Eminem’s relationships with women have been, to say the least, complicated, in song, if not in reality. But no woman has borne the brunt of his ire more than his mom, Debbie Mathers. Check out songs like “Cleanin' Out My Closet.”
He addressed his continuing mommy issues on “Headlights” on last year’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” a song bolstered by a beautiful haunting refrain sung by fun.s’ Nate Ruess, and now the song has received a powerful video, directed by Spike Lee. The video is a Mother's Day present to his mom.
The song is a letter to his mom in which he explains that he not only forgives her her for her past transgressions, but, in the hindsight of time and being a father himself, he expresses understanding for her actions, an acknowledgment of his sometime-misplaced anger, and a desire for things to be different between them now...though it's too late.
As described in the song (and as played out in horrific detail in other Eminem songs), it was a terrible childhood: Eminem’s father abandoned them, his mother dealt with addiction and mental illness, going so as to lose Eminem’s younger brother, Nate, to foster care. Say what you will about Eminem, but he's always been able to find a way to express his pain with searing honesty in his songs and this one is no different.
The clip features reenactments, but also has real photos of Eminem growing up that make the song only more painful to listen to as his anguish is so real. There’s such a yearning for a happy ending for the song and the video, but you’ll have to watch to see how it ends up. It’s complicated.
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