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Recovery (Eminem album)

Recovery is the seventh studio album by American rapper Eminem. It was released on June 18, 2010, by Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records as the follow-up to Eminem's previous album Relapse (2009). Originally planned to be released as Relapse 2, the album was renamed to Recovery when Eminem found the album to be musically different from its predecessor.

The cover features Eminem walking down the road under clear blue sky. On top-left corner, in bold and capitalised format, the title RECOVERY appears.
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 18, 2010 (2010-06-18)
GenreHip hop
Eminem chronology
Relapse: Refill
Hell: The Sequel
Alternative cover art
The cover image features skyscrapers in center under cloudy blue sky. Above which, on the ground, transparent glass-type cuboidal body is placed. Inside which, appears a living room with Eminem seated on sofa watching television. On top-left corner, in bold and capitalised format, the title RECOVERY appears.
Singles from Recovery
  1. "Not Afraid"
    Released: April 29, 2010
  2. "Love the Way You Lie"
    Released: August 9, 2010
  3. "No Love"
    Released: October 5, 2010
  4. "Space Bound"
    Released: June 18, 2011

Production of the album took place during 2009 to 2010 at several recording studios and was handled by various record producers, including Alex da Kid, Just Blaze, Boi-1da, Jim Jonsin, DJ Khalil, Mr. Porter, and Dr. Dre. Eminem also collaborated with artists such as Pink, Lil Wayne, Slaughterhouse and Rihanna for the album. Recovery featured more introspective and emotional content than its predecessor and the theme of the album revolved around his positive changes, anxiety, and emotional drives. To promote the album, he performed the album's songs live on televised shows, at award ceremonies, musical events and also headed The Recovery Tour. It spawned four singles; "Not Afraid", "Love the Way You Lie", "No Love", and "Space Bound", with the former two both reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has sold over 4.9 million copies in the United States[1] and nearly 15 million copies worldwide.

Recovery received positive reviews from critics and had earned Eminem American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Detroit Music Awards and Grammy Awards. It was also nominated for Brit Awards, Juno Awards and MTV Video Music Awards Japan. Recovery went on to become the best selling album of 2010 in the US and worldwide. At the 2011 Grammys It was nominated for Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year for the Album and the international chart topping single "Love the Way You Lie".

Background and productionEdit

Eminem first planned the release of Relapse 2 as a sequel to Relapse

After the release of Relapse Eminem planned to release a second album in 2009 entitled Relapse 2, which would have used material from the Relapse recording session[2] That June he stated that he expected the album to be released sometime within the fourth quarter of 2009 .[3] although the release was eventually delayed until 2010 with Eminem instead issuing a special edition of Relapse with a bonus disc with seven tracks entitled Relapse: Refill, to tide fans over.[4] In April 2010, Eminem announced that Relapse 2 was cancelled and that a new project, now called Recovery, will be released to make up for the cancellation.[5] Recording sessions for the album took place during 2009 and 2010 at several recording studios, including Allure Sound in Oak Park, Michigan, 54 Sound and Effigy Studios in Ferndale, Michigan, Black Chiney Studios in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, Boi-1da Studio in Ajax, Ontario, Canada, Playhouse in Parkland, Florida, Avex Honolulu Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii, Encore Studios in Burbank, California, Sun Studios in Temple Bar, Dublin, and Shake 'Em Down Studios in Queens, New York.[6]

Themes and compositionEdit

The album was dedicated "To anyone who's in a dark place tryin' to get out. Keep your head up... It does get better!"[7] Eminem told Billboard that he was in "full-blown addiction" while recording Encore. He felt happier and "first got sober" during the recording of Relapse, having overcome his addiction. While recording Relapse, he admitted that he had not been "paying attention to what the average listener might like or not like." Just Blaze, the first producer of the album said, "[Eminem] already knew what sort of mistakes he has made with the previous album and where he wanted to go from there." Thus, Recovery was more "emotionally driven" than Relapse, which was, as he explains, "[just] rap records."[8] In contrast to Eminem's previous work, the album features no skits,[9] and downplays his Slim Shady alter ego.[10]

The album's artwork featured two covers: One with Eminem walking down a country road and another with him sitting in a transparent living room in the middle of Detroit with the Renaissance Center in the background. The album's liner featured pictures of Eminem such as a picture of him praying and him posing without a shirt on.[7]

The record opens with "Cold Wind Blows" in which Eminem discusses his "doomed love for his ex-wife" and about "settling scores with rival celebs."[11] In "Talkin' 2 Myself", he states the harm caused to his image with lyrics such as: "Encore' I was on drugs, 'Relapse' I was flushing them out."[12] "On Fire" is about "a murder-and-dismemberment fantasy"[11] and "Won't Back Down", which featured Pink, was a rap rock song.[13] The singing to "W.T.P." ("White-Trash Party") is considered similar to his early records with lighter and simple rhythmic frame.[12] "Going Through Changes", which samples Black Sabbath's "Changes", depicts Eminem's sorrow and shows himself trapped within fame.[14] "Not Afraid", a mid-tempo song, focuses on personal changes in Eminem, including an end to drug abuse, feuds and violence.[15]

Idolator commented that the song was based on the "dark days Eminem has lived through," and "he seems to be at peace with himself now."[16] A writer for MuchMusic website noted that Eminem chose to use his Marshall Mathers ego for the song, rather than Slim Shady.[17]

"No Love" features Lil Wayne as a hype man. Eminem's verses follow Lil Wayne, and according to Sam Wolfson of NME were "the best verses of his career."[18] The meaning of "Space Bound" is deemed ambiguous and according to Sasha Grey who is featured in its video, the meaning can be interpreted "in many ways."[19] Jim Jonsin of MTV spoke about Eminem's two egos seen in the video and compared it to Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" video while Grey believed that the alternate Eminem who appears in the car is his subconscious.[19][20]

"Cinderella Man" has a "festive beat" and "the template of every album since Encore (2004)," with many minor keys and traces of post-grunge rock.[11] "25 to Life" shows his discomfiture and depicts that the "selfish bitch" pulling him back "these days is rap itself."[21] Despite the lyrics being tighter throughout the album, "So Bad" and "Almost Famous" view the other side of Slim Shady; his alter ego.[12] The hip-hop ballad "Love The Way You Lie", which features Rihanna, describes a couple's refusal to separate despite having an abusive relationship. Rihanna sings the chorus, backed by an electric guitar and a piano,[22][23] while acoustic guitar, violin and drums accompany Eminem's verses.[22][24] Rihanna's singing expresses "grief and regret" throughout the song.[25]

Release and promotionEdit

Eminem and Rihanna performing "Love the Way You Lie" at E3 2010

To promote the album Eminem released a freestyle titled "Despicable" about "Over" by Drake and "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley" by Lloyd Banks featuring Juelz Santana to promote the first single, "Not Afraid", which debuted on Shade 45 on April 29.[26][27] Recovery was released on June 18 in Europe and on June 21 in the United States and United Kingdom.[28]

Eminem promoted the album throughout its initial release, doing interviews for brands like Red Bull. A commercial for Recovery premiered during Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals. It featured Vince Offer doing a parody of his Slap Chop commercials.[29] There was a Call of Duty: Black Ops ad underscored by "Won't Back Down"; the song also appeared in the game as an easter egg.

On June 15, Eminem appeared among other artists including Usher and for Activision's press conference during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 with Rihanna where the duo performed "Love the Way You Lie". In addition, Eminem performed "Lose Yourself", "Not Afraid", and premiered "Won't Back Down" for the first time.[30] Eminem was featured on E! during their Daily 10 show in an interview with Clinton Sparks[31] and also appeared in a skit on The Soup.[32][33] He performed songs from the album as well as his previous songs at various events such as the 2010 BET Awards,[34] 2010 MTV Video Music Awards,[35] Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010,[36] Bonnaroo Music Festival,[37][38] T in the Park[39] and Virgin Group's V Festival.[40][41] He also headed The Recovery Tour; a series of European, American and Australian concerts in support of the album and its predecessor Relapse.


The first single, "Not Afraid", was released on April 29, 2010.[42] The song sold 380,000 digital downloads in its first week, and became the sixteenth song in the history of the US Billboard Hot 100 to debut at number one;[43] it is the second hip hop single to debut at number one following "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112.[44]

It has sold more than 5 million copies and is certified 10× Platinum (Diamond) by RIAA in the US.[45][46] "Not Afraid" which was directed by Rich Lee, premiered on June 5, 2010 through Vevo.[47] The music video was shot in Newark, New Jersey and won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.[48][49] The song also won Best Solo Rap Performance at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.[50]

The second single was released on August 9, 2010 titled "Love the Way You Lie", which featured Rihanna.[51] The song debuted at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and later peaked number one. The song gave Eminem his fourth US Billboard Hot 100 number one and Rihanna her seventh. It also claimed the top spot on over 20 other charts worldwide. "Love the Way You Lie" went on to be number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks and is certified Diamond by RIAA and has sold more than 6 million in US.[52][53][54] The song became Eminem's best-selling single of all time, selling 9.3 million copies worldwide.[55] Joseph Kahn directed the music video which premiered on August 5, 2010.[56] The video starred Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox. Michael Menachem from Billboard commented that "Rihanna's chorus is exquisitely melodic and surprisingly hopeful, complementing the turmoil of Em's dark, introspective rant."[57] The song was performed at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards and was voted the best performer of the ceremony in an MTV poll, earning 34 percent of votes.[35][58]

"No Love", which features American rapper Lil Wayne, was the third single released on October 5, 2010. "No Love" featured sample of "What Is Love" by Haddaway, which was done by producer Just Blaze.[59][60] The song peaked number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the charts for 20 weeks.[61] The music video, directed by Chris Robinson, premiered on September 30 via Vevo and various MTV networks.[62] The video was about a young school boy who was bullied but had the urge to stand up after being motivated by listening to songs by Eminem and Lil Wayne. They performed "No Love" on Saturday Night Live on December 18, 2010.[63]

"Space Bound" was released as the fourth and final single from the album on March 18, 2011.[64] English songwriter Steve McEwan provided additional vocals in the chorus of the song.[65] The single did not enter US Billboard Hot 100, however was certified Gold in United States on February 9, 2012.[66] The music video for "Space Bound" was shot in February 2011 by Joseph Kahn.[67] The uncensored music video was released on June 24, 2011 at 5 PM EST on iTunes only and the official video then premiered on Vevo on June 27 at 3 AM EST.[68] The plot stars actress Sasha Grey and Eminem in a relationship which ends violently; the video caused controversy for a bloody scene in which Eminem shoots himself.[69] The video was slammed by British anti-violence campaigners.[70] Anti-violence group, Mothers Against Violence, told the Daily Mirror, "It's all about the money with these videos. Eminem isn't thinking about the families affected."[71]

Songs "25 to Life", "Won't Back Down", "Talkin' 2 Myself", and "Cold Wind Blows" also debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 without release as singles.[72][73] "Cinderella Man" was certified Gold in the United States on February 17, 2012.[74]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [76]
The A.V. ClubB[21]
The Daily Telegraph     [77]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[78]
The Guardian     [79]
MSN Music (Expert Witness)A–[82]
Rolling Stone     [11]

Recovery was released to generally favorable reviews with most critics praising the lyrical themes and Eminem's performance. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 63, based on 28 reviews.[75] Allmusic's David Jeffries praised Eminem's performance as potent and energetic, and said that the album "may be flawed ... but he hasn't sounded this unfiltered and proud since The Marshall Mathers LP".[76] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph commended him for addressing more mature, introspective subject matter and successfully "framing his misogyny, homophobia and all-round bigotry with an undeniable sense of empathy and humanity."[77] Jody Rosen, writing in Rolling Stone, called it Eminem's "most casual-sounding album in years" and said that he "sounds content to be rap's wittiest head case."[11] Jon Dolan, also writing for Rolling Stone, commented on Eminem's commitment noting his new music and lyrical ability. Dolan stated: "Over a dark, operatic beat, Eminem delivers rhymes that are typically acrobatic – and typically heavy-handed. But the anger has a gathering quality."[84]

Sam Wolfson of NME called him "self aware, technically advanced, intelligent, able to go at speeds other than full throttle."[80] Sean O'Neal of The A.V. Club stated that his lively raps make up for the "endless atonement metaphors" that occasionally weigh down the album.[21] Kitty Empire, writing in The Observer, said that it is "better than average" as a "latterday Eminem album" that shows, "in bursts, Eminem's health is very nearly rude."[85] MSN Music's Robert Christgau said that, although the cleverness "varies" and the themes "rarely" upheld by his "long-recessive sense of play", the album is a comeback "for Eminem, not Slim Shady—and for Marshall at his most martial. His most confessional as well."[82]

The album has, however, received some more mixed to negative reviews. In a mixed review, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times regarded Eminem as "frustratingly limited in his topical range" and called Recovery "the most insular of all his releases."[12] Andy Gill of The Independent commented that "there's nothing here quite as witty or engaging as" on his previous work.[86] In a largely negative review, Pitchfork Media's Jayson Greene perceived a lack of lyrical depth and wrote "for the first time in his career, he actually sounds clumsy."[81] Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot criticized the writing, and said that it lacks hooks and fun: "The subversive humor is long gone, and his cultural references ... remain dated."[14] Slant Magazine's M.T. Richards also found Eminem's pop culture references "inane" and called the album's material "unsurprisingly hollow" with punchlines that "rarely resonate."[87] Los Angeles Times writer Jeff Weiss found his rhyme schemes "dazzling" and wordplay "clever", but panned its production as "monochromatic and monotonous."[88] The Guardian's Paul MacInnes said that the music lacks consistency because of a "piecemeal approach to production" and "fashionable soft-rock samples."[79]


List of awards and nominations
Year Ceremony Award Result
2010 American Music Awards (38th) Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album[89] Won
Favorite Pop/Rock Album[89] Nominated
2011 Billboard Music Award (2011) Top Billboard 200 Album[90] Won
Top Rap Album[90] Won
Brit Awards (2011) Best International Album[91] Nominated
Detroit Music Awards Outstanding National Major Label Recording[92] Won
Grammy Awards (53rd) Album of the Year[93] Nominated
Best Rap Album[93] Won
Juno Awards International Album of the Year[94] Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Japan (2011) Album of the Year[95] Nominated
List of year-end rankings by critics
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rolling Stone United States Best Albums of 2010 2010 9[96]
Spin United States 40 Best Albums list for 2010 2010 38[97]
Complex United States The 25 Best Albums Of 2010 2012 3[98]
Other lists
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Complex United States The 20 Best Comebacks in Rap History 2012 4[99]
Complex United States Soulja Boy's 25 Favorite Albums Of All Time 2010 14[100]

Commercial performanceEdit

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 741,000 copies.[101] It became Eminem's sixth album to debut at number one in the United States.[102] In its second week of release it remained at number-one and sold 313,000 copies.[103] It also entered at number one on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Rap Albums chart.[104][105] In its ninth week of release the album remained at number one for its seventh non-consecutive week and sold 116,000 copies.[106] By March 2011, the album was number one on the all-time list of albums with the most digital sales, with over 922,000 copies digitally sold at the time.[107] As of July 2011, the album broke the digital record and became the first album to sell one million digital copies.[108] It held the record for most digital albums sold, but was later outsold by Adele's 21 album.[109] On August 18, 2011, the album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in shipments and sales.[110] As of November 13, 2013, the album has sold 4,513,000 copies in the United States.[111] Since its United States release, the album spent a total of 27 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, which is more than any other hip-hop album since 2003.[112] It spent seven weeks at number one in both the US & UK amongst other nations.[113]

The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling 140,000 copies in its first week in the United Kingdom.[114] In Canada, the album sold 85,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number one on Canada's Albums Chart.[115] The album spent six consecutive weeks at number one,[116] and retook the top spot after one week at number two.[117] As of August 18, 2010, the album has sold 277,000 copies in Canada.[117] In Japan, Oricon recorded a debut of number six with 20,678 units sold.[118] It also went gold in its first week in New Zealand and Australia, debuting at number one in both countries.[119][120] The album has since sold over 210,000 copies in Australia, certifying it triple platinum.[121]

By the end of its release year, Recovery had sold over 5.7 million copies worldwide.[122] It was one of the best-selling album of 2010 in the United States with 3.4 million copies, and it had sold 2.3 million copies in other territories for a total of 5.7 million copies worldwide by December 2010.[123][124] According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, it was also the best-selling album of 2010 worldwide.[125] The album was the best-selling album in Canada in 2010 selling 435,000 copies; more than double the album in second place.[126] Recovery was the third best-selling album of 2010 in Australia.[127] Since its release in 2010, the album has sold 4.9 million copies in the United States,[1] and almost 10 million copies worldwide.[128]

Recovery was ranked as the 93rd best album of all time on the Billboard Top 200 Albums of All Time.[129]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Produced byLength
1."Cold Wind Blows"
Just Blaze5:03
2."Talkin' 2 Myself" (featuring Kobe)DJ Khalil5:00
3."On Fire"
Mr. Porter3:33
4."Won't Back Down" (featuring Pink)
DJ Khalil4:25
6."Going Through Changes"Emile4:58
7."Not Afraid"
  • Mathers
  • Samuels
  • Burnett
  • Sly Jordan
  • Boi-1da
  • Burnett[b]
9."No Love" (featuring Lil Wayne)
Just Blaze5:00
10."Space Bound"
Jim Jonsin4:38
11."Cinderella Man"MathersScript Shepherd4:39
12."25 to Life"
  • Mathers
  • Rahman
  • Rodrigues
  • Danny Tannenbaum
DJ Khalil4:01
13."So Bad"
  • Dr. Dre
  • Nick Brongers
14."Almost Famous"
  • Mathers
  • Rahman
  • Rodrigues
  • Alcock
  • Injeti
  • Tannenbaum
DJ Khalil4:52
15."Love the Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna)4:23
16."You're Never Over"Just Blaze5:05
17.Untitled (hidden track)
Total length:76:59


  • ^[a] indicates a co-producer
  • ^[b] indicates an additional producer
  • ^[c] indicates a vocal producer
  • "Cold Wind Blows" features additional vocals by Nikki Grier
  • "Space Bound" features additional vocals by Steve McEwan
  • "Cinderella Man" features uncredited vocals by Kobe
  • "25 to Life" and "Almost Famous" feature additional vocals by Liz Rodrigues
  • "So Bad" features additional vocals by Sly Jordan

Sample credits


Credits for Recovery adapted from AllMusic.[131]


Non-single chart positionsEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications
"Won't Back Down"
(featuring Pink)
2010 62 67 65 82
"Cold Wind Blows" 71
"Talkin' 2 Myself"
(featuring Kobe)
88 97 148
"25 to Life" 92 90
"Cinderella Man" 112


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[179] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[180] Platinum 20,000*
Belgium (BEA)[181] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[182] 7× Platinum 560,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[183] 2× Platinum 40,000^
France (SNEP)[184] Platinum 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[185] Platinum 200,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[186] 3× Platinum 45,000^
Italy (FIMI)[187] Platinum 60,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[188] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[189] Platinum 15,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[190] 2× Platinum 40,000*
Russia (NFPF)[191] Platinum 10,000*
South Africa (RISA)[152] Platinum 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[192] 2× Platinum 80,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[193] Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[195] 3× Platinum 1,030,000[194]
United States (RIAA)[196] 3× Platinum 4,900,000[1]
Europe (IFPI)[197] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label Format Catalog Ref
Australia June 18, 2010 2739452 [198]
European Union
(excluding the UK)
United Kingdom June 21, 2010 B003KUSUG8 [199]
United States B0014411 [200]
Japan June 23, 2010 Universal Music UICS1214 [201]
Brazil July 6, 2010 602527394527 [202]


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External linksEdit