Behind the Times

Eminem
Relapse

(Aftermath/Interscope)

By Hunter Embry

Eminem's first studio album in five years, Relapse, is a mix of stellar production, interesting deliveries and tired lyrics. A lot has changed in the rap game since 2004 and Relapse proves that even the world's most controversial, yet talented rapper is having a hard time keeping up.

Most of the album is produced by Dr. Dre, so the fact that the beats are rhythmically punching and engaging should come as no surprise. "Bagpipes From Baghdad" displays a traditional bouncy kick/snare combination with a reverberating bagpipe riff weaved throughout high-pitched Egyptian-style vocal melodies, but Eminem uses the beat to background his Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon insults.

"We Made You" is much of the same celebrity bashing in a sophisticated verbal form over-top an upbeat dance groove, while Eminem in his Slim Shady persona talks about nailing Sarah Palin, Kim Kardashian's "massive, gluteus maximus," Jessica Alba's breasts and Britney Spears Ritalin binges.

The only track solely produced by Eminem is the most sincere. "Beautiful" is a ballad with a distorted guitar ringing deep in the mix and soft keys to glue it all together. Eminem talks about his time away, surviving drug addiction and how hard it's been to pick up the microphone again.

Eminem's ability to let words mix through his head and roll of his tongue almost flawlessly is in and of itself enough for any music-lover to chew-on for a while, but his content is worn out. His verbal assault of has-been celebs and his mother aren't interesting anymore. Hopefully on the next album, Eminem feels comfortable enough to mature his content and fulfill his musical potential because there's no more room in rap for staleness.

You guessed it: Eminem.com.