Slim Shady gets thin on relevance

Every summer, some character from a past blockbuster comes back to entertain yet again.

Eminem performs in Detroit Tuesday: demented anti-hero returns.

Eminem

Relapse

— Interscope

Every summer, some character from a past blockbuster comes back to entertain yet again.

They tease with the notion that this time will be just as thrilling as the last — but usually disappoint.

Last year it was Indiana Jones. This year, it’s Eminem’s Slim Shady.

Rap’s demented antihero — the star of Eminem’s bestselling CDs and biggest hits — has returned to torment us once again on Relapse, Eminem’s first full studio album in almost five years.

“I guess it’s time for you to hate me again/Let’s begin, now hand me the pen,” he chants in the refrain of Medicine Ball, a nonsensical ode to menacing behaviour that includes everything from a Christopher Reeve insult to pill-popping references.

The problem is, what Relapse inspires more than hate is indifference. When Eminem and his alter-ego Slim Shady made their debut a decade ago, not only were the raps a lot wittier, they also introduced us to a sinister darkness that was shocking and revelatory at the same time: We felt as if we were getting an insider’s view of a tormented soul gleefully upending society.

Four albums later, we get the picture. Adding new layers of gore, misogyny and hateful epithets doesn’t make it any fresher, especially if the rhymes are progressively weaker.

Bagpipes from Baghdad skewers Mariah Carey, but wasn’t that so 2003?

Is Marshall Mathers still carrying a torch for Ms. Carey? And does anyone care?

Equally dated is the weak first single, We Made You, which takes shots at Sarah Palin and the romance between Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer … which fizzled four months ago.

Even if the romance was still relevant, the celebrity potshot comes off as a rote attempt to capture the magic of songs like Without Me without any of the sizzling rhymes.

But Eminem didn’t become known as one of the best rappers alive (some say THE best) for nothing, and Relapse proves that he’s still an unparalleled storyteller.

Unfortunately, that proof comes only in spurts, like on the alternately tragic and hilarious sex abuse tale Insane and My Mom, on which he points the finger yet again at his horrid mother— but this time, for his dependence on over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Beautiful has the potential to be both maudlin and downright corny, with its sample of Queen’s Reaching Out, as Eminem pleads to have someone walk a mile in his shoes to see his painful vantage point.

But the confessional contained within is excellent and engrossing.

If only Relapse had more of this to offer.

But the Dr. Dre-helmed CD puts more effort in doling out shock humor than illuminating tales, and suffers for that choice.

Instead of giving us a new script, we get a story we’ve seen before.

— Nekesa Mumbi Moody, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Chemical analysis may provide clues to cause of huge Red Deer industrial fire

Fire on April 17 caused $9 million in damage to oil and gas industrial building

New loonie reason to celebrate and educate: central Alberta LGBTQ community

The new LGBTQ2 loonie is a conversation starter and a reason to… Continue reading

C & E Trail property owner wants to use land as RV storage yard

Red Deer city council gives initial approval

Indigenous cultural centre needed in Red Deer

Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosts annual community gathering

Red Deer youth recognized for his compassion

Blackfalds man dies after vehicle collision

MISSING: Joshua Arthur Sanford

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Most Read