Album Review
Eminem - Relapse Album Cover

Eminem - Relapse

Reviewed by
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Record Label: Aftermath
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Cause we need a little controversy/cause it feels so empty/without me.

That’s the famous hook from Marshall Mathers’ (more famously known as Eminem) hit 2002 single, “Without Me.” But has it really been empty? We have controversy (Kanye West and anything he does, Nas trying to name his last album after the N-word), young stars (Wale, Charles Hamilton), and a platinum-selling artist messed up on drugs (Weezy F. Baby). But Eminem has always brought that certain charm to the genre. And with four platinum records under his belt and a plethora of hit singles, Em’s first album in 5 years, Relapse, is bound to cause some noise.

The first three tracks off Relapse feature the typical banter of Eminem. Going on a murderous rampage as a psychotic killer (3am)? Check. Hating his mom (My Mom)? Check. Getting ass raped as a child by his stepfather (Insane)? Check. Eighth grade Drew would have found this edgy. He is going back to the shock tactics used in earlier albums, but it’s totally blasé. The listeners will react with a “been there, done that” attitude to a lot of the lyrical themes present on Relapse.

Then there is the accent. It’s like he became a Rastafarian. But it dooms singles “We Made You” and “Crack A Bottle.” The flow and tone are just laughable. Regardless if it’s Eminem taking on a split persona, it’s horrible and should have been placed in the trash bin.

Relapse isn’t entirely a lost cause. There are a handful of quality tracks that prove Slim still has it. “For Old’s Time Sake” features a classic Dre cut, while “Must Be The Ganja” contains a killer hook within a laid-back beat. The dark “Déjà Vu” is a favorite, because Eminem’s reflection on the past few years really brings out his best. The line “See, me and you, we almost had the same outcome, Heath,” is especially chilling. Eminem definitely hits somewhat of a stride on the later tracks of the album, as “Beautiful” comes off as the album’s ballad. Closer “Underground” displays that Marshall Mathers fire, proving he can still overtake any beat.

But ultimately the bad singles and filler tracks (Bagpipes From Baghdad for example) sink Relapse. Tracks like “Medicine Ball” inject some good humor (the final Christopher Reeves diss is hilarious), but for every decent track, there are two or three throwaway songs. Having only six or seven good tracks on an album of twenty is never a good thing.

In the end, Relapse is like all the bad horror remakes that have been littering theaters recently. It’s a rehashing of old ideas and plotlines, and you know it isn’t going to be good. But you go see it anyway, decide, “eh, it’s decent for what it was,” and move on with life. But that’s the saddest part about Relapse. It isn’t the crappy accent or the weak beats from Dre, rather it’s the realization that Slim Shady has become stale. Maybe a second Relapse this fall will make things better.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Dr. West (Skit)
2. 3am
3. My Mom
4. Insane
5. Bagpipes From Baghdad
6. Hello
7. Tonya (Skit)
8. Same Song & Dance
9. We Made You
10. Medicine Ball
11. Paul (Skit)
12. Stay Wide Awake
13. Old Time’s Sake ft. Dr. Dre
14. Must Be The Ganja
15. Mr. Mathers (Skit)
16. Déjà vu
17. Beautiful
18. Crack A Bottle ft. Dr. Dre and 50 Cent
19. Steve Berman (Skit)
20. Underground
Produced by: Dr. Dre

Official Website; Official Myspace

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 119
01:05 AM on 05/20/09
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WhoSaidThat?'s Avatar
Great review. You perfectly captured my immense disappointment with this album.
01:06 AM on 05/20/09
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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Drew Beringer's Avatar
I am very lukewarm on this album. Some parts I like, some parts I'm indifferent too, and other parts I just flat out hate. Still a pretty fun album to listen to with the windows down (hence the high reviewer tilt), but fun =/= good.
01:09 AM on 05/20/09
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WhoSaidThat?'s Avatar
I am very lukewarm on this album. Some parts I like, some parts I'm indifferent too, and other parts I just flat out hate. Still a pretty fun album to listen to with the windows down (hence the high reviewer tilt), but fun =/= good.
01:26 AM on 05/20/09
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Cheesus's Avatar
Good review Drew, as usual..

Crack A Bottle almost made me cry it was just so bad. However, 6-7 decent tracks is sadly enough to make me want to check this out.

The album cover is neat too
02:14 AM on 05/20/09
Nick Le
Yeezy taught me.
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Nick Le's Avatar
This was a great review. I'll still check this out though. I agree about the accent too.
03:08 AM on 05/20/09
here since blink fansite
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allisterkid's Avatar
I'm reluctant to listen to this yet. I have heard my roommate play it many times and it sounds pretty bad, and he tells me it's amazing, maybe his best and he thinks I'll think it's amazing. haha

Let's just say we usually don't have anywhere near the same opinion on amazing.
04:17 AM on 05/20/09
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Paulb-182's Avatar
I really hope Relapse 2 will provide the goods this album is missing
06:23 AM on 05/20/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Gregory Robson's Avatar
This album is awful.
07:43 AM on 05/20/09
I re-hee-hee-hee-lay don't care.
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No Avatar Selected
Drew, you seem to hit the nail on the head with some of your reviews. Eminem was good back when I was 10 and enjoyed hearing, "my bum is on your lips!" He has lost his stride after that break. I look at the track listing and wonder "Am I listening to a Kanye West album?" But, Eminem has lost it and should pass it down to rappers like P.O.S. and Atmosphere. I would rather listen to When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That S*** Gold then Relapse. And if he does have another one coming out in the fall. Just drop it and let us get on with our lives. I won't lie the anticipation is not killing me this time.
07:59 AM on 05/20/09
Go Bills!
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capnhook54's Avatar
I disagree completely. I love this record. Best since Marshall Mathers LP.
08:18 AM on 05/20/09
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No Avatar Selected
I am scared to check this out
08:28 AM on 05/20/09
Registered User
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SummerPerfuma's Avatar
From what I've heard of the album so far (I'm half way through), I think one thing you fail to mention is how good his flow still is, if not, even better. His lyrical content/flow on the tracks I've heard is pretty dope.
08:42 AM on 05/20/09
Mint Berry Crunch!!!
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nicoteen's Avatar
It took some spins but this album grew on me immensely. I think is his best work since Marshall Mathers LP. To each his own but to only give the Dre. production a 7 and music a 6.5? I agree that the lyrical content is a little repetitive but it flows nicely.
08:43 AM on 05/20/09
yeezy season approachin
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RonStoppable's Avatar
Horrible, horrible, horrible. I liked maybe four or five tracks, but this was the biggest disappointment of 2009 for me so far.

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