Well, this was unexpected! On the first single from his new album, Eminem throws his old one under the bus. The exact words: “Let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was ‘ehh’ / perhaps I ran them accents into the ground / relax I ain’t going back to that now.” While some of the nearly two million people that bought Relapse would surely disagree, we very much appreciate the candor, especially the bit about the accents (those were, indeed, the worst). It’s funny, though — yeah, the reviews weren’t amazing, but generally Relapse was seen as a success. At the very least, no one was expecting Em to call himself out for it.
So, what does that mean for Recovery? Well, if “Not Afraid” is any indication, a whole bunch of motivational-speaker rap. It’s all about Eminem coming out alive on the other side of his drug addiction, positive and refreshed. This is the chorus: “I’m not afraid / to take a stand / everybody / come take my hand / we’ll walk this road together, through the storm / whatever weather, cold or warm.” Which is, of course, a legitimately valid and, surely, genuine sentiment. It also makes this the sappiest goddamn thing Eminem’s ever done. (Need more proof? Same song, third verse: “I’ll shoot for the moon but I’m too busy gazing at stars.”) That said, “Not Afraid,” we’re confident, will be a huge hit, and sincerely affect the lives of millions of people. That means all we can do now is wait for Recovery 2’s first single, where Eminem will hopefully apologize for it.