On this day, exactly 3 years ago (February 5, 2014), Eminem released “Headlights,” featuring Nate Ruess, as fifth and final single. It features production from Emile Haynie, Jeff Bhasker, and Eminem himself. In the song, Eminem apologizes to his mother, Debbie Mathers, for criticizing her in his earlier songs and for showing scorn and resentment towards her in the past.
The song peaked at #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also entered into the top charts in 5 different countries that includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland and United Kingdom. The song also peaked at #11 on US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song went platinum in Australia.
“Headlights” was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Julie Leconte of Now Magazine said: “The track’s genius partially lies in the anticipatory tension it creates in the listener.” Colin McGuire of PopMatters said that the song “gives us quite possibly the most touching moment Em has ever put on wax.” Andy Gill of The Independent also praised the track, calling it “an almost shockingly apologetic love-letter to the mother he once denigrated so viciously.” Edna Gundersen of USA Today stated that “it’s an admirable confession but a so-so track”.
In an interview with Zane Lowe Eminem says: “It was one of those things that’s bothered me for a little bit. It was one of those things that I needed to get off my chest. So I don’t really have anything to elaborate or expand on that record other than everything that I needed to say, I put on that record.”