Eminem’s “Stan” has brought about a lot of things: Dido’s short-lived crossover popularity, a useful slang term, framework for listeners accepting Em’s 8 Mile and subsequent serious business. Now on the list: “Dear Anne,” another leak from Weezy’s pre-Tha Carter IV sieve. (According to Rap Radar, this track won’t be on the album. Whenever it comes out.) Listen below:
You could lash “Dear Anne” to any number of trends–the Alex da Kid/Noah “40″ Shebib trend toward ever more insular rap and R&B, or Weezy’s own tendency as of late (hopefully not Rebirth redux) of getting all emotional on us. Producer Swizz Beatz plucks a track out of the nothing of an empty room: a piano sliver from t.A.T.u’s “30 Minutes” pierces and clatters beneath the slightest of beats, all the better to soundtrack the written version of a Lil Wayne drunk-dial.
See, a literal sequel to “Stan” couldn’t exist, because in case you forgot, Stan ended the song drunk and dead after driving over a bridge. (Damn.) So for his version, Wayne takes on the Stan role himself, using Anne as a receptacle for all his emotional shit. He’s on something–it involves codeine, at least–that’s causing him to go on and on for three pages about his failings and philosophizing and all this angst. There’s one point in the first verse where he gets juuuuust this short of propositioning her–why else would you, in a drugged-out letter to a female fan, mention how bad you and your girlfriend are doing?–but backs off before the kicker. You can just see him holding his head and fumbling around for an eraser.
“Dear Anne,” as a direct Em response, has predictably ignited stan-to-stan combat all across the Internet. We’re not joining them, but one thing is for certain: “Dear Anne” is much more pathetic than “Stan,” possibly on purpose. If Wayne edited these lyrics, he did a great job of disguising it, leaving in all the pauses in his (writing? rapping?) where he had to switch hands, his stuttering and backpedaling and his ill-conceived words. By the last verse, he can barely rhyme anymore, launching into an exam/”lions, horses and rams” (oh… dear?) bit that can’t have taken more than a second of thought. Even the sample sounds smaller. Where Dido was mature and reflective, Lena Katina’s scrap of a voice sounds apt to flutter out of existence at the slightest touch. “Stan” was plenty dark, but it didn’t sound this empty.
There are two ways to take this. You could say that Weezy went for a mood and nailed it 100 percent, or you could say he took an already-creepy song like “Stan” and made it even creepier. We agree with both–while “Dear Anne” is certainly competent, we’re not really keen on listening again. Ultimately, it’s got the same problem as “How to Love“: we really want to hear Anne’s side of the story.