Review Summary: Too much filler and genuinely bad material for it to sound as though Eminem is taking the release seriously enough to live up to his name.
Eminem has had an up and down career to say the least. From his mediocre debut Infinite he evolved considerably to the point of releasing three of the finest rap albums of all time in his three run stretch from The Slim Shady LP to The Eminem Show before slowly regressing to the point of the mediocrity found on Relapse, although some would still consider Encore to be worse. However on Recovery things have got even worse with this being the most painfully average album the rapper has ever released despite the fact some of the songs on it show a huge leap forward and being some of the strongest material he has put out since The Eminem Show.
To elaborate a little on the styling of this release would be to say that this is the curse-happy rapper of the past fifteen years without the dark humor that made him so great in the first place. In its place we have a more serious lyrical tone to this release with several of the songs delivering a message of never giving up and even more of them being mournful songs to his fallen friend Proof. In changing his focus and topics it would appear that Eminem has lost some of the impact on the listener, with the profanity ridden nonsense being half-shouted throughout much of this release carrying all of the energy and yet lacking the vibrant enthusiasm found on his better releases.
The songs themselves on here are well written enough but lack the power that was found on earlier albums. Admittedly Eminem is not as youthful as the Eminem that shrieked such intense hip hop songs as Kim just as his career was taking off, and this has definitely impacted somewhat on the performance found here from the rapper. Some of the beats on here are as bland as it can get with only You're Never Over standing out amidst the samey mixture of drums, bass and the frequent samples. The guest appearances on here do very little to add to the album with Pink and Rihanna single handedly killing off their respective song's credibility by attempting to turn them into soul-filled ballads and Lil Wayne threatening to ruin No Love which happens to be one of the most respectable songs on the album containing a tight performance from Eminem.
Other than No Love the finest songs found on here would be Talkin 2 Myself and the aforementioned You're Never Over. The former is an apology to the fans for Eminem's drug abusing behavior of previous years and You're Never Over manages to be an incredibly powerful tribute to Proof containing the most beautifully written verse on the album to close it off. You're Never Over is the only song from Eminem's last three albums that actually comes close to his earlier material in terms of creativity, but in overall sound both No Love and Talkin 2 Myself rank up there as some of his best songs to date. Unfortunately whilst Love The Way You Lie worked as a single it is a momentum killer on this release with an annoying chorus that manages to destroy the song completely. The opening song feels like a flurry of pointless cussing and Not Afraid, despite its positive message of never giving up, manages to be yet another song that suffers from being over played.
For the most part this remains Eminem's worst album for the simple reason that Encore and Relapse were albums full of mediocre songs with one or two standouts, whereas the standouts on Recovery are the only moments of credibility the album has. The beats are bland and the lyrics are nothing special resulting in a collection of overly processed poorly written songs that lack an ounce of the genius that made his previous releases so good. Pick up the mentioned standout songs and stay as far away from the rest as possible.