Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

The best from the bloody, bombastic, brilliant career of the hip-hop troublemaker

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34. "Mockingbird" (2005)

Some critics dismissed this song from Em's transitional fifth album Encore as just a mawkish exploitation of his daughter Hailie Jade. But what Eminem told Rolling Stone was "his most emotional song ever" was vulnerably fair-minded and delicately constructed. Here, he approaches the track like a stage actor digging into the nuances of a role, which is ultimately the key to our belief that he cares as much about being a real father as about being a privileged, embattled pop star firing cheap shots at his kid's troubled mom. In other words, he keeps his bullshit in check and comes across like the everyday Marshall Mathers, a 32-year-old single dad still dealing with a dumpster-fire marriage, but also a mature adult who is capably raising three kids – Hailie, niece Alaina (who is also mentioned in the song) and half-brother Nate. What's more, at least for this song, he makes that normcore guy just as compelling as the unhinged maniac he usually plays at work.

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