Album review: Eminem - Recovery
So Eminem is back to being his bad old self after the mediocrity of Encore and Relapse, and perhaps spends too much of this seventh studio record apologising for recent shortcomings.
Talkin' To Myself refers to those albums specifically, dismissing them firstly as the product of being on drugs and then having them flushed out of his system.
His rapping is back to its dynamic best, bouncing off the walls on the Haddaway sampling No Love, and furiously balancing syllables on the potential monster hit Space Bound, one of only two tracks produced by long-time mentor collaborator, Dr Dre. That sounds loosely based on a generic rock sample, while Going Through Changes bends the gnarled old Black Sabbath ballad back into shape after it was contorted into a hit for Ozzy and daughter Kelly Osbourne.
But does Marshall Mathers have anything else to say? The hyperbole surrounding his Scottish shows a decade ago suggested that he was a modern-day Burns, a working-class poet for harsh times. Almost Famous re-enacts the drive and desperation of his early days, with rhymes and metaphors tripping out at a giddy pace, even if he does do that old "poet and didn't know it" trick.
On Fire has a go at the critics, but that's not why this sounds closer to William McGonagall than the revered Rabbie to me.
This article was first published in Scotland on Sunday on 20 June.