When I'm Gone (Eminem song)

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"When I'm Gone"
Single by Eminem
from the album Curtain Call: The Hits
Released December 6, 2005
Format CD single, 12" vinyl
Recorded March 2004-05
Genre Conscious hip hop, alternative hip hop
Length 4:41
Label Aftermath, Interscope, Shady
Writer(s) M. Mathers, Jonathan Kastner
Producer(s) Eminem, Luis Resto (add.)
Eminem singles chronology
"Welcome 2 Detroit"
"When I'm Gone"
"Shake That"
Curtain Call: The Hits track listing
"Just Lose It"
"When I'm Gone"
"Stan" (live)

"When I'm Gone" is the lead single taken from American rapper Eminem's first compilation album Curtain Call: The Hits. It was released on December 6, 2005, the same day as the album was released. The song charted at number eight on the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart,[1] number 22 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart,[1] number four on the UK Singles Chart[2] and on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, it is the only country where it charted number one.[3]


“When I’m Gone” was written in 2003 and released in 2005 by Shady Records, on the album “Curtain Call: The Hits”. It was thought at the time that this album would mark the beginning of an extended musical hiatus for Eminem, who had said "I'm at a point in my life right now where I feel like I don't know where my career is going ... This is the reason that we called it 'Curtain Call', because this could be the final thing. We don't know." When you hear the curtain close at the end of the song, that could mean that he is retiring to get his life back into order. The song's lyrics pertain to Eminem's life as a celebrity musician interfering with his family. Eminem uses imagery to evoke a feeling of sadness about his family falling apart. He raps, “I take a bow and thank you all for coming out they're screaming so loud, I take one last look at the crowd I glance down, I don't believe what I'm seeing "Daddy it's me, help Mommy, her wrists are bleeding," But baby we're in Sweden, how did you get to Sweden? "I followed you Daddy, you told me that you weren't leavin'"You lied to me Dad, and now you make Mommy sad”. At the beginning of the song, he uses the saying of "giving an arm for someone", and repeats it as a literal meaning, referencing his tattoo of his daughter Hailie, in the line "Have you ever loved someone so much you would give an arm for, not the expression, no, literally give an arm for". It also has the sound of curtains closing and crowd clapping at the end of the song. In the music video after rapping the line, he touches his arm where his tattoo of Hailie is. This song is very special because what is described in it is the exact opposite of what is happening in reality. At the beginning of the second verse, Eminem says "I keep having this dream," and goes on to describe his daughter's oppositions to Eminem's traveling, his wife's suicide attempt, and the divorce between Kim Mathers and Eminem. Then, at the end of the third verse, Eminem "wakes up" and finds that everything is alright. However, right now, Eminem is stuck in this "dream" and is expressing his feelings on how much he wants to get out.[4] The music video for the song was directed by Anthony Mandler. Tarick Salmaci, from the TV show The Contender, makes an appearance in the video with his wife.

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic wrote a mixed to positive overview: "There's the closing "When I'm Gone," a sentimental chapter in the Eminem domestic psychodrama that bears the unmistakable suggestion that Em is going away for a while. While it's not up to the standard of "Mockingbird," it is more fully realized than the two other new cuts here..."[5] Pitchfork considered: "When I'm Gone" is an all desolate placeholder-- lesser version of Eminem songs that already piss me off. "Gone" is the worst offender, yet another love letter from Em to daughter Hailie, it, like Encore's "Mockingbird", is heavy-handed and saccharine."[6] IGN also panned the single: "The latter, however, is another prime example of the beat dragging Eminem down. The sluggish, lumbering bump causes his lyrics to stumble and sound forced in their delivery. The heartfelt storyline would have been better served drenched in some warm, fuzzy, but ultimately mournful soul instead."[7] NME called this song disappointing.[8] Sputnik Music wrote a mixed review: "Eminem gives a powerful vocal performance, with some rather touching lyrics and a nice chorus. However, much like much of his previous work on Encore, it gets bogged down in a repetitive and boring beat."[9] Rolling Stone agreed.[10]

Music video[edit]

The music video starts with Eminem rapping on a podium about his life at a small gathering. He's at an open house where he completely ignores his daughter's creations but before he can see the error of his actions, it is too late. As he watches her walk away, he raps Then turn right around in that song and tell her you love her/And put hands on her mother, who's a spitting image of her, feeling remorse for writing songs about being violent towards Kim, who is Hailie's mother, and wonders how he could be a good parent. Then, he is confronted by his daughter piling boxes in front of the door to prevent him from leaving. He convinces his daughter to let him go but she insists to give him a necklace with her picture. Then, he finds himself in a hotel room and then on a stage where he raps. At the end of his performance on the stage, he finds his daughter has followed him and tells him of the divorce. Then, he goes backstage as the "bad" Slim Shady and looks in a mirror, where a "good" Eminem punches him through a mirror. He then finds himself back at home playing with his daughters on the swing. The video ends with him being applauded off the podium. Also, the video shows the daughter on the swing on numerous occasions. The video features actresses as his daughter Hailie Jade Mathers and his ex-wife Kim Mathers, from whom Eminem was divorced when the song was released. Kim's daughter Whitney Laine Scott, whom Eminem thinks of as his own daughter, is also featured as herself towards the end of the video. She is the younger girl on the swing, at the moment in the lyrics when he says "Hailie just smiles and winks at her little sister".[11][12]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[13]
  1. "When I'm Gone" (Explicit Version) – 4:41
  2. "Business" (Explicit Version) – 4:11
  3. "When I'm Gone" (Instrumental) – 4:42
  1. "When I'm Gone" (Explicit Version) – 4:41
  2. "Business" (Explicit Version) – 4:11
  3. "When I'm Gone" (Instrumental) – 4:41
  4. "When I'm Gone" (Video) – 4:41
  • German CD single[15]
  1. "When I'm Gone" (Explicit Version) – 4:41
  2. "Business" (Explicit Version) – 4:11


Chart (2005–06) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[3] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[16] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[17] 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[18] 26
Eurochart Hot 100 (Billboard)[19] 3
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[20] 3
Germany (Media Control AG)[21] 6
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 5
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[23] 6
New Zealand (RIANZ)[24] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[25] 4
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 7
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[2] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[28] 8
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[29] 96
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[30] 13
US Rap Songs (Billboard)[31] 22
US Pop 100 (Billboard)[32] 7


  1. ^ a b "Eminem – Charts & Awards – Billboard Singles". allmusic. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Chart Stats – Eminem". Chart Stats. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Eminem – When I'm Gone". australian-charts.com. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  4. ^ Eminem – When I'm Gone Lyrics. Rap Genius.
  5. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Curtain Call: The Hits - Eminem - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Eminem". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Eminem - Curtain Call". IGN. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ "NME Reviews - Eminem: Curtain Call – The Hits - NME.COM". NME.COM. November 30, 2005. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Eminem - Curtain Call: The Hits (album review 2) - Sputnikmusic". Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Eminem Curtain Call: The Hits Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ Eminem – When I'm Gone. YouTube (June 16, 2009).
  12. ^ Kim Mathers Biography. Monstersandcritics.com.
  13. ^ iTunes – Music – When I'm Gone – EP by Eminem. Itunes.apple.com (December 16, 2005).
  14. ^ When I'm Gone: Amazon.co.uk: Music. Amazon.co.uk.
  15. ^ When I'M Gone (2-Track): Amazon.co.uk: Music. Amazon.co.uk.
  16. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone" (in Dutch). ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone" (in French). ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History: European Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Eminem / Single" (in German). musicline.de. Media Control Charts. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Discography Eminem". irish-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 3, 2006" (in Dutch). top40.nl. Dutch Top 40. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Eminem – When I'm Gone" (in German). hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History: Pop Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History: Rap Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Eminem > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Macrovision. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Run It!" by Chris Brown featuring Juelz Santana
ARIA (Australia) number-one single
January 29, 2006
Succeeded by
"Run It!" by Chris Brown featuring Juelz Santana