Eminem
Recovery


3.0
good

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
June 18th, 2010 | 1234 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Guess who's back? Back again? Shady's back! Do with that what you will.

In 2002, Marshall Mathers boasted: “can’t leave rap alone, the game needs me!” It came with the same offhanded cadence he used to use to slam Britney and the FCC, but now it’s 2010, and suddenly… yeah. The game needs Eminem, and needs him in prime form. Think about it: Lil’ Wayne’s in jail. Kanye West, shit-hot “Power” notwithstanding, is still a disgraced punch line. 50 Cent has become a hitless beanpole. And who the fuck is Drake, anyway? Eminem once believed himself to be the most important figure in hip hop, which, for white people, was probably true. To a legion of angsty suburban kids otherwise unschooled in anything hip-hop, Eminem was it: the cultural antichrist just nonthreatening enough to be idolized. And we need Shady back. For a good six years, there’s been a Slim-shaped hole in our hearts, torn open when Eminem shat out Encore. For a good six years, the real Slim Shady’s been floundering in a pill-addicted stupor. And it’s no overstatement to say that, hell, we’ve missed him. We’ve missed the Shady who mocked pop culture from the pedestal he built for himself. We’ve missed the Shady who always seemed a hair away from going apeshit and missed even more the Shady who actually went apeshit. And with Recovery, we get him back.

Kind of.

See, as much as pop culture needs Marshall, Marshall needs pop culture. Recovery is easily Eminem’s most important album, not just for his career, but also for himself. This album is audible therapy, complete with several cuts of Eminem apologizing, taking responsibility for being a terrible rapper, and promising to get better. You know, rehab shit. It’s literally a recovery, with all the good and bad implications a recovery entails. First off, yes, Eminem doesn’t suck anymore, so rejoice! Eminem has relearned how to spit fire, and it’s easy to declare Recovery a fully successful comeback for Em when he leads with some of his most jaw-dropping verses since Eminem Show on “Cold Wind Blows.” For precious moments on Recovery, Eminem sounds like the mischievous little zit we remember from the Marshall Mathers LP, only with the supersized production that’s characterized his latest stuff. But Recovery also features Em working the demons out of his system, which means all of Em’s dirty laundry: not just the drug use, but the domestic strife, the well-tread conflict over being a ho-stabbing rapper and a father, the grief over Proof’s death. We’re not getting Marshall Mathers: The Character here, but Marshall Mathers: The Somewhat Normal, Post-Prime Middle-Aged Man whose myriad complexes are about as interesting as any other post-prime middle-aged man’s. Which is to say: not very.

I’m not trying to fault Eminem for apologizing, because shit, we needed an “I’m sorry” to take him seriously after Encore and Relapse. That’s why “Not Afraid,” though a pretty crappy single even by Em’s slipping standards, had to be the first single. It’s a track that gives us a reason to care about Eminem again. Actually, strike that: It’s a reason for us to give Eminem a chance again. It’s the verses on “Cold Wind Blows,” “Won’t Back Down,” and “On Fire” that are why you should care again. The soap opera that runs throughout the rest of the album lands as overkill, pleas for us to pay attention against insufficient reason to. It’s not that he’s being fake about it; Em’s conviction on the forgiveness and pity-grabbing tracks is fierce, like he’s desperately trying to make amends for Encore and Relapse, the latter of which he admits on “Not Afraid” to be a steaming pile of donkey shit (though I think he uses the term “ehh”). But self-deprecation is a horrible color on Eminem, and it certainly doesn’t suit him as well as, say, pissing on B-list celebrities and beating the shit out of Kim. Still, this is the new Em, post drugs, a hair more sane (though really, with “Warning” and “Despicable” released as pre-Recovery teasers, we know he’s still crazy as fuck) and ready to love.

Not that Recovery truly masks the Shady half of Slim; the old, vitally mad Eminem still pops out, eyes bulging, ready to bring down the world. Even if his targets are a little stale (Elton John? Michael Vick? Michael J. Fox (twice)? Really???), the songs where he’s in attack mode land better because they’re reminiscent of an Em who used to shit on chart topping pop stars instead of collaborate with them. (Which reminds me: how are all the guest spots on Recovery this awful? I mean Pink’s always been terrible but Marshall somehow gets Rihanna and Lil Wayne to suck themselves into an endless vortex of awful Eminem hooks.) Eminem may not be as tuned into the zeitgeist as he once was, but we can forgive him because at least on these tracks he’s spitting lightning instead of getting caught up in some other bullshit like battle-rapping about something as inane as stealing an anonymous rapper’s girlfriend with his skillz (“Seduction”). Or using prolonged adolescent Facebook messages to Kim as a metaphor for his feelings on the game (“25 to Life”). Or actually unironically comparing himself to Superman when he has a whole fucking song in his well-known catalogue where he uses the Superman reference to try to fuck bitches. But no, the fiery Eminem is not the Em we’re meant to see on Recovery. Instead we get a vulnerable, wounded man who just wants one more chance to make amends.

And yeah, he earns the forgiveness and respect he craves with some occasionally killer verses and actually funny jokes, but make no mistake, Recovery is an exorcism of the demons that made Encore and Relapse suck, and so we are treated to verses about hope and beats whose minor-major chord changes are supposed to offer inspiration. We are treated to Important Topic Eminem and here, Important Topic Eminem is the worst Eminem. I guess, though, he couldn’t have really done Recovery any other way. I mean, after a career nosedive as sharp as the one he took, Recovery had to be this wrought. And with the demons gone, maybe Eminem actually will release a real return to form in full instead this flashes-of-former-brilliance mixed bag. Recovery still lacks many things that once made Eminem amazing, like crisp beats and sufferable hooks (seriously, they’re that bad). Perhaps he could’ve used some more assistance from a Doctor too busy going through his own Detox to help Eminem through his. But for now, we’ll take Recovery for what it is. This is Eminem getting over Eminem, and we’re going to be excited about it because, let’s face it: Shady’s back. Tell a friend.



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user ratings (1805)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

hopefully this is clean don't have the time to proofread it goodnight

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Counterfeit
June 18th 2010


17819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

omg a review. but a 3? ewwy.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


31401 Comments


Predicts 10 pages before logging on tomorrow morning

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


31401 Comments


Yes, very

Counterfeit
June 18th 2010


17819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

About 25 to Life, I honestly think that is about hip-hop, and not Kim. It sounds like it is but in the second verse it really switches to hip-hop and just seems like it's using Kim as a metaphor for it.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
June 18th 2010


3775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love this review.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

Ire
June 18th 2010


41805 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Sonicspeed will be bummed. Review is entertaining.

Satellite
June 18th 2010


20826 Comments


Good review. It honestly doesn't read like a 3, though.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

meh could go for a 2.5 at lowest. i think my general point in this review is "yeah it's good, but..." which translates to a 2.5 or a 3

Counterfeit
June 18th 2010


17819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah pitchfork is stoopid

Satellite
June 18th 2010


20826 Comments


Actually I was thinking that the review comes off as more positive than your ranking indicates. I guess it's really moot, though.

O.J. Simpson
June 18th 2010


408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

agree, like, mega hard

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


28705 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol all those shitty indie choruses and the hooks bug you here [2]

rofl


Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

lol oh okay that i don't see

@satellite

Counterfeit
June 18th 2010


17819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Quoting myself

"About 25 to Life, I honestly think that is about hip-hop, and not Kim. It sounds like it is but in
the second verse it really switches to hip-hop and just seems like it's using Kim as a metaphor for
it."

Anyone else agree, or should I just sit silently in the corner?

CelestialDust
June 18th 2010


3156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

first eminem album i can get into

Bulldog
June 18th 2010


3796 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

not on target with my rating and i wouldve liked you to expound on the beats more but great review nonetheless

Satellite
June 18th 2010


20826 Comments


No, you're definitely right feit. It's not really that subtle of a metaphor.

Counterfeit
June 18th 2010


17819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Go jack off to lil b bulldog. jk but this is crazy good.

@satellite, alright haha. Just making sure. And falsifying a staff review
:P

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2010


28705 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol sixer isnt really staff



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