It is now 12 years after The Slim Shady. Somewhere in there is a toll of five albums, 11 Grammy awards, 80 million albums sold, a barrage of Number One hits, a mixed horde of haters and incensed fans…and yet Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, is still only “recovering” after his Relapse.
Moreover, that same surge of energy, angst and artful profanity; that same lyrical flawlessness that churned out rap lines like a ticker tape timer, has not been lost in him. Recovery sees Eminem retain the same rap style that awed us when he asked for the real Slim Shady to stand up a decade ago instead of deviating into subgenres like Crank.
His lyrics are as unapologetically lewd as ever; taking the time off to include his usual anti feminine sexual lashings, drug self-destruction and even throwing in a jibe at Mariah Carey on Cold Wind Blows, for good measure. He sings that he is not afraid to make a stand on Not Afraid and seems to assert who he really is to us, hence leaving the choice of whether to hate him, like him, or shut him out entirely to the listener.
However, his confessions, (albeit profane littered) on Talkin to Myself, Going Through Changes and Space Bound reveal a strange side of Eminem; an Eminem that’s finally come around and is now sorry for the many he has hurt. You almost want to give him a second chance and then you realise you’ve heard it all before on songs like Drips and Sing for a Moment.
Going through Changes is probably the best rhyming song on the CD. Love the Way You Lie hires the services of vocally rich Rihanna and Cold Wind Blows comes close behind. Recovery gives Eminem a giant stride towards becoming a rap legend and confirms his place alongside Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg as the greatest rappers of today.