When we last heard from Eminem, he was feeding us shit. Not in the way we had come to appreciate from him, either. With Relapse, we dined on a hallow man’s self loathing shit. We topped it off with shitty, uninspired beats. As someone who had previously looked upon Eminem as a mighty figure with the potential to spark a tangible revolution, I was crushed.
When I read that he had planned to release Relapse 2, I figured it might be time to end my fanship with him. It seemed like the most sensible thing to do for both of us. I still checked in from time to time to make sure he was holding up. I read that Relapse 2 was not coming out the way he had anticipated, musically. Poor guy.
But maybe not.
Relapse 2 was so different from the initial intent, that it ceased to be Relapse 2. Rather it mutated in Recovery. I had to listen. I just had to sample a few tracks at least. Okay. I just decided to start at the beginning and let it roll. As the music pressed on, we become acquainted with a new Marshall Mathers – one who has had a massive weight lifted from his shoulders. With the inclusion of strong beats, experimental departures and lyrics that are as positive as they are cutting, I felt that a massive weight had been lifted from me as well. His lyrical denouncing of Relapse also helped. In any case, Eminem has now returned to his rightful place in my heart.
The growth between Relapse and Recovery is immense and multifaceted. He acknowledges a rock bottom he has known well and I mostly believe him when he reminds us of his Phoenix-like escape from that pit. He has regained his ability to be direct, lucid and cognizant. I think we all like him so much better when he is on top of his game.
The music, too, is far more expansive than that on Relapse or its predecessor, Encore. There seems to be a greater focus on detail. The occasional melodic lifts and song-singy vocal cadences give the impression that this album was designed with music in mind – not just beats. Indeed, these songs do sometimes channel some eclectic musical greats. “You’re Never Over” sounds fresh, triumphant and synthed out, similar to the style of B.o.B. “25 to Life,” at least musically, sounds like an outtake from Andre 3000’s The Love Below. “Cinderella Man” smacks of something we may have heard from Kool Keith – or is that Gil Scott-Heron? Oh…and listen to “Space Bound.” Isn’t that a fucking Flaming Lips song?
Don’t get me wrong. They are not all winners. It’s irritating, too, because it could have been a perfect offering, but for it’s girth. Rappers just don’t trim the fat these days. Instead they would rather fill up an entire 70+ minute CD with every single thing they possibly can, quality and consistency be damned. I know a lot of teenyboppers and sports bar morons will disagree with me, but Eminem really really really really really really really should have cut “No Love,” a track featuring Lil Wayne. (Yes. I am aware the inclusion of Lil Wayne guarantees this track will not only not be cut, but will likely be the next single. Groan.) If Wayne’s boring, monotone, machismo “rapping” is not enough to put you off, consider that the whole track relies on a sample of “What Is Love” by Haddaway. That’s barely excusable in the name of irony, let alone “serious” music production. This is easily the worst “song” of the album and perhaps 2010.
I’ll let it go, though, because most everything surrounding that turd island is purposeful, if not brilliant. Quite possibly as good as Idlewild, the last one from our beloved Outkast (though Outkast did utilize a better array of guest appearances, with Lil Wayne in common.) There are no skits on this disc, either. While Eminem’s skits have generally always been concise and amusing, he was correct to keep them away. He’s a bit more serious this time, and it suits him well.
Recovery makes me cheer for Marshall Mathers yet again. I am genuinely happy that he is doing better and I hope it only lifts up from here. Evolved, he can now affect an audience in new ways – far beyond shock, entering into additional realms of unabashed enlightenment.
I haven’t been updating during this holiday weekend, obviously. However, I can’t leave people hanging, either. And so, please enjoy this insightful lecture from Lavoisier regarding fake rappers.
It gets the rare categorization of both good music and bad music. Good for Lavoisier…bad for radio rap. Enjoy!
Everybody knows about it, and here is the closest thing to it still available on youtube:
First of all, I don’t generally give a shit about any aspect of MTV, let alone their overtly metrosexual, excessive and excessively lipsynched, shitfest Video Music Awards. Their idea of good music was sold to a conglomeration of coked out CEOs a long, long time ago. So let’s be clear that the forum is insignificant. Kanye West is full of shit in any setting this could have possibly taken place in.
Taylor Swift. I have not seen her winning video and I don’t care what happens in it. I do know for a fact that she started out her career as a professional song writer with Sony AND she can actually play an instrument. Credibilitywise, this already puts her leaps and bounds above almost every other pretty face on eMpTy-V. However, even if she was as crappy as, say, Lady Caca, it’s still her damned award that she earned fair and square through backroom corporate deals. Kanye had no right…
…unless, of course his actions are a result of other backroom corporate deals. And would this surprise anyone? Look at how much attention it’s drawn to the Video Music Awards. I even heard Sean Hannity’s stupid ass talking about it. And who was on the debut episode of the Jay Leno Show the next night? Kanye! Of course! What convenient timing! It’s almost as convenient as the close-up reaction shot of Beyonce immediately after Kanye said her video was one of the best ever! (Remember…that Sacha Baron Cohen and Eminim thing was totally fixed.)
And what about Beyonce’s video for “Single Ladies?” One of the best videos ever, Kanye? I think he should of said, “one of the most underproduced and overrated videos ever.” Sure, it’s gimmick exploded all over the face of American culture, but come on. One of the best videos ever? Not even close. It’s just three girls dancing in front of a white screen. I would like to believe that one of the “best videos ever” actually took some time, perseverance and innovative cinematic artistry to conceptualize and produce. I guess it’s just one more symptom of America’s descent into mass mental retardation.
What the hell happened to this guy?
Of course, he was kind of wrong then. George Bush actually didn’t care about poor people. (He did do a few really good things for Africa during his presidency.) Regardless, at least Kanye’s opposition made sense then. How do you go from taking out your aggression on old white men who won political races under circumstances that were questionable at best, to taking out your aggression on cute, self-made, nineteen year old girls?
Fuck you, gay fish.