In general, musicians tend to keep their subject matter limited to just a few different topics. And that's fine, we love songs about chicks and drugs as much as anyone else. But sometimes, a musician will latch onto one pet subject and hang on for dear life no matter how bad it makes them look. For example...
Eminem hates his wife and his mother.
"I love my daughter more than life n' itself
But I got a wife that's determined to make my life livin' hell
But I handle it well, given the circumstances I'm dealt"
Take my wife, please.
How It All Started:
Eminem has had mommy issues, be it with his mommy or his kid's mommy, since his major label debut, The Slim Shady LP. That album's first single, "My Name Is," was chock full of lyrics about his mom's unfortunate drug habit, but the real kicker was "97 Bonnie and Clyde" (we're not completely sure if that title refers to the year it was recorded or the number of times that goddamned title has been used in rap songs). It was some pretty harrowing shit; Eminem drives to the beach to dispose of the freshly murdered corpse of his ex-wife, Kim. And her new boyfriend. And her boyfriend's kid. All while Kim's daughter, who also happened to be his daughter, was in the car with him.
Kind of hard to top that. But boy, has he tried. And tried, and tried...
Why It Needs to Stop:
It's one thing to call your mom out for being a junkie and threatening your ex-wife on your first album. Antics like those can generally be chalked up to a publicity stunt. But when you follow that up by littering your next three albums with songs about raping your mom ("Kill You") and killing your wife some more ("Kim"), then you're turning into the rap version of Marilyn Manson: a cartoonish figure trying to convert shock value into free advertising.
Like a hip-hop Boo Berry.
When the shock wore off, we kind of just started wishing he'd develop a crippling substance abuse problem like regular folks, rather than rhyming his way through his emotional issues on MTV. Thankfully, that's exactly what he did and the world was blissfully "mommy was mean to me" song-free. For a few years.
Then in 2009, Eminem reemerged with the aptly titled album Relapse. With that album, not only did the world get to hear the innermost turmoil of a man wealthy enough to delve into a four-year drug binge while suffering little to no financial ramifications before being welcomed back to work with open arms, but we also got a whole new round of mommy rhymes.
What rhymes with "ALF shirt"?
On the album's second track (third if you count the intro, which only retards do) Em was back to his old tricks with a song called, what else, "My Mom." She did valium, you know. And lots of drugs. That's why he is how he is. Because of his mom. Fascinating stuff, Mathers. We didn't catch that the first dozen times.
Being a cowboy.
"I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted, dead or alive"
How It All Started:
Jon Bon Jovi has been singing about being a cowboy since his days of big hair and songs about Tommy and Gina. Your mom's favorite album, 1986's Slippery When Wet, featured the massive hit "Wanted Dead or Alive," a song that used cowboys as a metaphor for traveling musicians that people wanted to murder. Or something like that.
Maybe it was about robotic, fire-breathing horses.
Then, after Emilio Estevez suggested that "Wanted Dead of Alive" would make a great theme song for Young Guns II, Jon Bon Jovi decided that an entire album of New Jersey cowboy shtick was in order and he recorded Blaze of Glory, his first solo album.
Surely, this would be the last time a band of hair spray abusing New Jersey rockers would drink from that well, right?
Why It Needs to Stop:
Wrong. The band would revisit the cowboy theme several times throughout their career, most notably on the totally-not-innuendo "Ride, Cowboy, Ride" from the New Jersey album. But with 2007's Lost Highway, Bon Jovi stopped singing about cowboys and just decided they were cowboys. JBJ (that's what we call him) described the album as "a Bon Jovi album inspired by Nashville." This is basically a less pathetic way of saying, "Hey, remember that cowboy album we made? Wouldn't you guys love it if we did that again?"
Alternate title: 2 Cowboy 2 Furious
We suppose it makes good business sense. Bon Jovi scored a huge comeback hit in the early part of the decade with "It's My Life," which was basically a cover version of "Livin' On a Prayer," complete with that obnoxious voice box contraption and more lyrics about Tommy and Gina. But you can't rely on those same old tricks forever. Sometimes, a band has to resort to their other set of same old tricks. Nobody knows that better than Bon Jovi.