Interscope / Aftermath / Shady
Released: June 18th 2010
“This album is dedicated 2 anyone who’s in a dark place tryin’ to 2 get out. Keep your head up… It does get better!” – EMINEM
The jibber above is from the liner notes right under a picture of Proof, if you haven’t read my review on ‘Relapse’ in 2009 when I was a writer for Altsounds, I suggest you do that to refresh. Eminem is; Marshall Bruce Mathers The III, the first single off this new record was “Not Afraid”. Many people don’t know but it was the first Hip Hop track to debut at #1 since ‘Missing You’ By: Faith Evans and Puff Daddy, Puffy, Diddy, Larry-Bob whatever he calls himself these days. Since my review on ‘Relapse’ Eminem has changed his tune, instead of dropping ‘Relapse 2’ he released a new batch of material he titled ‘Recovery’. Let’s see now Mr. Mathers, is this new album really a recovery?
When I first listened to ‘Not Afraid’ I immediately noticed he had some of the passion back, it starts in with ambient keys and the chorus repeating while he jibbers and then drops the first verse. I don’t know what it was that made him do a complete 360 but clearly it was the push he needed to revive his essence, you can hear it without a doubt the way he delivers. Produced by Canada’s own Matthew Samuels aka ‘BOI-1DA’ (Boy Wonda) the song is moving and can relate to everyone’s situations. Yes, everyone loves a club banger to dance to but these tracks stick, music with a message is always going to make an impact because people never stop living. At this moment someone somewhere is having a really hard time in life and this tune could help them through the storms. When there is genuine emotion coming from someone like Mathers who definitely puts on a front, it makes the song as powerful as it is. I love the chorus “We’ll walk this world together through the storm (Now some of you) Whatever weather, cold or warm (Might still be in that place) Just lettin’ you know that you’re not alone (If you’re tryin’ to get out) Holla if you feel like you’ve been down the same road (Just follow me, I’ll get you there)”
I couldn’t help but laugh at this line “Let’s be honest, that last “Relapse” CD, was “eh.” He even realized the last record wasn’t up to par but honestly really needs to stop viewing his gift as a curse, like many who are meant to help others they refuse their gift when it becomes too much.
It is up to you to use your power for purpose, denial is only the first stage he will eventually accept it, this record is the first step to his ‘Recovery’. How some people view those in the public eye are warped, nobody should be put on any fabricated pedestal because everyone makes mistakes. We are just humans, through all of our mistakes we learn, well…Most of us. Some people love to watch a bird spread its wings to fly and some like to shoot them down as they try. “I’m not afraid, to take a stand, everybody, come take my hand.”
The next single off this record also dominated the charts debuting at #2 on Billboard, Rihanna features in “Love The Way You Lie”. The song is about a tumultuous relationship that is in every way like a drug. The more I listen the more I feel bad for him but don’t pity him as I do some. He is one fucked up dude but as I said in the ‘Relapse’ review “Everyone is damaged to a certain extent; it’s just some are far more haunted than others.” Mathers out of all the MC’s has the most voices in his head, clearly just a bit ‘Schizo’ but at least he admits to some of his issues and that takes balls. Rihanna does pretty good vocally on the track, this tune in a way is paying homage to both of their damage. My favorite lines are “You meet, and neither one of you even know what hit ’em.” And “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn.”
The third single was released in October 2010 titled ‘No Love’ Featuring Lil’ Wayne who just popped out the bin (Prison) and performed this track with Eminem on Saturday Night Live recently. I was surprised by the sample used in the song, its Haddaway’s ‘‘What Is Love”. Just Blaze produced this beat for “No Love” and it fits the tune like a glove. So glad it was released as a single because this is one of my favorites on this record. Both Rappers tore it up, they murdered the song lyrically and the way they flowed is like Dragons spitting fire. The particular pieces of floetry I like are “I think about more than I forget / But I don’t go around fire expecting not to sweat” by Lil’ Wayne and a slice of Eminem’s “Man get these whack cocksuckers off stage / where the fuck is Kanye when you need him?” and “Where was you when I fell and needed help up? You get no love!”
Music and artistic expression overall help people through the most difficult times in life, whether you create your own therapy or heal through someone else’s. Art is Time’s assistant, they work together to mend and nourish our souls as we follow the paths we choose in this life. For Mathers he created his own therapy with his gift, I am sure he’s been to multiple therapists and taken thousands of different medications but what can they tell him that he already doesn’t know? You are a product of your environment and nobody can truly love you if you don’t love yourself. If he didn’t have the love of his child/children, he probably would have let his inner demons win a long time ago. At least now he can kind of see clearly, after all he is still learning, just as we are. The world is always evolving with more things to discover daily adding to our knowledge, ‘The more you live the more you learn.”
Mathers spread his wings and worked with various different producers on this record and not just Dr. Dre who is Executive Producer on the album. I find it funny that in ‘Almost Famous’ the hook is “Be careful what you wish for”. I could go on forever but you all can listen to the record yourself track by track. Recovery is an adventure, you either will like the ride or never go on it again. “Talkin 2 Myself” is a pretty personal track where he reintroduces himself to himself, Marshall Mathers meet Eminem and Slim Shady ‘He just woke up’. “You’re Never Over” is a song for his fallen brother Proof, I know how difficult it is to deal with a major loss, far from easy but you have to live on. The tune “Going Through Changes” sounds like an extreme confessional, touching on many subjects including a near death experience. The track’s beat is produced by ‘Emile’ (Kid Cudi) who sampled Black Sabbath’s “Changes” another interesting sample that works out well, when making this album Mathers listened to over 400 beats narrowing it down to 100. That’s the hardest thing ever to find the perfect beats to make your visions complete.
Mathers says in so many songs how cold and void of emotion he is, obviously he’s lying otherwise none of these tracks would exist, it takes a lot of feeling to construct such a passionate emotional record. A track worth a listen is “Won’t Back Down” featuring ‘Pink’ she does her thang on this song! I’ve always loved her unique sound, she’s always been herself. I try to take him seriously for a minute and then he throws in lines like “I’m a shit stain on the underwear of life” how he comes up with these analogies who knows he’s truly one of a kind. That reminds me of a review I recently read of this record that another critic wrote. I have to reiterate this ten thousand times because so many people just don’t get, if you are not an artist or use artistic expression as your outlet in any form you usually won’t understand. Not all of Eminem’s tunes will be like “My Name Is” or “The Way I Am”, I’m sure at least five different people can relate to every track on this album. That article was evidently written by someone who likes to use big words they do not fully comprehend. That dude is not as bright as he tried to sound, anyone can use a thesaurus. I say this because the biggest mistake he made was stating that the track “25 To Life” was about Mathers’ Baby Momma but in reality the tune is about the biggest bitch in Eminem’s life ‘Hip Hop’. He breaks up with Hip Hop telling the game all the drama and damage it caused, Marshall Mathers is no longer a prisoner, he broke those shackles “Fuck you hip hop, I’m leaving you / My life sentence is served, bitch.” People like the above mentioned critic give credible writers a bad name, how he did not grasp even half of the actual subject in the song is beyond me!
There are a few tracks on the album like ‘So Bad’ and ‘Space Bound’ where Slim Shady tries to be all seductive but yeah…He’s a funny larry in a ‘Norman Bates/Dexter’ kind of way, ‘Relax woman, you know that I’m only kiddin with you / Got a twisted sense of humor, it’s warped, but I didn’t hit ya.’ it seems on every record he always has some serious female issues. Maybe if you eased up on the stalking and being such a weird smothery creeperello saying shit like ‘Don’t play games it’ll be dangerous if you fuck me over / Cause if I get burnt, I’mma show ya what it’s like to hurt.” You might actually find a semi-normal female who will love your baggage and real self; that is, if you even know who he is. Of course no Eminem record is complete without a jibber about Ms. Mariah Carey Cannon obsessed much! She’s having babies; you should share some knowledge! At least one person is crossed off the list, from what I hear on this record for once he said nothing, not a boo, about his Mom. Finally, he’s over that!
On this album Eminem goes on an even more personal level than most expected, you get a closer look at what’s going on in his eccentric maniacal mind. They do say some Geniuses are known to be a little crazy…So many tunes on this record I like listening to, definitely a better collection of work than ‘Relapse’ which unknowingly became the definition of the title. Marshall Mathers is growing up! It’s about time mang, how old is he now like 40? Regardless, it’s good to hear that he is on his way to the long road of recovery. I won’t be surprised if he falls off the wagon, so many do.
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