Eminem – Recovery
For an artist who needs no introduction, we’ll just dive right in. I think it’s fair to say that Em is back with a vengeance, and very much wants to be on top again – Recovery might just put him there. His last two albums, Relapse and Encore, took a lot of unnecessary flack. Personally, I enjoyed both releases, but a lot of people viewed Eminem’s career as something that was fleeting right before our eyes. An understandable assumption with rising stars like Kanye West, T.I. and Lil Wayne.
Speaking of which, we find an apologetic Eminem on Recovery. On “Talkin’ 2 Myself”, he explains his jealousy of Lil Wayne’s stardom and tells how he almost wrote diss records about him and Kanye West. He says how thankful he is that he didn’t do it. He also talks about his marriage with Hiphop, and how she mistreated him, despite his unwavering devotion to her. And though he announces his divorce from Hiphop, I wouldn’t take it too seriously, as he also says “I’m back” on more than one occasion.
Not every song has such a self-reflective message, though. An example of this would be “W.T.P.”, an acronym for White Trash Party, which is my personal favorite by the way. You can’t go wrong with talking about white trash up to no good over a tougher-than-nails instrumental – at least Em can’t go wrong. Then you have “Cinderella Man”, a simple but hard track with a chorus that sounds like he hired an all-male acapella singing group.
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard “No Love” featuring Lil Wayne. It has an excerpt from “What is love”, the 1993 mega-hit from Haddaway that immediately became the biggest guido anthem of all time. Somehow, Eminem, Lil Wayne, and producer Just Blaze managed to flip that track into a bonafied – no guidos allowed – Hiphop classic. Awesome.
The big change on this release would be on the production side of things. Usually, you see only Eminem and Dr. Dre on the credits. This time around, there is rare mention of them as he uses Just Blaze and D.J. Khalil for a good bulk of the tracks, along with Mr. Porter, Supa Dups, Emile, Boi 1da, Jim Jonsin, Havoc, and Alex the kid. A wise decision that freed him up to concentrate on lyrics and performance.
The only drawback I found was that the record has a handful of songs with very similar sounding chord progressions and/or melodic structure. This is good for consistency but not so much for variation. If Eminem wasn’t so damn good at what he does, it would be a major problem for me. Fortunately, that isn’t the case.
As far as I’m concerned, if he wanted to sign off and retire after this album, he can do so with a clear conscience. He managed to put together a collection of songs that are sometimes fun, often funny, and other times inspirational. And when I say inspirational, think “Lose Yourself” from the 8 mile soundtrack – revamped, remixed, and put on steroids. You get the impression that he’s letting all of us in just a little deeper than his previous releases allowed. I sense genuine emotion on Recovery; reminding us Eminem is still human, even though he’ll always be a beast on the mic.