Review: Eminem - Recovery

Published at Exclaim.ca

Eminem
Recovery

By Anupa Mistry

Early in his career, Eminem easily shed protégé status with a couple of caustic cuts but, ten years on, with his triumphant turn on Drake’s collabo record (“Forever”), Marshall Mathers is reminding us that, oh yeah, he’s still got top-five pedigree. But does the post-rehab refresh boost his work on seventh album Recovery? The usual doom and gloom veneer is still there ― it’s central to Marshall’s twisted thesis ― but gone, for the most part, are the overly cartoonish cadences in favour of a more mature, forceful flow. You hear it from the jump on Just Blaze’s frenetic “Cold Wind Blows” and it rides confidently over the melodies of DJ Khalil (“Talkin’ To Myself,” “25 To Life”) and the muted metre of Toronto, ON ingénue Boi-1da (“Not Afraid,” “Seduction”). It’s not all battle raps and alpha male flow though; he’s still churning out serious stories and singing hooks (unfortunately). But maybe this is where Recovery falls apart—alongside the questionable Haddaway sample on Weezy-feature “No Love” and the appearance of only one Dr. Dre beat (“So Bad”) on an album that, at 17 tracks, is too long—because even if it’s creative catharsis, it kinda sounds like frustrated dad rap. Attempting a more mature sound with age is obvious ― like ditching the bleached blond hair ― but it’s come at the expense of humour and personality. And isn’t that central to why we’ve always liked Eminem? (Universal)