Stan - Eminem feat. Dido
“Stan” is a song by American rapper, Eminem. “Stan” was released December 9, 2000 on his third studio Album, “The Marshall Mathers MP”. In its prime, it topped the charts of both Australia and the United Kingdom.
“Stan” is about a young man named Stanley “Stan” Mitchell, a fan of Eminem, claiming to be his number one. Throughout the song/music video, Stan develops an obsessive nature toward Eminem, in regards to letters to the artist, Stan’s outlook on life, and his aesthetic, matching to that of Eminem. Stan is unable to see his psychological derail. The psychological damage grows to be aggressive, so much so he is unable to go back now.
I believe “Stan” follows a modern dramatic structure effectively, the “Freytags Pyramid” in particular, especially for a song. Modern day rap typically does not use narrative structure what so ever. It is repetitive, whilst “Stan” from beginning to middle to end is rapped through a series of letters, which in itself tell a story, and effectively, lead to a new place in the narrative structure. In the video, there are multiple flashbacks that give the lyrics more emphasis and effectively, make the structure flow. Although there is no happy ending, it follows the same structure nonetheless.
In exposition, you are introduced to Stan, as well as his pregnant partner. He is in the process of colouring his hair bleach blonde when his partner knocks in need of the bathroom. Stan is pleased and fascinated by his changed aesthetic. You discover Stan has a very aggressive behaviour towards his partner’s request for the facility. She asks, “Don’t you think you’re taking this too far?”, taking notice of Stan’s hair.
We are made aware there is historical context to Stan’s situation, there has been progression to this behaviour prior to this point. We notice there is an intended objective changing his aesthetic when he smiles in accomplishment. Although done subtly, it reveals background information needed for the upcoming narrative.
In rising action, Stan sends letters to artist, Eminem. In idolization, he hopes he will receive something in return, but never does. As he opens each letter, his frustration builds throughout, “Dear Slim (Eminem), I wrote but you still ain’t calling…”, “Dear Slim, you still ain’t called or wrote, I hope you have a chance, I ain’t mad — I just think it’s F*CKED up you don’t answer fans…”, “Dear Mister I’m-Too-Good-To-Call-Or-Write-My-Fans, this’ll be the last package I ever send your ass…”.
His obsession is unable to be seen himself, but he is gradually derailing. His obsessive nature thickens. This is in lead up to Stan’s breaking point. He is fed up with the lack of response from the person who he seemingly loves most.
In climax, the “crisis” point, Stan is officially at his breaking point, fed up. He is driving incredibly intoxicated. He lacks thought behind his actions as he records his last letter. His psychological state is seemingly suicidal, taking his pregnant partner down with him. It is guilt tripping. As Stan realises what he is doing, forgetting he will not be able send the cassette if he follows through with his next action, he fails to control his vehicle as he swerves off a bridge into water, drowning, effectively killing himself and his partner. There is now not much more that could happen in the narrative in regards to Stan’s development in the music video, it has reached its highest point.
In denouement, where loose ends are tied, a series of flashbacks are showcased prior to the event of his vehicle. Tying up the narrative; Stan had an obsession, Stan had a problem. Seemingly innocent in the beginning, it turned toxic. Eminem finally receives a letter of Stan’s, confused as to why he is so mad, but is unaware it is too late as Stan has passed. When Eminem closes up his response letter, he matches the profile to the person who drove himself and his pregnant partner off the bridge; Stan. We are made aware that there is nothing anyone could have done to help Stan; it was down to him.
I chose “Stan” not only because it is a great song, but I have always enjoyed Eminem’s narratives throughout his rap songs. They always have background and meaning, and this song is one of many examples of this. I believe it is completely unfiltered and revealing to one of many silenced issues in society, that being psychological issues. It is not highly talked about, and it is generally brushed under the carpet. I especially love how high emotions were throughout, it was complete and utter truth. I feel like I can somewhat (obviously not entirely) relate to this song because I had panic and anxiety, and I was unaware how serious my condition was throughout my last year at high school. Although Stan and myself are different from one another, I believe I can somewhat relate to him nonetheless. I feel that we can all relate somewhat to Eminem and his lyrics. Overall, Eminem is an amazing artist, and this is an amazing song with a great story. Most definitely recommend.