Relapse – Eminem’s Voluntary Return to Where He Should Never Be Again
Relapse is the act of going back to an old habit you tried to quit. It has been highly identified with drug addiction, alcoholism and smoking because of obvious reasons. This makes it already more of an apt title for Eminem’s new album, his first in four and a half years. I thought, before I already listened to the album, Relapse is Eminem’s quest for redemption after four years of absence, unsuccessful reconciliation with his ex-wife and countless bouts addiction that included several stints in rehab.
After listening to all of the tracks, I realized I am slightly off mark. Relapse is not his quest for redemption because he doesn’t believe he needs one. Relapse is about, well, relapse. This is Eminem’s return to his usual habit and all familiar place of lyrical excellence and natural thorough dark celebration of heavy thoughts. There is one thing I couldn’t get though, what is the album really about?
The first associate of songs were downright violent and sick. The first track, 3AM talked about blood and gore. The second, My Mom, was his message to his mother on her drug dependency and how he hates to be the one to carry it on. Insane was about child molestation while Hello is about drug abuse. There is the skit of his lawyer’s outrage on Mather’s decision to say something about Christopher Reeves. Many says that this is his most outrageous album to date but I am not sure if it he was able to already come close to intriguing the audience.
He has truly cemented himself in the music industry by shocking other people with his over the top courage to touch on issues others will not already dream of. He was good at it. Those albums were good and that goodness usually happens only once, in his case twice. The toughest thing about coming out with such shocking contents is the two and only two results you may expect: (a) That you successfully shock the world that would consequence to having the half of it adore you and the other loath you, or (b) That you come out a trying hard has been version of yourself.
In this album, I feel he was forcing it. He was forcing what used to come so naturally for him. He was forcing the world to see him as this weird notorious musical bully he once was.
Eminem is good, great already. He is one of those artists you can say started a trend. Before him, no rapper talked about personal things so publicly that you lose all the strength to put him down because no one can do it better than him. His tortured himself so hard, it automatically gave him the right to do it to others just as hard. He has proven his worth and nothing and no one can take that away from him.
The question now is if he nevertheless has “it”. So many thing have changed since the starving angry and bitter Slim Shady first took the stage. Back then, he had nothing but his voice and he used it with all his might. He now has more millions I can use in my lifetime and more awards than I can fit in my dream car. He is a different person now. There is no reason for him to go back which is what he was trying to do in this album. I can’t help but feel that is the worst that can happen to Eminem, to lose the honesty of his music.