Eminem season continues with his 2010 album 'Recovery'. After returning from his hiatus with 'Relapse', he scrapped a sequel to it to focus on a more personal project which came in the form of this album and really helped him back to the top.
The production on here while not his best is still good, and it doesn't always add much to the experience but it definitely doesn't take anything away. The main elements include heavenly atmospheres, heavy drums and acoustic guitars, shown perfectly from the hit single 'Not Afraid' as he provides some corny punchlines but it doesn't matter when the lyrics are so inspiring and honest as they are as he talks on his problems with addiction, fame, depression and triumphantly overcoming them - telling us we can overcome our own problems as well. The infectious and inspiring hook completes the song to make it as good as it is and it's popular for a reason. 'Almost Famous' has this great energetic and loud beat which is great as Em tells us his come up story to making it as a famous rapper with great wordplay, punchlines and metaphors. It's a nice hook, with incredible amounts of energy to the verses as we get another good song on here. 'Untitled' has a 'You Don't Own Me' sample from Lesley Gore which is OK I don't love it as he shows off his skill, how much of a bastard he is and having sex disrespectfully with different women with a track packed full of punchlines, wordplay and witty bars, "Comes straight from the fish's ass, yeah, in other words, I'm a bass-turd // Lookin' at me like I killed Kenny, gas in the tank—yeah, still plenty // No morals are instilled in me, so remorse, I really don't feel any". The flow hits the drums at the right time, it's really funny and just nonstop - for a hidden track it's pretty great.
Lyrically Em focuses more on wordplay, punchlines etc. and has some great moments, shown from the get go on 'Cold Wind Blows', "Motherfucker, I'll show you pussy-footin' // I'll kick a bitch in the cunt 'til it makes a queef // And sounds like a fuckin' whoopee cushion", as the mean and humerous lines works over the big loud crashing and heavy drums which is actually just 'Déjà Vu' slowed down. He sets the record straight here – he’s back and no one should mess with him and with a nice hook, incredible amount of aggression in his delivery (which sounds great) we get an overall really good start to this album. There's also some corny moments, such as on one of his biggest songs 'Love the Way You Lie', "Now you get to watch her leave out the window // Guess that's why they call it window pane", as he talks on a toxic relationship that starts off great but over time gets nasty and abusive. Rihanna then fittingly fits the play the role of the hook with great vocals and an incredibly infectious hook over this explosive beat, piano and guitar which makes a good instrumental. The whole song is a smash hit and you can tell why - it's catchy has a passionate delivery from Em but a few corny lines mean it isn't perfect but it's still great. It's also a very introspective, open and honest lyrical performance from Em, shown on 'Talkin' 2 Myself', "Hatred was flowin' through my veins // On the verge of goin' insane // I almost made a song dissin' Lil Wayne // It's like I was jealous of him 'cause of the attention he was gettin' // I felt horrible about myself, he was spittin' and I wasn't // Anyone who was buzzin' back then coulda got it // Almost went at Kanye too", as he talks us through his perspective during his hiatus – his addiction, writers block, almost dissing rappers for no reason before we get a 3rd victorious verse where he overcomes these demons and tells us he’s back. Kobe has some incredible vocals on the hook and slots in with the the hurt and desperation in his voice and I really like that guitar melody in the beat and the heavenly feel to the song. Em's delivery again is full of such anger and pain and with an amazing hook and great introspection - this is one of the best songs on here. It's a great performance from him. He has a great flow and his shouting delivery works on here as he sounds extremely passionate.
The features all stand out and do a decent enough job on the album. P!nk is the first we get on the hook of 'Won't Back Down' and she provides a decent hook as Em spends the track reminding everyone why he's the best with great punchlines, double/triple entendres & wordplay throughout over this amazing rock-inspired booming beat, "These other cats ain't metaphorically where I'm at, man // I gave Bruce Wayne a Valium // And said, “Settle your fuckin' ass down! // I'm ready for combat, man!” // Get it? Calm Batman, nah". Again the aggressive delivery and flow make this song just an amazing and enjoyable track to listen to. Lil Wayne on 'No Love' provides a verse packed with wordplay, punchlines and vivid metaphors, "Throw dirt on me and grow a wildflower // But it's "Fuck the world," get a child out her", as he sounds hungry on this with a great flow. The 'What Is Love' Haddaway sample is great with the deep synth bass and quick drums as the track is about being back in the rap game and trying to own it - anyone who doubts it will now regret them. If you think Wayne sounded hungry, Em was starving - he rapped his ass off here with one of his finest verses ever with slick wordplay, great bars, punchlines and an incredible rhyme scheme, "You can still get roasted, ‘cause Marsh is not mellow // 'Til I'm topplin' from the top, I'm not gonna stop // I'm standin' on my Monopoly board (Uh) // That means I'm on top of my game // And it don't stop 'til my hip don't hop anymore (Shit)". The hook is amazing and both rappers absolutely spaz on one of Recovery's finest moments. Kobe again jumps on 'Cinderella Man' and has some nice vocals as the track is based on film of same name - he was down and out due to drug addiction, but he’s back now and back on top of the rap game. The booming drums and aggressive bass make a great beat as Em provides hard bars and extremely vivid metaphors with some nice but not too complicated wordplay too, "Smash an hourglass, grab the sand, take his hands and cup 'em // Spit a rhyme to freeze a clock, take the hands of time and cuff 'em". His flow is fun, the energy levels are amazing and it's a motivational song - one of the biggest highlights on here.
Content wise the main focus is on his recovery from addiction and depression, such as on 'Going Through Changes' which is one of his most emotional songs he's ever done as he opens up about losing proof, drug addiction, weight gain and depression before confessing his love for Kim is eternal even if they can’t be together. His lyrics are honest, raw, emotional and introspective as the whole melancholy mood is captured by this emotional beat and sorry bass guitar as well as the 'Changes' sample by Black Sabbath being amazing. The whole tracks so honest and emotional, then at the end of the 3rd verse Hailey's voice is so powerful as he says it kept him alive – one of his best songs ever, so inspiring and eye opening. Other moments focus more on love and relationships (possibly with Kim), such as on 'Space Bound' as he talks on damaged trust from previous relationships and it eventually leads to the break down of his current relationship and gets abusive. Em has some nice metaphors and wordplay and with a great hook and guitar based, soft beat - this passionate track with a nice flow all comes together to make this an enjoyable breakup song. The other key theme is him still being the best rapper, shown on 'On Fire' as he hits back at the critics stating how sick he is and that he’s “on fire”. The mean punchlines, wordplay and verses full of bars keep you entertained, "Fuck it, I ain't playin', pull up in a van // And hop out on a homeless man holding a sign sayin' // "Vietnam vet", I'm out my fuckin' mind, man // Kick over the can, beat his ass, and leave him nine grand", over this fire beat with catchy drums and dramatic chanting. His cold flow is another highlight but the meh hook isn't quite memorable despite it not being too bad - it's still overall a great song.
Other tracks to look at include 'W.T.P.' where Em pulls up to different white trash parties and uses all the stereotypes like gas cans in the back of the car over these booming drums with a great bass. His charisma and flow are fun as are his wordplay, punchlines and funny one liners and this is an enjoyable listen. 'Seduction' see's Em taking this girl from another rapper (which is a metaphor for taking the rap game back) as he provides some humorous bars and some pretty mean ones as well. The violins, staggered drums patters and light mood sounds good as the hook is great and the delivery again like most tracks just makes every single song hit harder than it should and it's yet another great song. '25 To Life' is a relationship song where he gives his all and gets walked all over - until the twist at the end when it turns out it’s a metaphor for hip hop. The verses are powerful once you know the twist, even without it the verses are lyrically strong as Liz Rodrigues gives some nice vocals on the hook as the drums and claps are nice partnered next to the acoustic guitar and piano. It's a great twist and great amount of aggression in his voice with a solid flow once again.
'So Bad' has funny punchlines and one liners as he talks about sleeping with and moving onto different girls. The bouncy beat and catchy melody is classic Dre as the catchy hook, good verses and cocky attitude works for this kind of track. Finally, 'You're Never Over' is a tribute song to lifetime best friend proof who was shot dead in 2006 at a nightclub, as he provides some emotional but triumphant lyrics, "...and Proof // Not many are lucky enough to have a guardian angel like you // Lord, I'm so thankful, please don't think that I don't feel grateful, I do // Just grant me the strength that I need for one more day to get through // So, homie, this is your song, I dedicate this to you // I love you, Doody". The very harsh bass and nice drum pattern isn't too special, but other than that it's very emotional, heart-warming and a special song for a fallen friend.
To conclude, this is a great album from Eminem, there isn't a single bad song on here. It's the first time he's really opened up like this on a major scale, it shows maturity from him and shows there's more to him as an artist. It's arguably the best pop rap album ever made, with entertaining lyrics and catchy songs - there's rarely an aspect of this project I dislike. On a mainstream scale he hit the top again, and was back to where he said he'd be post-hiatus.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Cold Wind Blows, Talkin' 2 Myself, Won't Back Down, Going Through Changes, Not Afraid, No Love, Space Bound, Cinderella Man, 25 To Life, Almost Famous, Love the Way You Lie, You're Never Over
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Untitled
OVERALL RATING: Solid 9/10