Release Date: Jun 22, 2010
Record label: Aftermath
P.O.S. :: Chill, dummyDoomtree RecordsAuthor: Patrick TaylorI've been a fan of Stefon "P.O.S." Alexander since his debut nearly 10 years ago. On "Audition" and 2009's "Never Better," he proved himself to be one of the few artists who could successfully meld punk rock and hip-hop. Fellow Minnesotans ….
Eminem is calling a do-over. Last year’s gory Relapse, his first full-length release after a four-year battle with addiction, sold briskly but left many listeners unsatisfied — including, it seems, the rapper himself. ”Them last two albums didn’t count/[2004’s] Encore I was on drugs, Relapse I was flushing ’em out,” he confesses on Recovery‘s ”Talkin’ 2 Myself.” ”I’ve got something to prove to fans, ’cause I feel like I let ’em down.” He’s too hard on himself.
With Recovery it becomes obvious that Eminem's richest albums aren't necessarily his most structurally sound, which isn't much of a surprise when considering the rapper's full-on embrace of flaws and contradictions. This lean, mean bipolar machine began life as Relapse 2, but when Shady decided he wasn't really Shady at the moment and that he was no longer keen on Relapse -- or the last two albums as he states on “Talkin' 2 Myself” -- it became Marshall Mathers time again, so damn any 11th hour issues. This results in an album where a shameless but killer Michael J.
"This time around it's different/ Last two albums didn't count/ Encore I was on drugs/ Rehab I was crushing them out." Criticising your previous work on record is not generally a wise career move, but that's not a consideration bothering Eminem on Talkin' 2 Myself. Not many have built such a career out of forthright introspection – lyrical self-laceration is generally a sign that Marshall Mathers is on form. He's plainly concerned with winning back his place at hip-hop's top table, and Recovery delivers: great punchlines, a refusal to countenance single-syllable rhymes where three will do, and an underlying tone of genuine anger are present in abundance.
Eminem's promise that Recovery would be a true return to form was exciting news. Better yet, he would break Dr. Dre's production stranglehold to rhyme over beats by an array of producers, with guest appearances by pop stars - both refreshing career firsts. [rssbreak] Unfortunately, the results are patchy.
When Eminem made Encore, it felt like his low point—an album full of songs that went for commercial and came off cloying. When a compilation of his greatest hits (Curtain Call) was released, it felt as though he might be done, relegated to the world of producer/all-star guest. The mainstream media had left him for dead, the most recent Vanilla Ice to be thrown to the wolves after a meteoric rise and off-a-cliff fall.
Eminem's career over the last several years is a textbook case of the perils of early sucess. He one of the all time canonical rap albums (the Marshall Mathers LP, easily in the top 20 of the genre), starred in this generation's answer to Saturday Night Fever, and been voted 'best rapper alive' by Vibe (essentially the rap Pulitzer). As a career highlights reel, this is not half bad, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that for most people, a list of accomplishments like this would provide a free pass to retire to San Tropez, play golf all day, eat tons of foie gras and lapse into a comfortable state of perpetual self-satisfaction.
If Eminem’s Relapse sounded staid and remarkably isolated from the rest of hip-hop, then Recovery, its triumphantly titled but grotesquely executed successor, is a clear attempt to align the rapper with the mainstream elite: Lil Wayne surfaces on “No Love,” flowing in his trademark measured drawl, and Pink and Rihanna make formidable appearances. These artists generally make good pop music, but Eminem has no idea how to bring out the best in them. Dr.
Although it happened just a few weeks ago, I have a feeling that listening to Recovery for the first time is something I’ll long remember. Sitting in the passenger seat of my best friend’s car sometime around 2 AM, surrounded by open road and windows, I popped the freshly burnt CD-R into the tray with tired anticipation. The album had just leaked earlier that day, and though we felt spent after some eight or nine hours in the studio recording our own stuff, waiting till tomorrow for new Em was out of the question.
Watching Eminem attempt to re-situate himself in the pop landscape the past year or so has been a bizarre spectacle. He roared out of his post-Encore slumber in early 2009 seeming almost puppyishly eager to rap again, spitting verses for anyone who put him in front of a mic with a desperation that suggested he was making up for lost time. Relapse, his 2009 comeback album, found him trying to scratch and claw his way back into the body of 1999-era Slim Shady, but the effect was similar to Metallica trying to revisit their thrash years with 2008's Death Magnetic: The sound was there; the fury, long gone.
On his seventh album Eminem is more genuinely impassioned than he’s sounded in years. Mike Diver 2010 Although he’s revelled in being divisive throughout his career, Eminem himself sided with the critics after the release of 2009’s Relapse. The rapper’s comeback LP, arriving five years after the so-so Encore preceded a brief musical hiatus, was a huge disappointment.
Eminem is looking for a new doctor. Forget Dre and his beats. There’s only one on Recovery—the certified banger, “So Bad.” No, what Detroit’s favorite son wants is Back to the Future’s Doc Brown and his time-traveling Delorean. Why else would he mention Michael J. Fox on two separate ….
Maybe there should never have been room for Eminem in the first place. Just over a decade ago he emerged as an unlikely worldbeater: a white rapper from Detroit with a vexatious obsession with violence and social dysfunction. His pop megasuccess was serendipitous, explicable by no common measuring sticks. Certainly, in the rear view, it’s tempting to see Eminem’s ascendance as a fluke, never more so than now, several years past his commercial peak.