Eminem’s sixth album, isn’t his jump the shark moment: it’s the continuation of a long leap that started with his previous album Encore. As a rapper, he remains an unstoppable force, but topically, he’s running on empty. Relapse is Marshall’s rehab album, which in theory should mean it’s charged with some kind of vital introspection. You expect darkness, and it is, incredibly so, but rather than articulate the journey as all good navel gazing rockers would, he spends a substantial hunk of this album dreaming up elaborate sexual assaults, murders and other pill induced mania. The running joke of Slim Shady the errant psychopath has worn thin finally, so for the most part, Eminem has abandoned the comedy in favour of more near-the-knuckle serial killer gore, and frankly, it sucks. Dre is on hand to do his best to distract us from the lyrical folly with beats fatter than his whale omelette but it just isn’t enough.
There’s a follow up album promised in six months time that was recorded at the same time. Here’s hoping he’s saving the best for last.