Lighters by krin.jpg

Date Aired
November 12th, 2011
Running Time
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Todd plays "Lighters" on his piano.

A pop song review

Todd: When I was a kid, I was so into Eminem, it was embarrassing.

Video for Eminem - "Without Me"
Eminem: I've created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Marshall...

Todd (VO): Eminem wasn't the biggest pop star in the world as far as I was concerned, he was the only pop star in the world.

Performance of "The Real Slim Shady" at 2000 MTV VMAs
Eminem: Will the real Slim Shady please stand up

Todd (VO): Throughout my music-listening career, no one has been more controversial, more exciting, more important than Eminem and his legions of angry white boy fans, and yes, I was one of them, despite the fact that I wasn't particularly angry...or for that matter, white. (As far as YOU know.)

Video for "The Way I Am"

Todd (VO): I mean, it was just a thrill listening to something that dangerous, and believe me, there hasn't been anyone in the past ten years who came close to being as dangerous as Eminem, especially for me growing up, where MTV was banned from the house.

Todd: I wasn't allowed to listen to Smash Mouth; I definitely wasn't supposed to be listening to Eminem.

Video for "Role Model"

Todd (VO): He was angry and violent and hateful and probably an insane person, but he was also crazy talented and endlessly fascinating. I thought he was the most captivating musical talent who'd ever lived.

Eminem: You probably wanna grow up to be just like me

Todd: And then one day he just...stopped being good.

Video for "Just Lose It"
Eminem: Now lose it (Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)
Just lose it (Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)

Todd (VO): And it wasn't a gradual thing either. It was sudden and immediate. One day, he was awesome; the next day, he sucked. And everyone pretty much agreed on it. [Cover of Encore] This album sucked. He took five years off, and then [video for "We Made You"] released a new album which also sucked, and at that point, I gave up hope that Marshall would ever be good again.

Eminem: Damn, I think Kim Kardashian's a man
She stomped him, just 'cause he asked to put his hands

Todd: But then he released his new album, Recovery.

Video for "Not Afraid"
Eminem: I'm not afraid

Todd (VO): And Eminem was back...I guess. Honestly, though the new album was pretty good and he's charted a couple decent songs since then, I can't say I've been all that much a fan of his string of dull, tiresomely serious, mid-tempo singles.

Todd: Something about it just isn't quite working to me. Sometimes all of his newer singles just sound like this.

Todd (VO): ["rapping"] I'm really angry, but I'm more mature now
So I'm inspirational and I wanna help you avoid my mistakes
But in a really angry way 'cause I'm all still really pissed off and I'm still really dangerous
But in a positive way

Todd: I'll admit I miss the old Eminem—the one who was exciting and who wasn't overly serious and can make tasteless jokes without it sounding tired and forced. He needs something to bring him back out of his doldrums. He needs something that will make him a champion again.

Clip from Rocky III
Apollo: You gotta get that look back, Rock. Eye of the tiger, man.

Todd: And maybe that thing that's gonna bring him back is Royce da 5'9".

Video for Royce da 5'9" ft. Eminem - "Writer's Block"
Royce da 5'9": I ain't calling names 'cause all of y'all the same

Todd (VO): Royce da 5'9" has been buzzing the underground scene for a long time, despite his hilariously bad rap name. [Covers of Big Sean - Finally Famous] Couldn't be a big, [Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz - Put Yo Hood Up] couldn't be a lil, just, you know...

Todd: Average height Royce. But anyway,

Picture of the two

Todd (VO): Eminem and Royce da 5'9" were friends way back in the day and released a couple singles under the name [Single cover of "Nuttin' to Do"] Bad Meets Evil. But over the last decade, their relationship has been...

Todd: ...complicated. Now perhaps the best way to explain that relationship is with an analogy describing my own relationship with my younger colleague, the Rap Critic. Ready dude?

Rap Critic: Yep.

Todd: Okay. Hi, I'm the really talented one who became really successful and got lots of fans.

Rap Critic: And I'm the also-talented one who started at around the same time, but didn't really break through until I joined an independent group years later.

Todd: And we were friends at first, but then I stopped talking to you once I had new and better friends, leaving you to become bitter and jealous and badmouth me in public, leading to us hating each other.

Rap Critic: And that...wait. That didn't happen between us. I don't remember any of that...

Todd: And I took my hatred out on you by doing everything in my power to prevent you from being picked up on Channel Awesome, including spreading rumors that you flash old ladies on the street.

Rap Critic: Wait a minute, is this why I keep getting e-mails from people calling me a sex offender?

Todd: Then we made up, and now we're totally best friends and we collaborate all the time.

Rap Critic: Uh...yeah. does this mean you wanted to do another review with me? 'Cause I have this new idea for a crossover that we could d...

Todd: All right, nice to see ya. Anyway...

Video for Bad Meets Evil - "Fast Lane"

Todd (VO): Eminem and Royce buried the hatchet a couple years ago, and decided to make it official with a full album release this year. And I couldn't be more excited for what this means for Eminem. Maybe this will bring back the edgy, exciting Eminem I remember from when I was a teenager.

Todd: I mean, hell, they're called Bad Meets Evil. Now this has gotta be some seriously bad-ass, threatening stuff right here. Come on, Em, Royce. Let's see you tear this mother up! Go, go, go!

Video for "Lighters"
Bruno Mars: This one's for you and me, living out our dreams
We're all right where we should be
Lift my arms out wide, I open my eyes
And now

Todd: So would this be Bad or Evil that I'm listening to here?

Todd (VO): Okay, my mistake. We are apparently doing the only thing Eminem knows how to do anymore—dismal, crushingly boring ballads.

Todd: And unfortunately, he brought in the dreariest hook ever, courtesy of official Todd In The Shadows Enemy List member Bruno Mars.

Clip from Bruno Mars - "The Lazy Song"

Todd (VO): If there's any artist in the universe who's disappointed me more than Eminem, it's probably Bruno. I remember actually being excited when he first hit the scene, but over the course of the year, he has flushed that right down the toilet. And whatever failings the rest of this song has, the main one is this.

Todd: This beat sucks.

Todd (VO): Eminem needs someone to pump him back up. But what Bruno wrote for him is a lifeless, tedious, bore-tacular track that's such a drag to listen to that my radio magically changes the station by itself every time it comes on. This sounds like something Coldplay would refuse to release for being too boring. If Eminem was rapping over one of those [cover of one of those...] "sounds of nature" CDs, it would sound more exciting than this.

Todd: *sigh* But because it's my job, I am going to listen to this song all the way through this one time.

Bruno: I open my eyes
And now all I wanna see
Is a sky full of lighters
A sky full of lighters

Todd (VO): Um...

Todd: We don't really carry lighters anymore. At every concert I've been to in the past decade, people don't really hold up lighters anymore. [Pulls out] They lift their phones. So...

Todd (VO): Unless you wanna time-travel back to 1978, probably better change that to, "sky full of iPhones."

Todd: [singing] A sky full of iPhones

Todd (VO): Ugh, this eats. Let's get to Eminem's verse.

Todd: Now I'll be honest, my expectations are so low that I expect this entire verse to blow. I mean, there's no way this verse could be any good.

Eminem: Fighters keep fighting, put your lighters up, point em' skyward, uh!
Had a dream I was king, I woke up, still king...
This rap game's nipple is mine for the milking

Todd: And Eminem proves me completely right!

Eminem: This rap game's nipple is mine for the milking

Todd (VO): Things I learned today: the rap game has nipples. But let's go back to that whole being-the-king thing 'cause I don't believe that for a second.

Todd: Unlike, say, Jay-Z or Snoop Dogg, Eminem has always seemed profoundly uncomfortable on the throne.

Todd (VO): Most other rappers talk about being the best ever, so when they actually get to the top, it fits. But Eminem got there by being angry and violent, so he looks way more confused about what he's supposed to be doing.

Todd: He's still really angry though. Just...not sure about what.

Eminem: Little hussy ass, scuzzes, fuck it
Who you dicks try to kid
What it take to get it through your thick skulls
...cocks are slick, poppin' shit
I would never do nothing to let you cowards fuck my world up

Todd: Who are you talkin' to, Em?

Todd (VO): Like, he keeps blasting his enemies, but I have no idea who he's specifically talking about. Say what you want about [clip from "The Real Slim Shady" and "Without Me"] the younger Eminem taking aim at unthreatening targets like Moby or the Backstreet Boys.

Todd: At least they were real people. And furthermore...what happened know...

Todd (VO): and me living out our dreams?

Eminem: Now let these words be like a switch blade to a haters rib cage

Todd (VO): Is this the "living out your dreams" part? Did Eminem not listen to the chorus or the beat before he started rapping over it?

Todd: You realize this is supposed to be a happy, triumphant song, right? Bruno wrote you this. [Clip from Rocky II with Rocky jumping with kids] And you gave him this!

Clip from Brian Depalma's Scarface
Tony Montana (Al Pacino): You fucking maricón! You think you can take me?! I take your fucking bullets!

Todd: On top of that, why are you so angry at your critics?

Eminem: Or was it 'cause them bitches wrote him off?
Little hussy ass, fusses

Todd (VO): Because they thought you fell off? You did fall off.

Todd: Don't get mad at them just 'cause they noticed.

Eminem: So let em bic's raise cause I came with 5'9′ but I feel like I'm 6'8″
Bruno: This one's for you and me

Todd (VO): I like how Bruno steps in all quietly after Eminem vents his spleen at no one.

Todd: It's like having a friend suddenly blow up at a waiter who screwed up the check or something, and Bruno has to step in, like, "dude. Dude, calm down. Let me handle this."

All right, Bruno. Take it away.

Bruno: We're all right where we should be
Lift my arms out wide
I open my...
Cut to Motley Crue - "Kickstart My Heart"
Motley Crue: Whoa! Yeah!

Todd (VO): Oh! Looks like we're doing Motley Crue now. How'd that happen? Oh, well. So, "Kickstart My Heart"? What kind of a stupid metaphor is that, right?

Todd: And look at those crazy hairdos, right? [He tries, but he can't and motions to cut it] Cut. Sorry. Back to the real song. Weird how that keeps happening.

Bruno: A sky full of lighters

Todd (VO): Okay anyway, now here's Royce, or as he's better known...

Todd: ...the other guy.

Royce: By the time you hear this I'll probably already be outtie

Todd (VO): Well, I'll say this. Royce at least seems more aware of his surroundings than Eminem. At least Royce is, in fact, now living out his dreams.

Todd: And those dreams are...

Royce: Used to have to eat the cat to get the pussy
Now I'm just the cats meow
I remember when T-Pain ain't wanna work with me

Todd: They are sex without reciprocation, and T-Pain. Can't say I feel like throwing up a lighter for that one, I'll be honest.

Todd (VO): Now Royce isn't a bad rapper, I guess, but I have to admit this verse leaves me pretty cold. The wordplay here is clever, but often kind of forced.

Royce: I went from having my city locked up
To getting treated like Kwame Kilpatrick

Todd (VO): I do get this one part though.

Royce: I ain't gotta stop the beat a minute
To tell Shady I love him the same way that he did Dr. Dre on The Chronic

Todd (VO): Aww, mutual admiration society. He even calls himself second-best after Eminem at one point.

Royce: Now I'm the second-best I can deal with that

Todd: It's just like that verse Eminem did for Dr. Dre.

Clip of video for Dr. Dre ft. Eminem - "I Need a Doctor"
Eminem: You saved my life, now maybe it's my turn to save yours
But I can never repay you, what you did for me is way more

Todd (VO): You know, now that I think about it, I do find it kind of hilarious...

Todd: ...that Eminem, the man so angry and hateful towards gays that he was [picture of protest] protested in the streets, has now released some of the man-crushiest songs ever written.

Intercut clips of "Lighters" and "I Need a Doctor"
Royce: I ain't gotta stop the beat a minute
To tell Shady I love him
Eminem: I don't think you realize what you mean to me
Not the slightest clue
Clip from Scrubs
J.D. and Turk: Guy love, that's all it is
Guy love, he's mine, I'm his

Todd: Now if we were to extrapolate from that and his numerous problems with women, one might be tempted to suggest that Eminem is repressing some hidden desires, you follow; but, of course that would be crude and tacky to insinuate. I don't see anything serious to support that suggestion, except for this one part in the song...

Todd (VO): and its constant references to dicks!

Eminem: [dick reference counts along: final count is 8] And pardon me if I'm a cocky prick but you cocks are slick
Who you dicks try to kid, flipped dick, you did the opposite
You stayed the same, cause cock backwards is still cock you pricks
I love it when I tell em shove it

Todd (VO): And in conclusion...

Todd: ...penis, penis, penis. But back to you, Royce.

Royce: Now I'm the second best I can deal with that
Now Bruno can show his ass without the MTV awards gag

Todd: Okay, that's gonna take a little bit to decipher. Now, first off, that's a reference to both...

Todd (VO): ...Bruno Mars and [picture of...] Bruno, the Sacha Baron Cohen character who [clip from 2009 MTV Movie Awards gag] dropped his bare ass on Eminem in an obviously staged MTV stunt a couple years ago.

Todd: But, that stretch of a punchline besides, I don't understand what Royce is actually saying here.

Todd (VO): Does he want Bruno Mars to show his ass, as in...leave? 'Cause I'm down with that.

Todd: Or does he literally mean he wants Bruno Mars to show his ass? 'Cause I don't want that at all, especially since I know...

Clip from "The Lazy Song"

Todd (VO): ...Bruno would be more than happy to accept the invitation.

Bruno: And let everything hang loose

Todd (VO): Stop that, Bruno.

Rap Critic: No, no, no, Todd, you're not up on your hip-hop slang. See, "show your ass" means to make an ass of yourself, act a fool, go crazy.

Todd: Oh, really? Oh, okay, I get it. Go wild. Yeah, I can get behind that. All right, yeah, Bruno, let's get stupid up in this bitch!

Bruno: This one's for you and me, living out our dreams

Todd just facepalms

Rap Critic: Yeah...Bruno isn't exactly doing what Royce asked for here. But anyway, about that crossov...

Todd: Ugh, this song sucks!

Bruno: You and I

Todd (VO): Even ignoring the anemic beat, the uninspired lyrics and the this song does not achieve what it wants to at all. Even the sentiment of the lyrics and the chorus doesn't work. If you're trying to sound triumphant, why is the main hook a needy demand for adulation?

Todd: Want me to raise my lighter? What are you offering in return?

Todd (VO): This? No, thanks.

Todd: Yeah, I'll whip out my lighter...set fire to this CD. [Pulls out phone] Except this is not a lighter. It's a cell phone. And this is also not actually the Bad Meets Evil CD...because I no longer actually buy physical CDs. But totally imagine that I was so enraged that I actually set something on fire. That's how angry I am! Rrrrr! I'm Todd In The Shadows, I listen to it 'cause you don't want to.

Gets up and leaves

Closing tag song: UFO - "Lights Out"

"Lighters" is owned by Interscope Records
This video is owned by me

Rap Critic: No, just gonna forget I'm here? Again? [Sniffles] Okay.

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