Review Summary: You can't say Shady is back when it is Eminem and not Shady record. As for Eminem he is ... for better part at least.
A decade ago nothing could separate us from Eminems influence and music. Which wasn’t a bad thing because his first three major LP’s where good (Infinite does not really count). Then Encore was made. Most of the fans where disappointed with a good reason. Although it had a couple of good songs it was mostly uninspired try to sell few more albums (by few I mean millions ). Then we had to wait five more years for his new album and Relapse sadly wasn’t much better than Encore. Those five years in between have been a hell for Shady : He is a drug addict, he loses his best friend, and the spotlight is no longer on him. So what kind of album Eminem needs to make? Exactly the kind he made with Recovery.
What has Recovery given Eminem ? Biggest album of 2010.
This album has his cons and pros : He is no longer using his Encore/Relapse voice, his flow is back for the good part, he is introducing his new self to us and some punch lines are pretty hilarious at last. On the other hand subject matter does not vary too much, guest list could have been better and production is inconsistent at best. Because of production I believe it is the reason we have four types of songs on this album :
1) “I’m back and sorry” songs
2) Songs that will sell well
3) Relapse 2 rejects
4) Songs that don’t really fit in any category
First type of songs are the ones that make Recovery worth it’s name. On them there are some clever punch lines, Eminem introducing new him to us, and apologizing for Encore and Relapse (he has never done that before and good thing is that he has done it now). Clear highlights of this group and album overall are : Talkin’ 2 Myself and Cinderella Man.
Second type is the one that overplayed Love the Way You Lie belong to : female vocals on the chorus, Eminem talking about love problems on the verses (although on 25 to Life it is metaphor for his relationship with industry).
Third type is exactly what you would expect from them. Obviously weakest songs on the album and the subject matter is pretty bad. Although no silly accent here fortunately for us.
Fourth type includes On Fire, Won’t Back Down, No Love and Almost Famous. On Fire is Eminem remembering us he doesn’t like critics with a song in which focus is on great wordplay and not on the beat. Won’t Back Down is a song that would better go with 8 mile soundtrack and it could and should have been better. No Love is another Eminem/Wayne collaboration with great Kanye punch line. Almost Famous is Eminem revisiting his rise to fame and ends up being one of the darker songs on the album.
In the end this is what Relapse should have been. Recovery for Eminem and not for Shady.With more emotional content than it's precursor he tells us what/who motivates him, he begs his fans for mercy and realizes his mistakes. For the first time in almost a decade he makes an album which seems that some work was put in it.