Songbird says, “Just like Eminem (who obviously did not drown, contrary to the above lyrics), Collins was using a metaphor.”
I’m not sure this is an accurate statement, because there shouldn’t be anything in the quoted lyrics which Eminem not having drowned would be contrary to. (Boy is that an awkward sentence.)
“Stan” is an epistolary (sp?) story (that is, one presented as letters and documents, like Stoker’s Dracula); in the story, the title character apparently does actually drive off a bridge and drown, and the words quoted are ostensibly Stan’s. The song (and the quoted passage) is hypothetical, not metaphorical.
It’s a trivial point, not sure why I’m bothering to highlight it, other than I’ve caught more than one news story criticizing this single on the usual “Oh, god, these lyrics!” and then quoting lines out of context as if they were the artist’s own opinions. As my brother put it, “Don McLean aside, do these critics also think Mick Jagger actually believes he’s Lucifer because of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’?”