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Album Review: Eminem – “Recovery”

EmRecoveryBy Mark Thomas
Hip Hop Vibe staff writer

Everyone out there checked out the new Eminem album, Recovery? Well if not…what the hell are you waiting for? Em is back, and now we’re talking about the true Em, the old school Em we all knew and loved.

Em’s last two albums left a bit to be tired–funny and entertaining as always, with some great punchlines that we always come to expect–but the overall experience left a lot to be desired. Relying too much on celebrity punching bag topics and the “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” voice, the overall effect of his last album, “Relapse” and the previous “Encore” was a letdown to a lot of his hardcore fans, myself being one of the many.

Fans disappointed by those two albums can rejoice–he truly is back, bringing both his wit and humor with savage punchlines, but also some heavy and deep poignancy throughout the album. Women and relationships reign heavy as topic for the album, displayed in many tracks throughout. A new aspect to Eminem he has never tried on a studio album before is female guest spots. Two are featured on this album, Pink on the track “Won’t Back Down” and Rihanna on the track(now receiving radio play), “Love the Way You Lie.” Personally I am a definite fan of both, but the Rihanna track stands out as easily one of the top 3 tracks on the album, with a great beat, catchy chorus from Rihanna, and powerful lyrics. It’s a tale of the deep love and hate of a chaotic relationship, with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and it’s a heavy hitter with great Em verses and the beautiful voice of Rihanna on the chorus.

I try to pick only a few favorite tracks, but that’s near impossible for me. It’s easier to pick my least favorite tracks to be honest. “Cold Wind Blows,” the album opener, for me is too much a return to what I consider the ‘bad Eminem,’ the one who relies on nonsensicality and vulgarity not with purpose, but just to be off the wall. While it can hit a home run at times if clever, too often he just comes off gross and nonsensical. It may be enertaining for some, but I prefer the clever Eminem, whose punchlines, humor and wit are unmatched in 95% of current hip hop. The only other track that doesn’t wow me, but certainly isn’t terrible, is “So Bad.” Again, nothing terrible about it, but it just doesn’t have much of a ‘wow’ factor about it.

I will mention my definitive favorite tracks on Recovery. Hands down favorite is “Almost Famous”–just chock full of incredible punchlines, wit and charm. A track about Em’s warnings to anyone out there who craves the life of fame. Another brilliant track is “Space Bound,” an outer space quirky love track about being so in love with someone who, when she stops loving him, he can’t live any longer. The aforementioned “Love the Way You Lie” is probably the catchiest and most addictive track on the album, with a great beat, catchy hook, and powerful relationship message. And finally, myself being a fan often of Em’s heavier tracks, I do love both the Ozzy Osbourne sampled track “Going Through Changes,” and the album closer(minus bonus tracks), “You’re Never Over.” Both cover a range of topics of the challenges in Em’s life with his divorce and separation from his wife Kim, the challenges of raising his daughter in that environment, and the loss of his best friend and member of D12, Proof.

I could write so much more, but that would be slowing you down from what you should be doing if you haven’t already–going out and getting this album! If you truly love hip hop, you won’t be disappointed. Em was a bit of a letdown with his previous two, but he is BACK in a big way. Enjoy.

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