After giving it three listens last night before bed, I’ve come to one conclusion about Eminem’s Relapse – that its an album of hate.
[ad]Hate, as an emotion, is expected of MM. He’s built his entire career on that one single word. The targets, at first, were his mom, then Kim.
In Relapse, though, the target is he himself.
One of the best tracks on the album is “Deja Vu“. Eminem, in usual sardonic style, rubs himself off this time about his drug addiction and his hatred for both being addicted, as well for getting clean. This sort of dichotomy is permeates throughout the album, such as in the track “My Mom [Explicit]” where, instead of firing on his mother, he makes himself the target of ridicule and hate, for becoming, ironically, an exact replica of his mother – passing out, dead stoned in front of his kids.
Another good song on the album is “Beautiful“, on which Eminem, once again, tries to do something of a ballad, quite like “Hailey’s Song”. The results are not as spectacular, but it is one of the better efforts on the album.
You can see here that Relapse was an album he needed to make. Not wanted to. Not compelled to. Eminem’s Relapse is as much about him getting himself out of the serious dirt hole he’d landed into – the rhymes here are more likely to contain “valium” and “NyQuil” than hos and well, blue pills.
There are the usual Eminem staples – “Insane” and “We Made You” have Eminem doing what he’s done for years, namely making Hollywood glitz rap with a trademark sardonic sense of humor. These two songs, though, seem weak here when the general mood of the album is so down and depressive.
As far as rappers go, Eminem’s tracks have always been something of an anomaly. In the early 2000s, when most rappers were at their douchy, money hungry, bling-bling best, parading semi naked girls and fancy cars, Eminem was making songs like “Cleaning Out My Closet” and “Stan“.
Relapse is another in the same tradition. In terms of lyrical matter, it resembles something by the Alice in Chains (Dirt, to be specific) with its usually dark mood and self-depreciative lyrics.
And that’s pretty much the beauty of this album: Eminem, here is battling himself. Not mom, not Kim. Not conservatives and MCs. He’s swung his hate guns on himself, and the result are wholly unexpected, and wholly worthy of merit.