Curtain Call: The Hits

This inevitable hits package raises an obvious question: Are three so-so new songs, decent sequencing and a track commemorating a surreal TV moment enough to make you buy thirteen (great) songs all over again? Hard to say, but now that Marshall Mathers seems close to retiring, it's hard to hate on a CD with unforgettable jolts of energy like "Lose Yourself," "The Way I Am" and "Stan," hands-down the most hair-raising pop song of this millennium. You can quibble with the selection when it comes to the nonhits, but Curtain Call is a solid summary of Eminem's transformation from hip-hop prankster with delicious anti-social tendencies ("My Name Is") to caring father with melodramatic tendencies and self-serious rock star with stardom tendencies ("The Way I Am"), not to mention his subsequent recycling of those roles ("Mockingbird," "When I'm Gone"). The Elton John-assisted "Stan" from the 2001 Grammys is a bonus, but the new songs, including the Nate Dogg throwaway "Shake That" and the butt-stoopid "Fack," aren't essential. That said, nobody but the guy with his name on the cover could have done any of these tunes. Whenever he comes back, this is a set to grow on.

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