Studio Album by released in 2009
Relapse's tracklist:
Dr. West (skit)
3 a.m.
My Mom
Bagpipes from Baghdad
Tonya (skit)
Same Song & Dance
We Made You
Medicine Ball
Paul (skit)
Stay Wide Awake
Old Time's Sake (feat. Dr. Dre)
Must Be the Ganja
Mr. Mathers (skit)
Deja vu
Crack a Bottle (feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent)
Steve Berman (skit)

Relapse review

The re-united tandem of Eminem and Dr. Dre

Right when Eminem started having his sleeping pills problems his music career went straight down the hill. He did production for some time and even released the album Eminem Presents The Re-Up in 2006 but that did not last long. Taking into account his unhappy childhood one could easily predict such a result of those self-therapy experiments therefore little got surprised when the White Rapper eventually got into hospital. Yet that Slim Shady would completely recover his form and return to music was difficult to foresee even for hip-hop’s faithful fans. Nevertheless, already in late 2007 Eminem and his most long-term friend and colleague Dr. Dre got into the studio: the latter took the production so as to make Eminem feel free to a full extent in writing new lyrics and melodies. At last in the second part of May Eminem’s sixth studio creation that got called Relapse sees the light of the day. In fact this is only a small part of the entire material as the re-united tandem has written a great number of successful tracks and we can easily expect the continuation, Relapse 2, at the end of this year.

Rehab, introspection and meeting one’s own demons on Relapse

Although it has passed quite some time since Proof’s death both Eminem and his other friends still remember their brother: failing to choose any concrete song for this purpose Slim Shady has devoted the entire Relapse to the late friend writing the word to him at the last page of the disc cover which on the whole turns out to be quite informative. As for the record’s content everything is completely clear and conceptual here: what else can the rapper sing best if not about rehab, introspection and facing his own demons? The problem of drug addiction recovery sounds throughout the album, and the opener is Dr. West (Skit), a dialogue between the doctor and the patient anticipating to start a new life. It is not worth while believing, though, that everything is going to be fine and optimistic on Relapse. Right on the contrary, this album can be considered the darkest and most aggressive in Eminem’s entire discography. As the brightest example of that, here is the track 3 A.M. about a serial killer, one of the most sullen and even unappetizing on the record. The deep exploration of Eminem’s own complexes starts on My Mom on which he is trying to find the direct connection between his drug problems and his mother although admitting that he still loves her at the end. The attempt to understand his own drawbacks, track Insane almost utterly consists of unprintable vocabulary and yet pleases with a memorable tune and an interesting arrangement. The fans devotion Hello reminds us from what the rapper’s creative part started as well as the composition Same Song & Dance, again presenting Slim Shady’s opinion about pop stars. One of the brightest and most impressive numbers undoubtedly is Stay Wide Awake rich in the sad images of a broken person’s life against the background of a sullen piano sample – here the artist gets closest to the level of his hit Guilty Conscience. As for the collaborations there is the minimum of them on this album – Dr. Dre joins Eminem for a short time on Old Time's Sake and the single Crack A Bottle Must is performed by three friends: Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. For those interested in the album making story the dialogue between the artist and producer Steve Berman (Skit) will seem especially valuable, and the album closer is another impressive piece Underground that seems to arrive from the darkest part of Eminem’s consciousness.

Hatred as a part of life

Relapse definitely has all the chances to return the rapper his positions in the hip-hop industry although perhaps somebody would like to hear more topical compositions with a heavy portion of humor on it as the artist was once good at them, too. It seems like there is no place for jokes in the midst of dark songs full of hate to himself, to life, to his mother and his father, to doctors, to drugs but there can be no limits and boundaries in the creative work for a man that has made hatred a part of his life. Thus the song Bagpipes From Baghdad proves to be less connected with the artist’s personal problems in this respect telling about relations seen through the prism of politics which is more typical of the rapper’s last album, 2004’s Encore. Yet the things are no more that simple. The album’s colorful cover art depicts Eminem as a patient shot in the head, the head is made of pills and it is clear from the other pictures that Dr. Dre plays the part of his doctor. Though Relapse reminds of The Slim Shady more than anything this work is made by a person who knows himself much deeper and bravely dialoguing with his own shadow.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (25.05.2009)
Rate review3.09
Total votes - 10537

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