Saturday, December 5, 2009

Relapse: Refill Review

It bothers me when artists re-release an album with a couple of new songs and expect people to buy the thing all over again. A few other artists have done this. Jay-Z pulled this dick move a few years back by re-releasing Blueprint 2 as a shrunken version of itself with two added songs called Blueprint 2.1. In pretty much everyone's opinion including mine, he could have done this from the beginning, as there were a handful of tracks that we all can agree could have easily never been heard by anyone without complaint ("As One" anyone?). But, now I'm supposed to buy an album for 2 songs? I'd be especially pissed if the internet didn't exist. But, since it does, I am just annoyed at this type of thing. Eminem is next in line with Relapse: Refill. Refill contains 7 "new" tracks previously unreleased. Or, at least, previously unavailable when purchasing Relapse. So, I listened a few times and here's my quick take on it track by track.

"Forever" - Everyone's heard this song by now. It's been floating around for months, and while Em's verse is the one everyone was anticipating, and is not surprisingly the best verse on the song by far, it doesn't feel like it's his song. It feels like he's just being featured on it. It feels out of place on this collection and was probably an afterthought included only because of the attention it's been getting due to the lineup (and his verse).

"Hell Breaks Loose" contains more of the Relapse style, but is clearly a cutting room floor-type song, complete with Dr. Dre sounding ridiculous while spitting Eminem-penned lyrics in full Eminem style. It came off sounding really awkward. When Dre's on a song with Em he should really have someone else write his lyrics. There has to be some kind of contrast in style and delivery, or it just sounds dumb in my opinion.

"Buffalo Bill" is an interesting psychopathic song, probably just as strong as the ones that actually appeared on Relapse. I guess some have to be forgone, but this is fucking nuts. And, the Yoda voice keeps the humor in it.

"Elevator" is a good song, not a great song. Kind of a celebration of success. His rise is pretty amazing when you think about it. He did grind for a while. Say what you want about his whiteness - you may have a point, but still, he paid his fucking dues.

"Taking My Ball", the song that was exclusive to the DJ Hero game for what? A month?, is kinda funny. The wordplay is undeniably dope. But, the song comes off as just average though.

"Music Box" is a song I could see being on the original Relapse. Another Psychotic narrative, but I think this one is better than "Buffalo Bill".

"Drop The Bomb On Em" - Well goddamn this song is sick and there's no other way to put it. I'm loving this one.

Overall, like I said before I'm still annoyed that Slim and his label decided to repackage an existing album that was just released this year with some new tracks, pretend they are doing it "for the fans" and expect them to pay for it. If it's for the fans then just leak the shit on the internet, and let the fans have it. In my opinion, as far as the flow and the way he puts words together, Em is at the top of his game and making lesser MCs look foolish. Concept wise, at times I think he just goes through the motions sometimes and should be much further along at this point in his career. But, we'll see what next year's release of Relapse 2 brings.

This collection definitely doesn't suck. I actually think it's pretty good. It just feels like several of them have similar styles to what ended up being on the album that was released. Meaning he picked what he thought were the best ones, and these were left out. For a reason. So, I don't think it's right to put the album out again with these added and expect people to buy. It is worth the listen. I just don't think it necessary or ethical to charge for it, so I wouldn't say it's worth the purchase. Relapse 2 probably will be.

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