Eminem
Recovery


1.5
very poor

Review

by Joseph Viney STAFF
January 2nd, 2011 | 50 replies | 11,750 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The man born Marshall Mathers III comes closer to being dubbed The Great White Dope.

We all know the routine by now: “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?”, “Hi, my name is…”. The man who’s first two major-label albums were eponymous has always been keen to introduce and re-introduce himself to his audience. After the first two albums, both of which were savage, rhythmic and dazzlingly coherent, Eminem descended into something of a rough patch. He aimed his ire at George Bush and the War On Terror (“Mosh”), conflicts between fellow rappers (“Like Toy Soldiers”) and finally lapsed into some truly dreadful self-referential work that bordered on parody (“Just Lose It”, “Without Me”).

After the tired efforts of the previous two LPs Encore and Relapse, surely the time is right for the comeback of the man who caused such a storm of controversy when he was turned loose on the mainstream consciousness?

There are more things wrong with Recovery then there are right with it. It could be argued that this LP is a transitional effort, the musical version of a bike with stabilisers, but for an artist who has shown the heights he can reach and how effectively he uses words as a weapon there should be no room for transitional records.

Eminem’s penchant for cultural references is tired and beaten to death here. Michael Jackson, one of his more regular targets, is dug from his grave and mocked. Michael J. Fox is mentioned twice within the first four songs; making fun of a man stricken with Parkinson’s disease is neither big nor indeed clever. One of his more reliable and safe fall-backs, his mother, is dusted off once more and cops more flak for a poor childhood and resulting adulthood anger and frustration. Opener “Cold Wind Blows” contains all three aforementioned references alongside some rather cringe worthy use of expletives.

Self-deprecation was always the name of the game for Eminem and he has never been afraid to highlight his own problems and poke fun at his image and personality, but the album is weighed down by a very maudlin sense of apology. On “Talkin’ 2 Myself” he immediately apologises to his followers (“Encore I was on drugs, Relapse I was flushing them out…”) and it seems that on every track he’s apologising for himself, his music, his personal life and just about everything else in the world. The album suffers as a consequence; Eminem is at his peak when his anger and confusion is pointed towards his contemporaries or society in general.

One huge misfire is “Going Through Changes”, a ballad with an unnecessary Black Sabbath sample as the song’s centrepiece. It’s bad enough that Sabbath’s “Changes” was mutilated by a laughable cover duet between Ozzy and his daughter Kelly, but now it’s been thrown in this album in what seems like a last-minute decision. The song would have benefited from its absence overall. Much the same can be said of “No Love” which is festooned with a perplexing sample of Haddway’s 1993 hit “What Is Love?” Similarly the sample of R.E.M.’s “Drive” on “Space Bound” is equally pointless.

Recovery is less a solo record than a collaborative effort. Across the 15 tracks there are 17 different producers (usual cohort Dr. Dre having been reduced to just one production credit this time around), yet despite all of this help (some may call it interference) there is nothing musically that stands out. Most of the rhythms, beats and instrumentation is flat, formulaic and uninspiring. “Recovery” also features three heavyweight cameos from Pink (“Won’t Back Down”), Lil Wayne (“No Love”) and Rihanna (“Love The Way You Lie”); three stars arguably at the peak of their pop powers. Years ago there would have been a time where every pop musician and rapper, from the best to the worst, will have been begging to guest on an Eminem album. Now, however, you suspect the aforementioned three are doing Eminem a favour this time; giving him an in-road to the ears of a new generation of music buyers who may even see Eminem as a spent relic already.

Recovery contains nothing to show that the Eminem of old has returned to the peak of his powers. It is missing the savage but controlled words of his first two efforts, the humour of the D12 albums and the fire that propelled his career early on. Now he’s seems like somebody who is desperately trying to reclaim his old position; too many pointless words are spouted on Recovery and the vast majority of them miss their mark. The real Slim Shady can do no more than sit down these days.



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user ratings (1710)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Superb, superb writing. I disagree wholeheartedly but this is a fantastic review. Pos.

Tyrael
January 2nd 2011



20394 Comments


Better than mine, pos.

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

rocker23472654812314
January 2nd 2011



66 Comments


there are some very talented reviewers on this site

bloodybeer
January 2nd 2011



31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow I was going to write my first review for this album and than like two new reviews in quick time appear -.-'
Nice review but like knott said I disagree, although not entirely.

PinkBlackberry
January 2nd 2011



2346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree with Knot, I think the review is extremely well written. But I disagree whole heartedly with the rating, although a lot of the points you make are pretty damn good.

AggravatedYeti
January 2nd 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

this well written review pretty much wholeheartedly expresses my opinion.

Buccaneer
January 2nd 2011



692 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This review is brilliant, and I found myself agreeing with a lot of your points. That said, I still found this album quite enjoyable

Eclectic
January 2nd 2011



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Opener “Cold Wind Blows” contains all three aforementioned references alongside some rather cringe worthy use of expletives.

If you could please point out the Michael Jackson reference and where he complains about his mother, that would be much appreciated.

climactic
January 2nd 2011



17155 Comments


too many out-of-place samples, not enough signature Em lyrics, horrible choruses, ugh

might bump down to a 2

Thompsonhunt
January 2nd 2011



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

his first two albums were funny as shit, but he really didn't say anything true about his life. This album doesn't seem like a cry for his previous position but an outlet for all of his built up anxieties and insecurities. His flow and lyrical content is far more deep than his other efforts. Good writing in the review... but somewhat off.



climactic
January 2nd 2011



17155 Comments


first two album were the best bro

OutOfMyself
January 2nd 2011



688 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Tried to give this another chance just to make sure I wasn't missing something during my last listen. I guess I didn't.

mutatedfreek
January 2nd 2011



7351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah so this is a fantastic review.

conradtao
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011



2088 Comments


This was a good review, and you make several excellent points. Pos. However...

'The man who’s first two major-label albums were eponymous'

...should be "whose".

Urinetrouble
January 2nd 2011



5695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

excellent review

deathofasalesman
January 2nd 2011



5743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I feared this was gonna be another bash at Em but this was surprisingly well-written.

TBliss
January 2nd 2011



987 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really great review man, pos.

illmitch
January 2nd 2011



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nice review, definitely agree

There are more things wrong with Recovery then there are right with it


then should be than

theacademy
January 2nd 2011



27669 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

not as well written as the comments suggest but it seems much more honest than downer's review

Bob Saget
January 2nd 2011



49 Comments


I agree, Em misremembers what made him good, and his comeback effort is awful because of it.



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