Review: Eminem — “Recovery”

The best-selling artist of the last decade returns and desperately wants us to fall in love with him again.

Eminem walks down the long road of

Courtesy Shady Aftermath

Eminem walks down the long road of “Recovery.”

Mark Brenden

Every golden boy of every decade has seen the kind of rock-bottom despair that Eminem beats to death in his new LP âÄúRecovery .âÄù Elvis Presley faded out in sloppy humiliation. John Lennon took more than 100 acid trips and got murdered for being a âÄúphony.âÄù Michael Jackson slipped off the deep end. Kurt Cobain did himself in with a triple-lethal dose of heroin and a shotgun blast. So when we find out that one of the most successful artists of the 2000s was addicted to a hodgepodge of pills and went through a suicidal period, we know one thing is true: America always tries to love its stars to death. As he reminded us in âÄúRenegade,âÄù his now-mythical duet with Jay-Z, âÄúWe as a people decide if ShadyâÄôs as bad as we say he is.âÄù Eminem has continually given himself over to us on a platter. âÄúI am whatever you say I am / If I wasnâÄôt then why would I say I am,âÄù he again reminded us on the moody masterpiece âÄúThe Way I Am.âÄù Ladies and gentlemen, the recovery of our dear Slim Shady is, indeed, in our hands. HeâÄôs not the pop genius that LilâÄô Wayne is, nor is he the entrepreneurial genius that Jay-Z is. That being said, Weezy and Hova are not the mad lyrical geniuses that âÄúRecoveryâÄù reminds us that Eminem is. Em again unleashes the intellectual dexterity that has made us unable to hate him, no matter how tasteless and/or perverted his raps are âÄî they are just too damn clever. In âÄúRecoveryâÄù his lines are as witty as they are moronic. Take, for example, his duet with fellow early-oughts pseudo-badass Pink in âÄúWonâÄôt Back Down,âÄù which is not a Tom Petty sample and is somehow a lot better than youâÄôd imagine: âÄúShake that ass / like a donkey with ParkinsonâÄôsâÄù or âÄúI donâÄôt need the [expletive] swine flu / to be a sick pig.âÄù Ah yes, even in his ripe 37 years, Slim has not lost his youthful snottiness. âÄúCold Wind BlowsâÄù contains the same brand of âÄúna na naâÄù immaturity that made him famous with his monumental introduction to the world âÄúMy Name Is.âÄù âÄúOn Fire,âÄù however, shows that he has upped his sophistication, with an (intentional or not) ultra post-modern aside: âÄúI wrote a [expletive] hook in between two long-ass verses and you mistook it for a song.âÄù Although it is indeed an improvement from his last couple pill-ridden efforts, âÄúRecoveryâÄù is, alas, not a full recovery. The man does come off as anxious for our approval. He even admits in âÄúTalkinâÄô 2 MyselfâÄù that he considered releasing a diss record on LilâÄô Wayne in the height of his drug-induced despair and âÄî frankly âÄî jealousy. Now, he is desperate for our attention and re-establishing his superstardom. However, simply announcing, âÄúIâÄôm back,âÄù does not in fact mean you are back. Just ask Mase . The reserved singing of âÄúIâÄôm going through changesâÄù in the aptly titled âÄúGoing Through ChangesâÄù is reflective of his desperate disposition. ItâÄôs not just you, Em âÄî this is not the same world that literally almost loved you to death in 2000. With âÄúRecovery,âÄù the wily, puckish emcee gives us reason to love him again, but not enough to overdo it. 2.5 out of 4 stars