|Single by Eminem|
|from the album Recovery|
|Released||June 18, 2011|
Parkland Playhouse (by Robert Marks)
54 Sound, Effigy Studios (by Mike Strange & Joe Strange)
|Writer(s)||Marshall Mathers, James Scheffer, Steve McEwan|
|Eminem singles chronology|
"Space Bound" is a song by American rapper Eminem. It was released in June 18, 2011 as the fourth and final single from his seventh studio album Recovery. The song is produced by American hip-hop producer Jim Jonsin. "Space Bound" features samples of "Drive" by R.E.M. and "Song for Bob" by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
The music video was shot in February 2011 by director Joseph Kahn. It features model and former pornographic actress Sasha Grey. The video was released to the iTunes Store on June 24, 2011. It is about a girl, played by Grey, who secretly cheats on her boyfriend, Eminem; this turns into a violent conflict. The video shows two sides of Eminem, one who is calm and loves his girlfriend and one who is aggressive and does not. The music video received attention and controversy for a scene in which Eminem shoots himself in the head in frustration, with blood spurting from the wound.
"Space Bound" was written by Eminem, British songwriter Steve McEwan, and Jim Jonsin, the latter having produced the track with keyboards from Danny Morris. The chorus is sung by McEwan, who also provided guitars. The song was recorded by Robert Marks in Parkland Playhouse and Mike Strange and Joe Strange in Effigy Studios. It was mixed by Eminem, Mike Strange and Marks. In July 2011, producer Jim Jonsin spoke about the making of the song and how its production came to be. He submitted a beat to Eminem for release on Recovery, not knowing if it was planned for official release as a single.
The song was complete with verses, B section, and a chorus by McEwan. Most of the original version was recorded in New York on guitar, with a guitar vocal on an iPhone. The concept was taken to Miami about three months later and was produced. The song was composed by McEwan and Jonsin. The chorus was used as a guide for writing the rapped verses. Eminem liked the song and its concept and wanted the sung verses removed and replaced with his own lyrics, as Jonsin revealed: "He had me strip down the verses [...] and make the track a little more hip hop, and he sent it out. I didn't really believe that it would end up on Eminem's album, let alone be a single." Jonsin spoke about the theme of the chorus in "Space Bound":
The chorus was based off of a chase, a guy who's chasing after a woman that he's crazy about, he loves her; she's everything to him. I'm a rocket ship aiming at her heart, her heart's the moon—I'm going full-on.
According to Jonsin, the hardest part of the making of the song was getting it to Eminem. Jonsin's manager suggested it get sent to Eminem, but was concerned that Eminem would not do anything with it. Jonsin also confirmed in the interview that he would be working on Eminem's next solo album.
Composition and reception
"Space Bound" features a sample of "Drive" by R.E.M. and "Song for Bob" by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. The guitars were provided by Steve McEwan and additional keyboards were by Danny Morris.
In a largely negative review of Recovery for Slant Magazine, M.T. Richards described "Space Bound" as "ugly" and "wafer-thin", going on to criticise the song's macabre content: "Eminem can't talk to women and he never could, so when he threatens to strangle anyone who leaves him, the peril feels forced and wholly off-putting." AbsolutePunk writer Thomas Nassiff, in his review for Recovery, stated that "Space Bound", along with five other songs, were "pure filler" and "don't require more than one listen."
Development and release
The music video for "Space Bound" was filmed over three days in February 2011, in Los Angeles, California, and was produced over approximately five months. It was directed by Joseph Kahn, who previously directed Eminem's videos for "Without Me", "We Made You" and "Love the Way You Lie". Photos of the video shooting were released and two low quality snippets of the then-unfinished video leaked. A large portion of the music video was shot at a roadside diner. On June 18, 2011, Kahn tweeted that the "Space Bound" video was finally complete and was to be released soon. The same day, Kahn tweeted,"When you see Space Bound, look for the uncensored version. You'll ruin it for yourself if you don't," confirming an uncensored version. Grey spoke about her acting and role in the video. "Before each take, Joseph and I would talk a lot about [my character's] motives and attitude. Her ultimate moment doesn't come until the end, so I had plenty of time to build the fear!" The full video was released on June 24, 2011 at 5 pm EST for purchase on the iTunes Store, uncut.
The video starts as Eminem walks down a road at night. He is picked up by his lover (Grey). Two versions of him are shown: one alone in the back seat, who is frustrated, paranoid and "hurling insults at Grey", and one sitting next to Grey who is calm. Grey lights a cigarette to smoke. The alternate Eminem disappears and the couple stop at a motel/diner.
Eminem has two personages again as he enters the diner. The original Eminem sits with Grey at a table, while the other is on a bar stool. Grey takes out her cell phone and sends a text message to someone, and leaves to go to the restroom. Meanwhile, Eminem curiously takes out Grey's phone to see what she did, and is confused. He quickly puts the phone back as Grey comes back. Meanwhile, the alternate Eminem raps.
The couple go to a motel room and receive a knock on the door, which Eminem opens but does not see anyone. He has a flashback of the cell phone, which shows 'Unknown caller', and a gun in Grey's car along with the lighter and cigarette. He then tries to strangle his girlfriend, who suddenly disappears, leaving Eminem alone. He picks up Grey's pistol and shoots himself in the jaw, as blood spurts from the back of his head. This also affects the alternate Eminem, who is still in the roadside diner. The video then rewinds, from when Eminem shoots himself, to when the couple go to the diner. The beginning scene repeats itself and Eminem is picked up. They drive off to end the video.
There is confusion surrounding the exact meaning and concept of the music video for "Space Bound". Grey explained her interpretation of the video to MTV, saying that Eminem was trying to depict the reality of relationships, that even the strongest of relationships can fall apart. "Eminem simply becomes company for [his girlfriend], and she mistakenly takes advantage of that." She said that the video could be interpreted "in many ways". Grey believed that the alternate Eminem who appears in the car is his subconscious.
Jonsin has explained what goes on in the "Space Bound" video. He suggested that viewers watch it multiple times to figure out the concept and draw their own conclusion. He called the video 'tricky', saying that the meaning is not obvious or completely clear in the video and one must watch it a few times to find it. Jonsin spoke about Eminem's two egos seen in the video as well:
It reminded me of Alanis Morissette's 'Ironic' video, where she's got her and her two other egos in the car...I think it was him living in the now as a person going through it and him living as a person who is witnessing it and can make other choices to not be in that scenario. Maybe he would've chose differently, so now he's watching himself.
Reception and controversy
The video received attention from reporters for its shock value owing to Eminem's suicidal scene and the use of a gun for it. Jonsin dismissed the controversy surrounding the graphic suicidal scene, "Things happen in movies all the time...When my kids watch it, I like to explain to them in that manner: 'It's like a movie, ya know? He isn't really killing himself.'" The video was harshly criticized by anti-violence campaigners in the United Kingdom. Anti-violence group, Mothers Against Violence, told the British Daily Mirror, "It's all about the money with these videos. Eminem isn't thinking about the families affected." The music video was both praised by fans and noted for its graphic nature. Before the music video's television premiere in July, editor Kathleen Perricone from the New York Daily News expressed her opinion on the censorship of the video, saying, "Despite the gruesome and violent nature, music networks like MTV and BET have yet to ban the video—or even air it." Josh Grossberg from E! News reacted to the graphic suicide, saying it "sounds like an Eminem video, all right." According to British tabloid The Sun, the song and its music video are similar to the controversial Eminem song, "Kim" from The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). The video was noted as "another dark fantasy and uncomfortable offering from the rapper."
Critics made note of the "Space Bound" music video's similarities with the Kahn-directed "Love the Way You Lie", in which the couple was portrayed by actors. April Chieffo from The Celebrity Cafe said, "The video touches on the subject of domestic violence like 'Love the Way You Lie,' but this time there were deadly consequences." Rob Markman quoted about the death scene, "Throughout the video, Eminem follows Grey like a lost puppy. It's when they check into a motel room that the drama unfolds."
As of November 2015, the music video on YouTube has been watched more than 160 million times.
Credits and personnel
- Eminem – songwriter, audio mixer
- Steve McEwan – songwriter, guitars, additional chorus vocals
- Jim Jonsin – songwriter, producer, programming, keyboards
- Mike Strange – recording, audio mixer
- Joe Strange – recording
- Rob Marks – recording, audio mixer
- Jason Wilkie – assistant engineering
- Matt Huber – assistant engineering
- Danny Morris – additional keyboards
Credits adapted from the digital booklet of Recovery.
|Romania (Romanian Top 100)||65|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||34|
|UK R&B (Official Charts Company)||10|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||34|
|US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)||19|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000*|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|United States||March 8, 2011||Rhythmic radio||Shady, Aftermath, Interscope|
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