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Old 05-15-2009, 01:46 AM   #1
Taco John
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Default Eminem Relapse Album Review

For the Eminem and Rap fans out there...

So I've listened to the new Eminem album about a dozen times, and I have to say that I think the album is brilliant. It's not perfect, but it's an effort that comes in at the A level.

To give some perspective, I really liked his Slim Shady LP, but I thought it was very rough around the edges and that he still hadn't pushed the level of his talent yet. I thought he came into his own with the Marshall Mathers LP, perfecting his style and gaining absolute control of his lyrical flow. To me, the MMLP is his best album, though I think he showed absolute mastery of his craft with The Eminem Show. The problem that I had with the Eminem Show was that I thought it was a little *too* slick and over produced. I love the album, to be sure, but it doesn't have the organic feel that The MMLP has. Encore, I thought, was terrible in comparison to all of them. I liked some of the stuff on there, but Eminem had said anything interesting that I thought he could say at that point in time. To me, he hit the wall that every successful rapper is bound to hit: we've heard it, you've got nothing new to say, and you're so rich that you no longer have street cred anymore. Frankly, I had thought Eminem had done the right thing by closing the book on his career and only doing small projects and producing (ala Dr. Dre).

Boy am I glad I was wrong about that.

This new album, while containing some of the same themes we've seen in the old album (namely the drug use of his mother and its fallout in his life), contains a lot of new and fresh stuff and gives listeners a peek into the world of Eminem since his pseudo-retirement.

The album is essentially therapy for Eminem, with the major theme being his relapse into the world of drug addiction and prescription pill popping. There's a lot of hate and anger in this album, and he hits you in the face with it right out of the gates, but what you find as you journey through those gates is that the deeper into the album you get, the more he aims that hate and anger at himself.

The first three songs absolutely put my jaw in my lap - the first song being an anthem to mass murdering. It's not a particularly new theme for Eminem, but it does have a more graphic edge to it than his past stabs at this theme (sadly, the pun was intended). The music and lyrics come together in a very haunting way that made me seriously question the guys sanity. But he doesn't stop there. As you leave 3am with the image of Eminem being a deranged psycopath who is ready to butcher people in a drug induced black-out, he does something very interesting by leading you back in time with the songs "My Mom" (My Mom does valium and lots of drugs, that's why I'm on what I'm on, cuz I'm my mom), where Eminem talks about how he has inherited his drug addiction from his mother. From there, he blows the hinges off the door with the song "Insane," where Eminem reveals a history of being sexually abused by a step father (If you could count the Skeletons in my closet). By this time my jaw was in my lap.

The first three tracks hit me like a ton of bricks, and I thought the album was going to be very heavy. Eminem doesn't necessarily lighten the load, but from this point on you no longer feel like you're staring alone at a dead baby in a dumpster. The next song, Bagpipes from Baghdad flashes to the not so recent past where Eminem does a little of his usual Slim Shady celebrity bashing stuff. It's a catchy beat, but not a particularly strong song. The most interesting thing is that he reveals that he's been clean and sober for at least a year now (who’s-gonna-go-see-the-doctor first? we’ll do a coin flip, i just got my one year sobriety coin chip).

The next song on the album, called "Hello," is a sort of re-introduction to Eminem. It's a very good song with some double meaning to it. The question is whether or not he's reintroducing himself to the fans, or re-introducing himself to the pill addiction (as though it were a person). It's an excellent song, and he doesn't hold back as he reveals how low things got for him:

I lose a pill and I'm recklessly wrecking the house
That was supposed to be breakfast where the heck is it now?
There's the necklace I lost, right next to Stephanie's blouse.
Man I should check to see if my mum left any out
Nope! Guess I'll reroute
Maybe somewhere in the depths of the couch
oooh, Jackpot, yeah
Open Sesame mouth!

In the song, he reveals that his recent "pnemonia" bout was actually an overdose situation where he had to be rushed to the hospital.

The album then takes another dark turn, as Eminem flashes back into his mass murdering persona with a skit about a stranded girl getting into the wrong car with the wrong person, and leading into "Same Song and Dance" where he basically kills Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears. By this time, the mass murdering schtick has worn a little thin, and the album leads into the Radio Pop friendly "We Made You." I'm not a big fan of Eminem's radio pop. I understand why he has to do it, and I think that he's very good at it. But I don't find it particularly interesting - and certainly not compelling. But it can be fun when I'm in the right mood. This one, in my opinion, is one of his better radio pop efforts, so at least there is that. But by this time in the album, I was starting to tune out a little bit.

The next song provides the funniest moment in the album, when Eminem gives Christopher Reeves the last word by rapping AS Reeves, complete with robotic voice and long drawn out mechanical breaths. Needless to say I was shocked but tickled by the picture he paints of Reeves battle rapping against him:

Eminem I'm coming to kill you [long mechanical breath]
Always hated you and I still do
You'll never fill my shoes my superman costume [long mechanical breath]
Doesn't even fit you they don't feel you
You're takign this **** to far [long mechanical breath]
Who do you think you are
Hang my suit up in the armoire
Everday I hate you more and more
Throw down the cardboard
Let's break dance if you think you're hardcore


The Paul Berman skit after this is probably the funniest moment of any of his albums.

From this point on, the album maintains a high level of interest. Stay Wide Awake continues the horror theme of the album - which really comes off to me as a self defense mechanism to protect himself from just how much of his soul he bares on the table (especially later on in the album, with Deja Vu).

Old Times Sake is a great collaboration with Dre that I think is one of the best they've done together. Must Be the Ganja has a good beat, flow, and is pretty catchy.

The album climaxes here with Deja Vu, which I think is probably one of the best songs of Eminem's career. It starts with a skit that is essentially a recreation of the scene where the paramedics are treating him for overdose as they start to rush him to the hospital. He goes from the extremes of painting himself as an evil murderer, to this song in which he completely bears his soul showing just how vulnerable he is. I think the song is brilliant. The beat is spot on. The flow is absolutely superb. The lyrics are deep and penetrating. When someone asks me why I listen to Eminem, this song is a good one to offer up as a damn good reason. The whole experience of this song is hypnotic and it just gets better with each and every listen as you're drawn deeper and deeper into the lyrics and the thoughts behind the lyrics. I can't say enough about how great this song is.

The next two songs are anti-climatic, but still worthy efforts. Beautiful seems like a song he wrote for his girls, which I dig. And then Crack a Bottle is the star studded reprise to the album, featuring Dre and 50 Cent.

At the end of the day, I find that each time I listen to the album, I like it more and more. It's what I wish The Eminem Show was (with the Eminem Show being Encore, and Encore being some B-sides that never made it into an album).

The bottom line is that it's a worthy effort. Eminem has reinvented himself with an album that fans will appreciate. This isn't the cruise control album that Encore was. This is Marshall Mathers working his ass off to produce something worth releasing, and definitely worth listening to.


4.5 stars.

Last edited by Taco John; 05-15-2009 at 09:36 AM..
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Old 05-15-2009, 05:50 AM   #2
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Link? lol
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:11 AM   #3
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:14 AM   #4
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Good review, i'll check it out.

In some ways i find it very interesting with what Em raps about - and i feel that even though in his music is "hip-hop" - in some ways i find it to be the most metal/punk thing i've ever heard.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:15 AM   #5
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this album is out?
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:31 AM   #6
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I like Eminem's music a lot.

He is pretty talented.

I will pick up the new album.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:35 AM   #7
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this album is out?
I think it comes out on 5/19/2009.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:36 AM   #8
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this album is out?
From the shady corners of the interwebs... for about a week now.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:39 AM   #9
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WOW, not to downplay your review but your are the first to say that relapse is even bearable, let alone "brilliant." I've asked plenty of people to get different opinions, yet so far its been unanimous that this is by far his worst CD.
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:03 AM   #10
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WOW, not to downplay your review but your are the first to say that relapse is even bearable, let alone "brilliant." I've asked plenty of people to get different opinions, yet so far its been unanimous that this is by far his worst CD.
yeah, but how many people don't like when things are done different either.

They'd rather buy the same 400 ACDC cd's or the last 7 godsmack CD's.
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:22 AM   #11
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yeah, but how many people don't like when things are done different either.

They'd rather buy the same 400 ACDC cd's or the last 7 godsmack CD's.
true but eminem has changed a lot from CD to CD and the vast majority has always loved them, just seems that this is just not good.
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:56 AM   #12
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I always prefer trying to "acquire" it first, and review it. If it's good, I'll purchase it.

Thanks for the review.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:00 AM   #13
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Link? lol
http://rapidshare.com/files/232957906/e.rar

you'll need winrar to open it
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FADERPROOF View Post
WOW, not to downplay your review but your are the first to say that relapse is even bearable, let alone "brilliant." I've asked plenty of people to get different opinions, yet so far its been unanimous that this is by far his worst CD.

I hadn't read any other reviews because I didn't want them to taint my own experience... But since you mentioned it, I did a search for the Rolling Stone review, and they gave him high marks:

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/...123843/relapse

The album definitely isn't for everyone. I think Eminem purposefully tried to scare off people with it. I don't even think it's an album created for fans. I think it's an album created for himself to clear his own head and his own demons, and taking the listener along for the ride.

For my part, this CD is definitely well worth the purchase.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:20 AM   #15
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I was a huge Eminem fan when I was in high school. I have memorized well over 200 Eminem songs...

But I have been disappointed with pretty much every one of his major releases after the Marshall Mathers LP, Devils Night (D12's album), and the 8 mile Soundtrack.

There were only a couple good songs on the Eminem Show (Soldier, Square Dance, Hailey's song) and Encore was 100 percent garbage, The Re-up wasn't much better... Pretty much as soon as Eminem started producing his own albums they have went downhill. Dre and the Bass brothers produced his first two solo albums on Interscope.

All he does now is use these retarded ass voices in every song instead of having a normal flow. It is played out IMO.


Relapse is more of that garbage Encore ****. It sucks that he can't put out some quality stuff like he did his first 5 years in rap. He absolutely kills the DJ Green Lantern Invasion mixtape... He has fell off though and it sucks.

Last edited by BMarsh615; 05-15-2009 at 08:37 AM..
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:26 AM   #16
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For the record, the lyrics are not bad.. He still uses wordplay and manipulates syllables better than anyone rapping right now... I just can't stand his delivery anymore.

Last edited by BMarsh615; 05-15-2009 at 08:29 AM..
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMarsh615 View Post
I was a huge Eminem fan when I was in high school. I have memorized well over 200 Eminem songs...

But I have been disappointed with pretty much every one of his major releases after the Marshall Mathers LP, Devils Night (D12's album), and the 8 mile Soundtrack.

There were only a couple good songs on the Eminem Show (Soldier, Square Dance, Hailey's song) and Encore was 100 percent garbage, The Re-up wasn't much better... Pretty much as soon as Eminem started producing his own albums they have went downhill. Dre and the Bass brothers produced his first two solo albums on Interscope.

All he does now is use these retarded ass voices in every song instead of having a normal flow. It is played out IMO.


Relapse is more of that garbage Encore ****. It sucks that he can't put out some quality stuff like he did his first 5 years in rap. He absolutely kills the DJ Green Lantern Invasion mixtape... He has fell off though and it sucks.
Agree.

It sounds like a attempt at recreating old glory, but it's 2009 and his music sounds more like 2004. It's as if he was playing it safe and went to the well for his material and didn't try something new.

It happens to many artist's. Jay-Z for the last few years has fallen into the trap pop-rap and left behind his Reasonable Doubt years.

Both should just enjoy their life work and leave hip-hop to the young kids like Lil Wayne and T.I.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:07 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
I hadn't read any other reviews because I didn't want them to taint my own experience... But since you mentioned it, I did a search for the Rolling Stone review, and they gave him high marks:

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/...123843/relapse

The album definitely isn't for everyone. I think Eminem purposefully tried to scare off people with it. I don't even think it's an album created for fans. I think it's an album created for himself to clear his own head and his own demons, and taking the listener along for the ride.

For my part, this CD is definitely well worth the purchase.
I agree totally... it seems like none of the songs on this CD would be for his normal fanbase. He doesn't have any "epic" songs on this album like Patiently Waiting or Mosh or Till I Collapse.

That said... I also really liked it. To be fair, I also like pretty much every CD he's made. Encore was the worst of them all so far, but I still loved Mosh, Puke, and Crazy in Love.

On this album, the only songs I didn't really like were the 2 singles (Crack a Bottle, We Made You) and Must be the Ganja. They just seem very mediocre... he's way better than that.

But the first 4 songs are unreal, and so are Stay Wide Awake, Medicine Ball and Deja Vu. They are a bit deranged, but it seems like he's back in his old form of ridiculous delivery and insanely creative lyrics.

Great review TJ
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:20 AM   #19
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Did he produce any songs himself? His production is pretty repetitive and plain. I haven't heard any of his recent stuff, but his old stuff he did, for the 2Pac disgrace of a CD Loyal to the Game, was awful and sounded like the same song over and over.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:27 AM   #20
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Did he produce any songs himself? His production is pretty repetitive and plain. I haven't heard any of his recent stuff, but his old stuff he did, for the 2Pac disgrace of a CD Loyal to the Game, was awful and sounded like the same song over and over.



They're all produced by Dre, except for one song: Beautiful.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:52 PM   #21
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For the Eminem and Rap fans out there...
...

The next song on the album, called "Hello," is a sort of re-introduction to Eminem. It's a very good song with some double meaning to it. The question is whether or not he's reintroducing himself to the fans, or re-introducing himself to the pill addiction (as though it were a person). It's an excellent song, and he doesn't hold back as he reveals how low things got for him:

I lose a pill and I'm recklessly wrecking the house
That was supposed to be breakfast where the heck is it now?
There's the necklace I lost, right next to Stephanie's blouse.
Man I should check to see if my mum left any out
Nope! Guess I'll reroute
Maybe somewhere in the depths of the couch
oooh, Jackpot, yeah
Open Sesame mouth!

In the song, he reveals that his recent "pnemonia" bout was actually an overdose situation where he had to be rushed to the hospital.
....
If you think that is good, just wait until you hear the New DeathSICLE song cycle about DeathSICLES addiction to popSICLES, especially the red and green ones.

A more Harrowing portrayal of popSICLE additiction has never been told before, that is why DeathSICLE is still working on it and it hasn't been picked up by any labels or heard outside of DeathSICLE's basement.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:56 PM   #22
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I never pegged you as an Eminem fan Taco.
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:29 PM   #23
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I never pegged you as an Eminem fan Taco.
Will the real Slim Taco please stand up?

I repeat, will the real Slim Taco please stand up?

We're gonna have a problem here..
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:15 PM   #24
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:15 PM   #25
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I love Eminem. I'll have to download.
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