and maintains that Eminem "must not have got 'em", his previous two letters. In addition, the song "Old World Disorder" is referenced as the "underground shit that you did with Skam." Stan also reveals that his girlfriend is pregnant, and that he is going to name his daughter Bonnie (a reference to Eminem's song "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" from The Slim Shady LP), and empathizes about 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 the second verse, Stan is clearly frustrated. He begins somewhat optimistically (Dear Slim, you still ain't called or wrote/I hope you had the chance), 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 steadily becomes louder, underscoring Stan's anger. Loud thunderclaps coincide with Stan's outbursts of anger. The verse also establishes Stan's deteriorating sanity: "Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds/It's like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me". Stan mentions his little brother, Matthew, who Stan imagines is an even bigger fan of Eminem than Stan himself. Stan is bitter because Eminem had supposedly 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"). He ends his letter with "Sincerely yours, Stan/P.S. we should be together too."

The third verse is Stan rapping into a tape recorder in the car as he is about to drive off a bridge. His words are slurred, and he is clearly under the influence of depressants, as evidenced by the line, "I'm on a thousand downers now, I'm drowsy." His pregnant girlfriend can be heard screaming in the trunk (he even stops himself for a moment to yell at her: "Shut the fuck up, bitch, I'm tryin' to talk!") and the rain and thunder are loud and insistent. Stan, enraged, addresses Eminem as "Mr. 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?" (quoting "My Name Is" on the previous Eminem album, The Slim Shady LP). This is followed by a reference to a Phil Collins song "In the Air Tonight," misquoting it as "In the Air of the Night." Specifically, Stan refers to an urban legend that the song is about Collins seeing a man drowning, while a closer bystander does nothing to save him. Screaming is heard and Stan reveals that his pregnant girlfriend is in the trunk suffocating "That's my girlfriend screaming in the trunk/But I didn't slit her throat I just tied her up," once again referencing Eminem's song "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" in which Eminem implies that he had slit his wife's throat before putting her in the trunk and dropping her off in a lake ("And don't worry about that little booboo on her throat/It's just a little scratch, it don't hurt/Her was eatin' dinner while you were sleepin' and spilled ketchup on her shirt/Mama's messy, ain't she/We'll let her wash off in the water"). 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 too late that he will be unable to send the tape to Eminem ("oh shit, I forgot, how am I supposed to send this shit out?"). A car crash then follows, as the car breaks through the bridge's rails and falls into the water below.

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 says he sends a cap with his autograph for Matthew, and 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 further explains in his letter that he had seen a similar story on the news which scared him, about a disturbed man who killed himself and his pregnant girlfriend. The song ends with Eminem's realization of what has happened; Stan was the man on the news ("... in the car they found a tape, but they didn't say who it was to/Come to think about it, his name was... it was you. Damn.")

Music video

The music video was directed by Phil Atwell and Dr. Dre in California. It is primarily a visualization of the story the song tells, featuring Canadian actor Devon Sawa as Stan, the obsessive fan, and British pop singer Dido, who sings the chorus, as his pregnant girlfriend. It features a cameo appearance by Jane Yamamoto, who had previously been involved in the music video of "Forgot About Dre".

It was nominated at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2001 for Video of the Year, Best Direction, Best Male Video, Best Rap Video, and Best Cinematography.[citation needed] The music video was ranked #1 on MuchMusic's 100 Best Videos.[citation needed] It also ranked at #3 on MuchMusic's 50 Most Controversial Videos.[citation needed]

Censorship

In the MTV full version, which is 8:15 long, verse 3 censors Stan mentioning his girlfriend in the trunk (so "Shut up bitch" and "screaming in the trunk" is censored), and about him not slitting her throat, but tied her up, and "If she suffocates, she'll suffer more, then she'll die too", which "slit", "tied her up", "suffocates" and "die" is censored. The video censors verse 3 from showing her tied up and her mouth covered with duct tape in the trunk, which she manages to get it off from her mouth and screams, which it censors from hearing her screams. It also censors when Stan says he "drank a fifth of vodka", which censors "drank" and "vodka", and censors when he says he's on "a thousand downers", which "downers" is censored, and also censors from showing Stan drinking while driving. Also, at the end of verse 3, "Well, gotta go, I'm almost at the bridge now" is changed to "Well, gotta go, I'm almost at the end of the bridge now". While in the fourth verse, the line "[And what's this] shit about us meant to be together" is completely censored. It also censors the whole line: "And had his girlfriend in the trunk, and she was pregnant with his kid".

In the MTV short version, the second verse lines that are missing are from "I ain't that mad though, I just don't like bein lied to" to "I even got a tattoo of your name across the chest", which the video cuts showing Stan meeting Eminem, saying about his father cheated on his mother and beat her and showing him getting a "Slim Shady" tattoo on his chest. The third verse lines that are missing is about Stan saying about drinking while driving and saying about Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight", which in the video, it skips from showing Stan near-missing a car, and swerving to avoid crashing into it. The lines that are missing are from "Hey Slim, I drank a fifth of vodka, you dare to me to drive?" to "I hope you know I ripped all of your pictures off the wall". It also removes the chorus after the third verse and goes straight to the fourth verse, which the video cuts Eminem at last receiving the letter from Stan, and the car sinking more into the water.

Legacy

The song is perhaps Eminem's most critically acclaimed song and has been called a 'cultural milestone'.[2] and referred to as "Eminem's best song" by About.com.[3]

The name 'Stan' was first used by Eminem in his song "Guilty Conscience" in the skit to verse 2, a 21-year old who takes an underage girl upstairs in a rave party. However, there is no said connection between the two characters.

At the 2001 Grammy Awards, Eminem was facing a lot of criticism from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation over his lyrics; Eminem responded by performing "Stan" with openly gay singer Elton John singing Dido's lines. Recordings of this performance were available for download on Eminem's official website, Eminem.com, and, later, on his 2005 greatest hits release, Curtain Call: The Hits.[citation needed]

German rapper Prinz Pi made a German version of 'Stan'. His track also is named 'Stan' and is based on Eminem's 'Stan'-beat and has the same topic.

Rapper Canibus released a response track to this song entitled "U Didn't Care", in which Canibus, portraying Stan, accused Eminem of not caring about him at all.

As a result of the song, the term "Stan" is often used within various fan communities, not limited to musical, to derisively refer to people seen as overly-obsessed fans of someone or something. In "Ether," the anti-Jay-Z diss track, Nas calls Jay a "Stan" and claims that Jay idolizes him and later builds his career from Nas'. Eminem himself used it in the edited version of Curtain Call: The Hits, directed at Moby in "Without Me".[citation needed] German rapper Kool Savas calls his opponent Eko Fresh a "Stan" and claims that Eko admired him in his famous diss track "Das Urteil" (The Verdict). Also MOK, another German rapper calls Farid Bang a "Stan" in his diss track "Frohe Ostern/Mr. Lover Lover" in 2009.

"Stan" has been listed by many as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time. It was ranked #3 on a list of the greatest rap songs in history by Q magazine[4], and came in 10th in a similar survey conducted by Top40-Charts.com.[5]. Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time ranked it #290, one of Eminem's two songs on the list along with "Lose Yourself." It ranked #45 on About.com's Top 100 RapSongs[6]

Christian rap artist KJ-52 recorded two songs: "Dear Slim" and "Dear Slim, Part II", attempting to contact Eminem and talk to him about his own faith and help him through his troubles. Various instruments within the song "My Life" by The Game are interpolations of "Stan".

Number 15 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, and number 2 on their Countdown Millenium Songs.

The song was named the 46th Best Song of the decade by The Complex Magazine.[7]

The song was also ranked as the 10th Best Song of the decade by The Rolling Stone Magazine.[8]

References

External Links








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