It’s been five years since Eminem’s last album, and the break from making music, in which he reportedly started using a myriad different prescription drugs, has given him a lot of time to nurture his anger and inner turmoil. This comes out in some highly interesting and lyrically entertaining ways (despite the subject matter) on his new twenty track album, Relapse.

The record starts out with Eminem showing us a small sliver of what his reality must be like now – “Dr West” shows him talking with a doctor who is less than helpful when it comes to Em’s recovery, and shows how he is constantly battling people who don’t believe it’s important he becomes sober.

Em then goes on to lay bare almost every aspect of his problematic life as he talks about out-of-control drug use on “3 A.M.,” blames his mom for being the way he turned out on the beat-driven “My Mom,” and lays himself bare on “Medicine Ball” when he sings “I guess it’s time for you to hate me again” repeatedly.

Interestingly enough, the first single, “We Made You,” pales in comparison to the rest of the poignant album, as Eminem pulls out overdone jibes at ‘it’ girls and useless celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian. It’s funny for one or two listens, but nowhere near as captivating as the rest of the album.

Other top tracks include “Beautiful” and “Underground.” Old pals Dr Dre and 50 Cent are the only guest vocal appearances on “Old Times Sake” and “Crack A Bottle,” keeping the focus on Eminem and the story he’s telling here.

As with most of Eminem’s songs, it is not the music you notice – the slickly Dr Dre-produced hip-hop beats take a back seat to the stories Eminem so vividly creates for his listeners.

Relapse is a sometimes comical, often very dark, well-executed comeback album from a master of hip-hop. Even if you hate him, Eminem’s new album is still worth a listen.


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