Blue Lights on the Runway
We can thank The Talking Heads for most of this album. Take their prime period, strip it of the funk, and you end up with the skeleton of this album. "The Great Defector" is definitely the best cut here, but the whole thing is, well, fun. Bell X1 have a sound both unique and entirely indistinguishable, which is what many a band would kill for. If it never quite takes off, it gets damned close.
I'm predisposed to liking "We Made You," only because it channels that Doomsday-Cabaret vibe which may actually be my favourite thing in music. And even that I only like for the sound of it, something I never thought I'd say about an Eminem album. Most artists can get away with mediocrity and still have it be at the least unobjectionable. But Eminem's persona only works when the material is undeniable, and on Relapse, it's anything but that.
Yes, when a drug-addled songsmith who never lived up to his "potential" decides to go straight, he adds an "r" onto his name, and goes a bit folk. If he were American, he would have grown a beard. This album lost me, admittedly, right from the start, when Doherty sings the title of the song "Arcady" in a manner that is a clear violation of the golden rule, "Show, don't tell." I never got the fuss about Doherty, and this doesn't change my opinion. Fans should be happy, though.