Eminem is portrayed as a homosexual in a new song by the Pet Shop Boys.
"The Night I Fell in Love," from the synth-pop duo's Release, due April 23, tells the story of a homosexual boy who falls in love with a rap star backstage at his concert and follows him to a hotel room for a "private performance."
The slow-grooving song does not reference Eminem or his Slim Shady or Marshall Mathers monikers, but the lyrics clearly spell out the star's identity.
"I said we could be secret lovers/ Just him and me," Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant sings on the tune. "Then he joked/ Hey man, your name isn't Stan, is it?/ We should be together." A later verse says, "I asked why have I heard so much about you being charged with homophobia and stuff, and he just shrugged."
Tennant, who is homosexual, said in a statement that if Eminem's music is going to be provocative, he is going to be provocative back.
"Eminem's defense of the homophobic lyrics on his albums has always been that he's not speaking as himself, he's speaking as a character, and he's representing homophobia in America," Tennant explained. "I thought it would be quite interesting to take that method and just to imagine a scene where a boy meets a famous rap star backstage at his concert and is surprised to discover he's gay and ends up sleeping with him. Just to present rap in this homosexual context. I mean, there obviously are gay rap stars."
Eminem was not available for comment, but MTV News played "The Night I Fell in Love" for his mentor and producer, Dr. Dre, who is referenced in a line from the song: "We joked about Dre and his homies."
"We needed another song anyway," Dre joked. "They just gave us a concept. Oh my God. I hope they can stand the backlash. That's funny as hell."
Although it is possible The Eminem Show, due June 4 (see "The Doc's Diagnosis: Eminem Still Crazy"), will have a retaliatory track from the rapper he's gone after everyone from Britney Spears to Limp Bizkit in the past Tennant was not intending to start a war of words. "I like Eminem's records," he said. "I think he's brilliant."
Release is the eighth studio album from the Pet Shop Boys, who are perhaps best known for their first single, 1985's "West End Girls." The duo's new record, which features former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr on several tracks, strays a bit from their signature style.
"The sounds we've used aren't really dance sounds," Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe said. "We found that the songs that we liked the most that we'd written weren't really dancey, and, having made that decision not to take dance elements, it was very liberating in terms of songwriting. It gave us a lot more freedom to experiment."
The Pet Shop Boys will kick off a tour in support of Release on May 14 in Miami.
Pet Shop Boys tour dates, according to their publicist:
- 5/14 - Miami, FL @ Jackie Gleason Theater
- 5/15 - Melbourne, FL @ Maxwell C. King Center
- 5/16 - Altanta, GA @ DeKalb Atlanta Center
- 5/18 - Washington, DC @ Nation
- 5/19 - Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
- 5/21 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 5/22 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 5/23 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 5/25 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
- 5/26 - Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
- 5/27 - Detroit, MI @ State Theatre
- 5/28 - Chicago, IL @ Rivera Theatre
- 5/30 - Denver, CO @ Auditorium Theatre
- 6/1 - Dallas, TX @ Bronco Bowl
- 6/2 - Houston, TX @ Verizon Wireless Theater
- 6/4 - San Diego, CA @ Copley Symphony Hall
- 6/5 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
- 6/7 - Los Angeles, CA @ Universal Amphitheatre
- 6/8 - San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
- 6/9 - San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
For a full-length interview with Dr. Dre, check out "Dr. Dre: At Home In The Studio."
Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway