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Album Review
Eminem - Recovery Album Cover

Eminem - Recovery

Reviewed by
8.7
Eminem - Recovery
Release Date: June 21, 2009
Record Label: Aftermath/Interscope/Shady Records
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
At first I didn't really want to write this review. I've never reviewed a hip hop album before, and starting with Recovery, the album that has launched Eminem back into the forefront of the genre, was a little intimidating at first. However, after spinning this album endlessly, it seemed like a review for it would be simple. There are good songs, there are "meh" songs, and there are complete throwaway songs. Easy enough.

But before I delve into the substance of Recovery, let's backtrack a little and make sure we start off correctly. Marshall Mathers is, in my own mind, the best to ever live. Although I was never that into hip hop because of the poor quality of the genre I heard on South Florida radio stations, I was always able to listen to Eminem's music. Whether it be the intensity of "Like Toy Soldiers", the back-handed wit behind "The Real Slim Shady", or the genius infused in "Stan" or "Infinite", Eminem has offered something for everyone over his illustrious career. After various real life issues, however, including well-known family problems and addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs, Em fell off for a while. His low from a music standpoint has to be considered his 2009 release Relapse, an album that received poor reviews from both fans and critics alike. On Recovery, Eminem lays everything out in the open, talking about his various problems, his rise back to his old normal self, the loss of his friend Proof, and how he is the greatest living rapper.

To start the review, it's best to get one thing out of the way. There are 17 tracks on this album, but quite a few are pure filler and can be ignored completely. "W.T.P", "Seduction", "Space Bound", "Cinderella Man", "So Bad", and "Almost Famous" all don't require more than one listen. The mediocrity of these tracks is really brought to the forefront by how phenomenal some of the other songs on Recovery are.

Opener "Cold Wind Blows" has a pretty good hook and is somewhat fun to listen to, as it is evident from the beginning that Eminem's flow is back. The lyrics on this track are awful, though, and may be the most offensive on the record, which is saying something. But lyrics like this are to be expected from Eminem, and it's something that listeners have learned to at least put up with if they don't enjoy songs like this. All in all, it's a worthwhile track and a decent introduction to the album. "Talkin' 2 Myself", however, shines as one of the strongest songs on the record and is the real introduction into the deeper subjects on the album. In this track, Eminem shares with the listener how he was jealous of other rappers while his career was fading, mentioning how he "almost made a song dissing Lil Wayne" but that he is thankful that he didn't do so. In his final verse, Eminem repairs any broken ties and tells Weezy, Kanye West, and T.I. to "keep [their] heads up" while remembering DJ A.M. This track is among the top three on the record; Eminem's verses are fantastic and Kobe's chorus is the perfect compliment.

"On Fire" and "Won't Back Down" are somewhat solid tracks although they don't compare to some of the other material here. "On Fire" suffers from a weak chorus and the appearance of Pink on "Won't Back Down" doesn't do much for a song that could have been a radio hit. "Going Through Changes" reflects on more serious subjects, including a quick reference to Eminem's daughter, and serves as a good lead into first single "Not Afraid". The single is perfect for radio airplay and doesn't sacrifice anything to be friendly to the masses. The chorus is one of the better ones on Recovery while the verses are catchy and exhibit glimpses of Eminem's unparalleled flow.

What better way for Eminem to show that he's the best rapper alive than by bringing in the self-proclaimed best rapper alive, Weezy F. Baby, for a guest spot on the album that re-launches his career? The first verse on "No Love" belongs to the adored Lil Wayne, but truthfully it's one of the worst parts of the record. He starts out slow, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but the lyrics are weak and the verse seems forced. When Weezy speeds things up, it gets your head bobbing but it's still relatively nothing compared to Eminem's verse. Spanning a minute and a half, Eminem bobs and weaves with this verse, and it never lets up. After the witty and flat-out genius reference to Kanye West's shenanigans with Taylor Swift, things only get better as Em takes listeners out of their world and into his with the best flow and lyrics on display on Recovery. In this song, Eminem claims that he has written the best verse ever....and it certainly isn't crazy talk. My real question here is how does Weezy legitimize his claim of being the "greatest rapper alive" when he so clearly gets demolished in this track?

"25 to Life" and "Love the Way You Lie" are radio-friendly numbers, with the former featuring a great metaphor to being "married to the game" and the latter showcasing a chorus from Rihanna. Album closer "You're Never Over" is Eminem's tribute to his lost friend Proof, and what a tribute it is. This is the best song on Recovery. There may not be a single verse that matches Em's work on "No Love", but a short, sweet, and to-the-point hook makes room for what might be the most introspective and vulnerable lyrics that we've ever heard from Eminem.

To put it simply, Eminem is back. There are some truly essential songs on Recovery, and even the weak tracks are an improvement from the debacle that was Relapse. He shows that he can still spit with the best of them, then he shows that he's better than all of them, and he knows it. It's more than just amusing to sit back and listen to these songs and watch Eminem take his throne back as the king of this genre. If Mathers keeps bringing out albums as good as this, it may just be another revolution.

Recommended If You LikeI hardly think this section is necessary here but....hip hop, the serious side of Eminem, comeback stories?
Download These First"Talkin 2 Myself", "No Love", "You're Never Over"
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 254
08:54 PM on 07/06/10
#2
eatbabiesyum
Registered Infant Consumer
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his serious side doesn't really grab me :/
idk why...i just prefer the old silly eminem
08:55 PM on 07/06/10
#3
mymusicismylife
Disgruntled wheat thins enthusiast
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The score is way too high, I'll give this a read though.

Edit: Cinderella Man is one of my favorites, but different strokes and all that. Talkin' 2 Myself is probably the best track (obligatory imo). Just because this is miles better than the past two albums does not mean this is gold. If Eminem is once again considered king, it is more based on name than the value of this record.
08:56 PM on 07/06/10
#4
Echo Park
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his serious side doesn't really grab me :/
idk why...i just prefer the old silly eminem
you're probably white...and like gym class heroes


edit: i'm white btw, so...
08:56 PM on 07/06/10
#5
Tyler Dumont
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I love this album.
08:56 PM on 07/06/10
#6
Lost Glories
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norma jean gets a better score than this? this board is laughable nowadays.
08:57 PM on 07/06/10
#7
Elscorcho2008
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You say in your review that Relapse was the lowest point in his career. I personally think Encore was. Relapse was ok at best but it had some decent tracks. Encore had some awful filler throughout the album and the whole thing was bland pretty much save 4-5 songs. On another note though I thought this review was very well written and I agree with the score.
08:57 PM on 07/06/10
#8
Tyler Vagyler
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25 to Life is such a good track. And I agree, there are a lot of great songs, but also some mehh songs.
08:58 PM on 07/06/10
#9
spiffa0
Oh my God, it even has a watermark.
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Great album
09:01 PM on 07/06/10
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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The score is way too high, I'll give this a read though.

Edit: Cinderella Man is one of my favorites, but different strokes and all that. Talkin' 2 Myself is probably the best track (obligatory imo). Just because this is miles better than the past two albums does not mean this is gold. If Eminem is once again considered king, it is more based on name than the value of this record.
People like you (who check the score then read the review) are the reason why we're getting rid of the numeric scores.
norma jean gets a better score than this? this board is laughable nowadays.
Not written by the same person.....
09:01 PM on 07/06/10
Thomas Nassiff
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You say in your review that Relapse was the lowest point in his career. I personally think Encore was. Relapse was ok at best but it had some decent tracks. Encore had some awful filler throughout the album and the whole thing was bland pretty much save 4-5 songs. On another note though I thought this review was very well written and I agree with the score.
I liked Encore more than Relapse. I honestly couldn't listen to the latter more than a few times
09:04 PM on 07/06/10
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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norma jean gets a better score than this? this board is laughable nowadays.
this album isn't very good.
09:04 PM on 07/06/10
Elscorcho2008
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I liked Encore more than Relapse. I honestly couldn't listen to the latter more than a few times

Relapse didn't really have an overall great lasting value but Encore had some of the worst Eminem songs ever made. "Big Weenie, My First Single" But it had some high points i suppose.
09:05 PM on 07/06/10
Lost Glories
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this album isn't very good.
neither is norma jean.
09:05 PM on 07/06/10
mymusicismylife
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People like you (who check the score then read the review) are the reason why we're getting rid of the numeric scores.

Not written by the same person.....
Hey now, I read the review and it was fine. The fact that I first commented on the score shouldn't discount my opinion. I often don't pay much attention to the score, so don't pigeonhole me into that group. I based most of my coomment on the album and your summary.

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