So, I get really bored sometimes, and need to fill my mind with useless, trivial bullshit so it can interfere with the far more serious, yet far less uplifting thoughts that should be genuinely occupying it at that point in time. Usually, that vast amount of garbage I know is the music that’s helped shape me into the person (both sonically and personally, for better and worse) I am today. There really isn’t much that ties a lot of this together, other than the fact it’s had such a significant impact on my conscience. If you care to read forward (ie. my opinion intrigues you, and your life is as equally dull and unimpressive as mine), hit the jump for some of the weirdest albums to ever be tossed into a singular group.
None of this is in order, and I only applied one rule, which is artists are allowed two albums (maximum) on here. There’s something for everyone!
So, the second quarter is over. Time to do some catch-up; I posted my favorite Q1 releases(about a month or two late, mind you) here - http://yayodancing.tumblr.com/post/562047979/q1-is-over - when I first got started with this tumblr. Now, I’m going to simply post pictures of my favorite Q2 releases because I’m bored and I like to have this for collective purposes. Also, it’ll help when I round up my album of the year list in five odd months.
Eminem is at a crossroads in his career. He almost died in the the five years in between Encore and Relapse, as he was hopped up on drugs and had some severe Heath Ledger-isms going on. He looked terrible, he stopped making music with the exception of the occasional guest appearance (mainly mid-2007, when he hopped on tracks with T.I. [Touchdown] and his own artist 50 Cent [Peep Show]), in which he pretty much got outshined by whoever he was guesting with. He came back on Relapse, with Dr. Dre in tow, and released one of my favorite (and one of the most controversial, fan-wise) albums of 2009. To me, Relapse was his best lyrical showing since the Slim Shady LP; he returned to his horrorcore roots, and ripped every verse on that album with the precision of a military sharpshooter. His flow was pristine, and the beats were brooding, while still having an overlapping funk to them.
Recovery is much different. The accent that he employed on Relapse is gone, and that’s welcome for most people. I personally didn’t mind the accent after one play through the album, and accepted it as part of the overall package. His delivery still isn’t vintage Eminem, however; he’s shouting on every verse, hardly ever giving your ears a moment to breath (or uh, hear other ambient noises), and his flow is a little bit off-kilter here. It’s lost some of the polish, vocally, that Relapse had; all those technically-proficient flows lay dormant for the most part, and play second fiddle to Eminem’s emotionally-fueled delivery.
One thing that’s very different about this album is the production; Eminem, as it’s been muchly publicized, went outside of the Aftermath camp for once, and grabbed producers who’re better known for soul samples, and heavy-hitting drums; two of the most celebrated being DJ Khalil and Just Blaze. Just Blaze has three outings on this album, and none of them honestly sound like Just Blaze; DJ Khalil doesn’t switch up his style nearly as much, and for the most part, delivers on what you’d want from him.
The pop-sensibilites that Recovery contains are, to put it bluntly, rather disgusting at times; the most noticable of which is Love The Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna). These two have absolutely no chemistry, and the beat (and overall song) is mind-numbingly reminiscent of B.o.B, Hayley Williams, and Eminem’s own Airplanes Pt. 2, a song which I greatly enjoyed ruined by the radio and Facebook-updates. Seriously - we could all use a wish right now, too fucking bad we ain’t getting one.
Eminem has always had a long history of inspirational anthems/emotional outpourings on his albums; from Rock Bottom, If I Had, Stan, The Way I Am, Hailie’s Song, Sing For The Moment, Like Toy Soldiers, Yellow Brick Road, Beautiful, When I’m Gone, etc. - a one to two song maximum on each album, usually. Here, those songs make up almost all of the output lyrically. While the first five songs are closer to traditional Eminem than anything else on the album (although they’re all good songs, albeit nothing exceptional), the first standout track, Going Through Changes, is also the first of many songs on here aimed at Linkin Park fans. Going Through Changes is a crazy good song however, sampling Black Sabbath and having Em pour out his dark little heart all over the track; it’s one of those songs you love to hear on his albums, that you can always look forward to hearing next.
Then Not Afraid, the song everyone’s heard, comes next, and it’s still good, if nothing great. When I first heard Not Afraid, I did love it; I’ve grown a little indifferent to it since then. The verses are great, but the hook is pretty bad (pretty much all the hooks here are nearly terrible, something I’ll address later), and boi-1da’s production is average at best. He definitely steps it up with next production credit though; Seduction, the closest thing Em’s written to another Superman, is next. One of the darker songs on the album, both thematically and musically, Seduction is definitely a highlight.
No Love with Weezy is next, and Wayne rips his verse; even the haters can’t deny that. This is easily as good as his verse on Drop The World, another Wayne verse in recent times actually worth hearing. Hopefully when Wayne gets outta the pen, he can churn out an album full of verses this good. Unfortunately for Dwayne, Marshall comes in afterwards, and makes him look like an amature. What can ya do? The beat is decent, it samples Haddaway, but it’s kinda borderline corny. Sadly, Just Blaze produced this. I miss the Second Coming/Soon You’ll Understand Just.
Space Bound is next, and it’s Jim Jonsin’s sole contribution to the album. Easily one of my favorite tracks on the album, Eminem discusses a past romance that doesn’t sound like Kim, and the beat is just a beautiful thing laced with Eminem’s vocals. The chorus has been accused of being cornball, but I think that’s just vintage Eminem for you (at least if you consider Encore vintage, which I try not to). Regardless, it’s a great song, and one of the more inspiring songs on the album. And at least, Em isn’t singing much on this song, as the sample in the chorus does it for him.
Cinderella Man has a pretty fantastic beat, but it does borderline pop-music to an extent that I could live without it. The repeated Cinderella Man’s by an as-of-yet unknown singer throughout the song makes this track a bit annoying; still, Eminem rips it, as only Eminem could, and saves the track from being horrible. A trifecta of great songs is next; 25 to Life has a haunting chorus from another unknown singer, possibly because it’s just a sample; no idea. Marshall spits about how he won’t let the game control him, treating the rap game as a woman metaphore. Despite that concept being played out, the song is overall pretty great, despite the fact that it’s easily one of the most pop-influenced tracks on the album.
So Bad, the only Dr. Dre track on this album is next, and it’s so refreshing to hear Dre’s snare drums and percussion. Easily one of the best songs on the album, So Bad makes me wish he would’ve called on Dre more for this album, because it would’ve done wonders for increasing the hip-hop sound that is sorely missing at times. Similar to Crack A Bottle musically, this song is one of the most triumphant on the album; maybe the only really triumphant sounding track amidst all the venting. Em’s singing doesn’t even irritate me here.
Almost Famous (nice) is next, and features ANOTHER unknown singer, not that I’m complaining, because it keeps Em from singing (or, again, FOR THE MOST PART). This song is easily a highlight; the beat is fucking bonkers, and whoever that bitch is, she’s going ham on the chorus. Em loses his mind here, and just spazzes in his verses. This is stadium music; play this at high volumes, and go fucking crazy. That Slim Roethlisberger line is what I wanted more of; easily one of the craziest flows on the album.
Fuck Love The Way You Lie, this’ll be the most popular song of the summer and all I’ll see is a bunch of dumb bitches with horrible boyfriends quoting this all summer. Fuck this song and fuck Rihanna and Eminem, both of whom I’m a fan of, for creating such a disgustling self-loathing song.
You’re Never Over is a nice tribute to Proof, again produced by Just Blaze. Again, Just’s production isn’t very good. Seriously, Just, when did you start playing guitar? Tell me so I can go back in time, and stop you. The song isn’t bad, but it isn’t very good either. Sorry Em; I know you tried, and this song has a nice message, but it’s just not that good, especially for a closer. And that singing; OH MY GOD THAT SINGING. Stop fucking singing, Marshall; you’re not Drake. You can’t sing, and you’re very aware of that. So why in the world did you think it was a good idea to sing on every chorus on this album not sung by anyone else? This is my biggest gripe with the whole album. That singing is attrocious.
The bonus track, Here We Go, is produced by Havoc. I wish there were more songs like this on the album; dope beat, dope lyrics, dope flow, no motivational mumbo-jumbo. Just straight up dope Eminem.
Overall, Recovery is a very good album in spots, and a highly frustrating one overall. It’s good, and worthwhile; it’s also bound to make you pull out your hair at times, and genuinely question what the fuck was Eminem thinking? It’s pretty obvious he made this for the fans who hated Relapse; and for those who loved that album, well, this album is going to take some adjusting. You’re either gonna love this or hate it. There’s really no room for a middle-ground.