Eminem has been pretty quiet over the last few years. As hip-hop grows, he's been quietly watching and plotting his next release, making occasional appearances (like on the Suicide Squad soundtrack and Big Sean's I Decided.). The world has been waiting for Eminem to make a real comeback, though, as hip-hop can't go forward too much without its rawest force.
The thing to Eminem is his intensity. For some, it'll be the factor that drives them away, but if you're prepared to accept it, you'll be welcomed to a world of real emotion. Every word that comes out of his mouth feels charged to some degree, emitting some emotion and energy with it. Not a single bar is wasted. Eminem got especially real in Recovery, his uber-successful 2010 record.
Recovery sees Eminem at his finest, as well at his most accessible. Back in 2010 and 2011, you couldn't escape some of the singles this album spawned. Despite that, catchiness wasn't the only factor that launched those singles into success. The rawness of their situations is what really made them resonate. When Eminem sets out to make a point, he makes sure it's seen through to the end. Tracks like 'W.T.P.' just destroy their subject while still maintaining great musical moments (the chorus is classic Em'), whereas other tracks like 'Space Bound' tell dark stories.
The dark side to this album is the most powerful. The acoustic "ballad" that is 'Space Bound' tells the story of a promising relationship that turned abusive, and on a wider scale, looking at the past and asking what could have been different. On a similar subject is 'Love The Way You Lie' featuring Rihanna - this song needs no introduction, literally everyone has heard it before. The song is all about abusive relationships and how it can be hard to escape them. 'Going Through Changes' has a dark story to tell, as well, as it discusses drug abuse and how it can affect a life. Eminem talks about his ex-wife, his children, and everything as factors that keep him going, but the temptation to escape all the pain is just as great. It's a struggle that's addressed in single 'Not Afraid,' a song that's confident that you can stand up against your demons while the world backs you.
Outside of the storytelling is simply just Eminem's voice. There's no one that phrases things or delivers things quiet like him. His music almost always has a semi-sarcastic tone to it. For example, opening track 'Cold Wind Blows' has plenty of genuinely hilarious lines in it (the first line is literally "You can get the dick, just call me the ball sack, I'm nuts" - that's amazing, and the little "skit" thing that happens when he's getting shot is brilliant), but still has this badass personality to it in Em's fiery delivery. Closing track 'Untitled' has an almost carnival sound to it (the Lesley Gore sample definitely helps add to that) with its punchiness and orchestral backing, but if you listen to the words, it's pretty brutal. The only person who could achieve such a sound with such creativity in a flawless way is Eminem.
There's so much more to comment on with Recovery, but that's left to you to discover. Every listen to a song reveals more about it, whether it's a subtle emotion or some new detail that's hidden in there. Recovery is the story of anger, love, and hatred, sometimes all at once and other times by themselves. It's a wild, thrilling album from start to finish, and Eminem really got real on some tracks. That's to be expected from the rap god himself. We're hoping he finally steps out of the shadows and hits 2017 hard with a new record - keep your fingers crossed.
Favorite Tracks: Love The Way You Lie, 25 To Life, Won't Back Down, Cold Wind Blows
Least Favorite Track: Talkin' 2 Myself
Rating: 92 / 100
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