May 15, 2009

Eminem - Relapse: Album Review

On Tuesday, May 19th Eminem will release his sixth studio album “Relapse”. Now I'm not reviewing this album because I want to be a "critic" or any kind of shit like that. I'm just a fan of music and like to express my opinion on new albums I come across. With that being said, let's get into the latest effort from Marshall Mathers...

1. Dr. West – The best intro since the PSA’s on his first two albums. The audio engineering is really masterful, and the deranged therapist in Dr. West (played by "The Wire" star Dominic West) clearly shows why Marshall relapsed in the first place. (5/5)

2. 3 A.M. – Back on his psycho Hannibal Lecter/Jeffrey Dahmer rampage, the visuals he paints with his lyrics stand out like blood on a white wall. Some people get put off by his crazyness, but this track is really creative (esp. with the “Lotion in the bucket” part). If you get the chance to see the uncensored music video, you’re really in for it. (4/5)

3. My Mom – Another ode to Debbie Mathers. Legit beat by Dr. Dre, reminds me of elephants stomping through the jungle or something. Eminem breaks down how she’s been hooking him on prescription drugs since he was a child and the deranged parenting that made him the way he is. Oh, and the Auto-Tune cameo at the end of the bridge is hilarious! (5/5)

4. Insane – Um… he’s insane. I don’t know if the subject matter of this song really happened in some way but the gay-Stepfather-incest-rape scenario is pretty disturbing. On a positive note, it’s got a killer beat by Dr. Dre. (3.5/5)

5. Bagpipes From Baghdad – At first I really didn’t get where he was going with this track, but after listening to it several times it’s pretty much a “F*ck-You-Nick-Cannon-Mariah-Is-Mine” kind of track. Decent beat but too frivolous for me. (3/5)

6. Hello – Now THIS beat knocks! And Eminem’s re-introduction to the masses after a 4-year hiatus serves its purpose well. Not only is he saying “hello” to us by the way, he’s also waving happily at all of the bottle of pills that taunt him mercilessly. (4/5)

7. Tonya (skit) – Clearly an intro to the next track… poor Tonya, depending on that OnStar was not a good look. The sound effects make it really seem like an audio movie in a way. (3/5)

8. Same Song & Dance – Creative, creative, creative. For example, in the hook you think he’s telling the ladies to “shake that ass” but really he’s talking to the bound & gagged victim he’s got in the passengers seat. Looks like he’s getting back into his story-mode, which is never a bad thing. (4/5)

9. We Made You – The beat is pretty good, his flow is on point, but for some reason I’m not really feeling this track like I did with songs like “Without Me” & “Real Slim Shady”. At least it’s better than “Just Lose It”. (3/5)

10. Medicine Ball – And just when I thought the album would get disappointing, from here on out it holds its own. This track is absolutely hilarious, especially when he starts spitting as Christopher Reeves, challenging himself to a breakdance battle of all things. Oh, and Dre’s beat is phenomenal. (5/5)

11. Paul (skit) – Of course Eminem had to do the typical Paul Rosenberg skit, and as usual he can’t handle the kind of subject matter that’s on the album. (3/5)

12. Stay Wide Awake – “Soon as my flow starts, I compose art like the ghost of Mozart”… yes, 80% of the time he does. And this track falls into that category, no question. The rap game has clearly missed a lyricist of Eminem’s caliber. It’s good to have someone back that pushes the envelope. (5/5)

13. Old Times Sake (feat. Dr. Dre) – The dynamic duo does not disappoint. This should be the next single off the album. It’s great to hear Dre spittin like back in “The Chronic” days and offers a green inspirational message to those out there who stand up in the face of defeat. Eminem’s got some hilarious lines in here too, with quips like “I believe I can fly, while I pee on a girl, you won’t catch me C.S.I.” (5/5)

14. Must Be The Ganja – At first, the beat made my expectations of this song drop significantly. For some reason I didn’t really like it, but after listening to it over & over again I've grown to think it fits well with the track. Overall it’s a decent song, praises serial killers & herb, but nothing too spectacular. And at the end he admits he didn't even burn or drink during the recording of the song. (2.5/5)

15. Mr. Mathers (skit) – What it must’ve been like for him during the last 4 years. Great sound engineering once again. (4/5)

16. Déjà Vu – Marshall fighting his demons. Pretty much the internal struggle he went through with the drugs, alcohol, and Proof’s murder. Glad he was able to clean up his act and express his pain and experiences to us through music. Very good song (5/5)

17. Beautiful – Classic. Classic. Classic. Shooting for empathy and scores. The only track on the album that Eminem produced himself. All he needed was one. (5/5)

18. Crack A Bottle (feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent) – The first full-length track I heard off of Relapse. Eminem’s verse is solid, Dre’s verse is par, but 50’s is lazy and uninteresting. I would've taken a second Eminem verse instead of adding 50's... real talk. (4/5)

19. Steve Berman (skit) – The usual Steve Berman skit, this time Berman’s so pissed he pulls a gun on Eminem, lol. But the skit does elude to the fact that this is the first of TWO albums from Slim Shady this year… (4/5)

20. Underground/Ken Kaniff – So where’s he been? Underground. And it’s clear while he was away he was sharpening his lyrical swords, because this track is furious. The beat is a monster and Eminem slaughters the rhyming dictionary with hilarious lines and detailed storytelling. The Ken Kaniff skit at the end is a funny end to a dark, internal, and masterful album. (5/5)

Overall: (4/5) This is probably one of the better comebacks in Hip-Hop and music history. A 4-year stint of drug abuse and depression would do the average person in, but in Marshall’s case he used his detriment to his advantage. It’s clear this album might have done more for him than a therapist, and if he’s really going to release that second album of material I cannot imagine the quality of music it would contain. But since I’m only reviewing this one, I’ll have to go ahead and say this album will be considered a classic by most… including me.

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