Album Review: Eminem – Recovery

June 19, 2010

I suspect every review of Eminem’s new album, Recovery, will rightfully open with these words: Guess who’s back?

After three straight masterpieces and some excellent contributions to the soundtrack of his movie 8 Mile, Eminem tanked on Encore and Relapse. He’s far too talented for those albums to have been completely worthless, but they were a pale shadow of his previous accomplishments. Exhibit A that something was wrong: Not only did he think “Ass Like That” was worth recording, he thought it was a worthy single.

He knows he let us down: “Them last two albums didn’t count. Encore I was on drugs, Relapse I was flushing ‘em out.”

Clean, sober, and determined to get his groove back, Eminem gets so back to basics that Recovery is more stripped down than his major-label debut, The Slip Shady LP. Gone are the stupid skits (the bane of far too many rap albums) and even the traditional album closer first line, “A lot of people ask me…” Recovery is all music, no gimmicks.

And fine music it is. While Recovery doesn’t quite reach the heights of the holy trinity of The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show, it comes damn close. The one bit of filler, the lame sex rap “Seduction,” is almost necessary to give the listener a chance to catch his breath before a furious second half that opens with an absolutely menacing cameo by Lil Wayne on “No Love” and never lets up for a second.

Along the way, Eminem notches what will probably be the single of the year, “Love the Way You Lie,” where an aching chorus from Rihanna (not content with only having 2007’s single of the year, apparently) anchors a wonderfully-strummed guitar bed for Marshall’s heartbroken rhymes. It’s a tremendous song, and it will seal his comeback the moment it hits radio.

Shady’s back. Tell a friend.

Eminem – “Not Afraid”

Eminem (with Rihanna) – “Love the Way You Lie”


“Now people, especially Arab Metalheads, are stepping up and are voicing their opinions regarding our existence, discussing if we should be allowed.”

May 3, 2010

Via Reason.

With songs like “Ilahiya Khinzir! (All Hail Allah the Swine),” the band does not play down its opposition to the religion of peace. In a merrily dyspeptic interview with MetalStorm.net, frontman Reverend Filthy Fuck takes issue with popular “First Anti-Islamic Black Metal” descriptor only because he wants other anti-Islamists to get some credit:

We received this reputation because we are against Islam as individuals. Yet we are not the first and we are not only that. In any case, this is the only thing people talk about when they mention Ayat and we’re sick of it. So here it is again: AYAT IS AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT IN ALL ITS FORMS.

Is Ayat, to Americans (or at least me), a novelty act? Yes. But given the threats against the South Park guys following their spot-on episodes on how too many Muslims lack a sense of humor, I think a Lebanese “Anti-Islamic Black Metal Band” is worth noting.

I’m a somewhat religious person myself, so I don’t think I have it in me to pen an anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, or anti-Judaism song or writing. But I reserve my God-given right to do so.

I don’t like Cookie Monster music, so I’m not embedding Ayat’s video. (You can follow the Reason link if you’re curious.) Instead I’ll give you these two rap gems.

Ice-T – “Freedom of Speech”

(I wish my term papers in college were that easy! …Well, maybe not.)

Eminem – “Square Dance”

“Don’t think I won’t go there. Go to Beirut and do a show there.”

Would I really? I have no show to do, so it’s not like the issue is going to come up. But I like to think I would. I’m certainly considering joining “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day.” My drawing would be a stick figure, because that’s about all I’m capable of, but it would be a respectful attempt that would not offend Muslims not offended by images of the Prophet (many of them).

But if it does offend? Well, it’s my God-given right to offend and no one can take that away from me.


Happy Birthday, Eminem!

October 17, 2008

Eminem turns 36 today.  In addition, he’s readying a new album.

Eminem, healthy and confident, is set to reemerge, first with a much-trumpeted memoir, then with “Relapse,” his first new album in more than four years. No release date is set — the album may be out by year’s end — but a freewheeling single, “I’m Having a Relapse,” has already hit the Internet. There are even rumblings of a 2009 tour.

It remains to be seen whether Eminem can recapture his glory days of the early ’00s, when massive record sales, critical acclaim and priceless street cred converged to make him one of the world’s most recognizable celebrities. But the star born Marshall Mathers, chosen this month by Vibe magazine readers as the “best rapper alive,” seems hungry to give it a shot.

Eminem’s last album, Encore, was a disappointment.  There was some good material, but it was a large drop-off in quality from the three classics that preceded it.  Despite intense fandom on my part up until that point, when my friends told me not to bother with the three new tracks on his best-of album,  I didn’t.  A low point was reached when he was heard declaring “Bush knocked down the towers!” in a guest appearance on some no-name 9/11 conspiracist’s song that also included lyrics (not by Eminem) about how any black who wasn’t a Democrat needed to be killed.  (I’m not going to bother digging that one up.)

Let’s hope sobering up has improved both his music and his sanity.  I’ve got my fingers crossed, and I’m going to give him another chance.

Here’s “Square Dance,” a favorite of mine from The Eminem Show:

Best of luck, Eminem.  I’m rooting for ya.


The Dark Knight’s Greatest Hits

July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight is shattering box office records, and actually worthy of the hype. In college-radio fashion, I thought now would be a good time to revisit some Caped Crusader musical moments. Read the rest of this entry »


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