Album Review: Eminem - Relapse

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 11:32 AM

“I know some shit’s so hard to swallow, but I just can’t sit back and wallow in my own sorrow but I know one fact: I’ll be one tough act to follow…”

Artist: Eminem
Album: Relapse
Release Date: 5.19.09

Returning from a 5-year musical hiatus, Eminem offers his sixth studio album, Relapse. At this point in his career, Em’s an old dog that isn’t learning any new tricks, so with this album he does the only thing left to do: he does his old tricks in new ways. There really isn’t much within the mind of Marshall Mathers much we don’t already know. Every album has been a revelation of some page in his misshapen life, this one slightly more traumatically divulging than the first five, as he explores his issues with drug abuse while, in typical Eminem fashion, poking fun at an unsuspecting (and uncaring) targets. While Relapse sees no shortness in puns and punchlines, it breaks no new ground in the Shady story, making this return from his hiatus seem like more of a grandstand stunt in an effort to reassure his fans (and himself) that he’s still got it, and to prove himself worthy of a slot on everyone’s ‘Best Rapper’ list.

The best way to promote an Eminem album is to, of course, pick a fight. The victim this time: Mariah Carey and, by association of marriage, Nick Cannon. His weapon of choice, Bagpipes From Baghdad, a raunchy recount of his short fling with Mariah while taunting America’s favorite cornball Cannon over a bagpipe-accompanied track. Shady chronicles his recent drug addiction on Déjà vu, a sadly honest yet weirdly entertaining description of his fall into substance abuse and dependence. Beautiful is the standout track of the album, sampling Queen’s somber hit Reaching Out. It’s mildly inspirational, and Mathers stakes his claim as “one tough act to follow”. I’d also recommend the songs Medicine Ball, , 3 A.M., and Underground. The rest of the album is more of his tongue-in-cheek rants, and tales of fictional murder, mayhem and eery sex. In fact, the numerous skits throughout the project prove to be more entertaining.

I’m unashamed to say I was a fan of Eminem’s music, he’s an extremely talented lyricist and knows how to make attention-grabbing singles, but I can only take Eminem in small doses. This album, though humorous in part, is excessively depressing and overdone on the graphic imagery. The truth of the matter is that Dr. Dre outshines his pupil on this album, contributing all but one track. Overall, it’s a decent album, but not great by any standards. There's more to hip-hop than punchlines and shock value.

Sound-Savvy officially rates Relapse with 3 out of 5 platinum headphones.

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