It’s easy to interpret the title of Eminem’s upcoming album Recovery, as reference to his escape from an abyss of drugs and loss after the death of his friend Proof. After all, his last album was called Relapse, and what does one do after a relapse? They Recovery! Get it?! But not so fast Eminem scholars. The first single off Recovery dropped today. It’s called “Not Afraid,” and its lyrics tell a different story.
First off, the song is notable for being the first debut single from an Eminem album that isn’t slapstick in tone (Sadly, this means he won’t be dressing up as Joy Behar in the song’s video.) But it’s notable also for when the angry white rapper calls Relapse—what many considered to be a fairly successful comeback album—a letdown. The lyric goes, “To the fans, I never let you down again, I’m back/ I promise to never go back on that promise/In fact, let’s be honest/ That last Relapse CD was ehh/ Perhaps I ran them accents into the ground/ Relax, I ain’t going to do that now.” No one’s better at making fun of themselves than Eminem (except for maybe B. Rabbit), but we thought the album was pretty good. So is this album going to be a Recovery from mediocrity, or is he going to have to title his next album Apology? Time shall tell.