Review Summary: It's about 10% as good as The Marshall Mathers LP, so how much did you enjoy that?
Let’s cut to the chase; the big, massive problem with Relapse
is that it isn’t The Marshall Mathers LP
. People can bitch about how “Oh no, it’s not that, it’s that he isn’t INTO it anymore”. Same stuff, people. Eminem is about 9 years older, well into his 30’s, and if you think he is going to make a song like “Kim” or “Kill You” when he has a teenage kid and a fiscal empire to protect, well, you are pretty naive. Relapse
has the same feeling as Encore
did and to a lesser extent, The Eminem Show
. It ends up landing in the middle of those two, quality wise, and while it surely isn’t up to his potential, it certainly smacks expectations.
A couple of the songs are god awful of course. “We Made You” is probably the worst song Eminem has ever made that is not on Encore
, with probably the most offensive use of his new accent. Despite a surprisingly good chorus, Em really stinks up the rest of the song. Then there are the two odes to marijuana, “Old Time’s Sake” and “Must be the Ganja”, which are just retarded songs on the level of “Puke” (Dre’s verse on the former however is up to his usual standards, though).
Most of the other songs are pretty much just new Eminem songs, if you catch my drift. “3am” can get kind of grating because of his accent (who the hell knows why he has decided to adopt it), but otherwise it is one of the biggest throwback songs on the record. “My Mom” is total filler, but isn’t a disgrace to his name besides the weird whiney chorus. To create a trio of mediocre songs, “Bagpipes from Baghdad” features a pretty ill beat but idiotic lyrics targeting Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. Who cares?
I suppose you could say that’s what is wrong with Relapse
, it is almost completely non-sequitur, with no real lyrical substance until the last half of the album. While “Same Song & Dance” shares this, the beat is still something startling for an Eminem song, with a breathy female “ah” in the background. While it is undeniably retro Dre and sounds like something you would have heard in 2002, once you get over the pretension of expecting a revolution, it’s really easy to just enjoy. Outside of the three previously mentioned tracks, after this point the album gets a lot more on point and consistent.
While a number of the other songs are solid, the two standout tracks from the album come right at the end; “Beautiful” and “Underground”. “Beautiful” sees Em tackle the issue that everyone else has been discussing, whether or not he should continue on in hip hop. A strong beat and atmosphere, as Em really reveals his intentions and contemplates whether or not he is done with pretty much everything he has accomplished in the past 10 years. “Underground” has one of the best beats he has ever gotten to utilize, and while the lyrical results are more wtf? than insightful, it’s still a sick song.
Really, most Eminem fans are going to think this is garbage because it is sort of what Eminem set out NOT to create in his early career. It’s a lot of more laid back rhymes and less abrasive beats, and songs that are better enjoyed as commercial pop songs than deep underground classics. He is a completely different artist then he was 9 years ago, and while it is easy to dismiss this as merely completely losing it, it’s more reasonable to just realize he is thirty-something now and doesn’t have the bite and edge he did back in the day. Take Relapse
for what it was meant to be, a sometimes silly, sometimes slightly deeper work from Eminem that was made as a release for what he had in his mind, and you have a much better chance of enjoying it than if you were looking for a real “return to form”.
Of course, I’m just kidding. Relapse