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Music Study: "When I'm Gone"

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Merri-cLaire Lee

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Music Study: "When I'm Gone"

Music Study:
"When I'm Gone"

The song "When I'm Gone" by Eminem is about Eminem trying to overcome the struggle of putting his family on hold for the success of his career. Eminem writes about how much certain members of his family mean to him, and he would do anything for them, yet he is constantly hurting them. All Eminem wants is for his family to be happy, but Eminem feels that the only way for them to have happy, good lives, is if his career is a success. Throughout the song, Eminem progressively realizes that he is losing his family because of the choices that he has made. Towards the end of the song, we see Eminem finally making the choice to be with his family over his fans and career.

The Theories:
In this song...
Personal Experience
In this song, there are general feelings of hopelessness and regret. Eminem realizes that he is neglecting what he truly cares about, yet he is powerless to stop it. He is full of regret because he is continuously forced to choose his fans and career over his own family.

The biggest problem in this song is, of course, Eminem trying to find a balance between the two most important parts of his life. The main difficulty lies within the fact that he wants his family to have good, happy lives, but in order to accomplish this desire, Eminem must sacrifice time with them and be with his fans.

The conflict is resolved towards the end of the song when Eminem shoots his alter ego, Slim Shady, (the one who performs and loves the crowd so much), and wakes up from his horrible nightmare. He walks up to his family and expresses his love for them, and it is apparent that Eminem has finally learned his lesson of who and what his priorities should be.
This song speaks to me personally because I understand how hard it is to maintain balance and order in your life, while having your priorities straight. I can relate to "When I'm Gone" in one way because as a student athlete, I have to balance cheerleading, along with my grades and classes. This is something that requires practice and much effort because it is not easy, like how it is a struggle for Eminem to take time out of his day to play with his daughter, Hailie. In other ways, I relate to this song
because as a I, or any person, gets older, sacrifices must be made for what is WANTED and what is actually NEEDED. In example, I can WANT to spend my money on junk food, but what I actually NEED to do is put gas in my car. Either way, I must make the decision of choosing what is higher on my priority list. This not always as simple as gas versus food, and in Eminem's case, it is, at times, the difference between life and death.
The Song's Appeal
"When I'm Gone" appeals to a large audience because the main theme of this song is: don't take anything for granted, because you never know how long you have left. Quite often, people don't realize what they have until it's gone, much like Eminem with his own family. Another aspect of this song that is easily related to is the fact that Eminem cares so much about his family, yet HE is the one pushing them away. All parents care deeply about their children, but at times, they put their family life on hold to deal with their career. This is common in families alike everywhere, and it is why "When I'm Gone" conveys such a powerful message.

The Meaning of this Song
Merri-cLaire Lee (4th)
The Theories:
From Kohlberg's perspective, one could say that Eminem is at Level 3:Post-conventional Morality (Stages 5 and 6) of Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development. As a person, Eminem lives by his own guidelines of making a living for himself and his family. This guideline means working all the time and being away from home, but it is Eminem's decision as an individual.
"When I'm Gone" efficiently demonstrates Erikson's Stage 6 of Intimacy vs. Isolation. In his life, Eminem is unable to form, and commit, to close relationships with his family due to other issues. Erikson believed that someone must have a fully formed sense of self to be able to have intimate relationships, and it is clear that this could be hindering Eminem.
Looking at Baumrind's theories and styles, Eminem definitely displays Permissive Indifferent/Uninvolved Parenting. Eminem doesn't take the time out of his schedule to show his daughter how much he cares for her, and instead, neglects her to work on writing songs and singing to his fans in concert. Although Eminem does not necessarily want or enjoy this parenting style, it is the one that he has caused, and he struggles to fix the relationship with his daughter, Hailie.

Eminem, project
Merri-cLaire Lee]
This song best relates to the human lifespan because Eminem is having to go through what most regular families have to deal with as well, throughout their lifespan. Eminem, like many others, wants a better life for his daughter than what he had, so he works diligently to make this happen. Eminem working all the time causes a feeling of neglect in his relationship WITH his daughter and wife. At some point in the human lifespan, there is a struggle creating a balance in your life and this song proves that Eminem battles with this aspect daily.
In "When I'm Gone", Eminem is in Piaget's stage of Formal-Operational. Eminem is at a point in his life where is in a good place creatively, and has no problem writing his music, but at the sacrifice of spending time with his daughter.

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