Review Summary: Relapse - (n.) To regress after partial recovery from illness.
After a 5 year hiatus from rap (not counting The Re-Up), Eminem has finally returned to the genre that he dominated in the late 90's and early 00's. But after much promise coming out of his addiction, the result is not at expectations.
Just as Marilyn Manson's Eat Me Drink Me disappointed fans for losing its shock value, Eminem's previous album Encore disappointed fans for being toned down with less inspired lyrics. As expected from any fanbase, a comeback album would be greatly sought for. Eminem's latest endeavor is however is very much average.
That is not to say that the album doesn't shine at times. Unlike Encore, Eminem has returned to his freestyle like lyricism and shock value tactics that were used in albums such as The Slim Shady LP. In this album, Eminem tackles subjects such as pedophilia, murder, drugs and, of course, his mother. Celebrities such as Sarah Palin and Kim Kardashian are also lambasted in his obvious first single We Made You. While those songs are fun and all, the true gems in the album are the ones where he shows the most maturity and seriousness. Songs such as Beautiful and Underground (and partially Deja Vu) show his inner turmoil without sounding sappy. Every emotion in those two songs can be taken seriously.
Which adds to the problem in the album. Eminem has returned from rehab after a painful addiction to pills and he wants to do jokey, punch line songs? While the wordplay is what you'd expect from him, he has cranked an album that is rather immature considering the subject matter involved. While doing the Ass Like That voice and talking about his mom can be alright, the album would benefit more with a serious tone. Along with that, Dr. Dre's beats sound rushed and overdone. Almost every song is a heavy bass piano/horns beat that begins to grow tedious as the album progresses.
Perhaps it is the pressure from fans to return the the "old em" or "slim shady". Perhaps five years of absence has made him a little rusty. Whatever happened, improvement should be able to come. Eminem had delayed the release of Relapse 2 and that is something to be thankful for.