Encore

Studio Album by released in 2004
Encore's tracklist:
Curtains Up
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Evil Deeds
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Never Enough (feat. 50 Cent & Nate Dogg)
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Yellow Brick Road
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Like Toy Soldiers
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Mosh
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Puke
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My 1st Single
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Paul (skit)
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Rain Man
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Big Weenie
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Em Calls Paul (skit)
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Just Lose It
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Ass Like That
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Spend Some Time (feat. Obie Trice, Stat Quo & 50 Cent)
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Mockingbird
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Crazy in Love
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One Shot 2 Shot (feat. D12)
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Final Thought (skit)
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Encore (feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent) / (Curtains)
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Encore review

As the title suggests, Encore is a companion piece to The Eminem Show the way that The Marshall Mathers LP mirrored The Slim Shady LP, offering a different spin on familiar subjects. Where Eminem’s first two records dealt primarily with personas and characters, his second two records deal with what those personas have wrought. Musically, Encore didn't innovate, but it didn't need to: Eminem and his mentor, Dr. Dre, had achieved cruising altitude, and even if they weren't offering much that was new, the music sounded fresh and alive. On Encore Eminem has decided to chronicle what's happened to him over the past two years and refute every charge that's made it into the papers. Here, he is plain-spoken and literal.

Eminem sure likes standing up and taking a bow. Here he does it in many incarnations: as an outrageously raw pop-culture provocateur (Just Lose It), dirty little boy (Ass Like That) and caring dad (Mockingbird, a tribute to his daughter). The beats still flow – from party anthems to industrial darkness, and his skills are undeniable. The curtains rise to another surely disturbing chapter in the Book of Mathers with Evil Deeds, a thumper where Eminem repents for his previous sins of the tongue. Never Enough, featuring Nate Dogg and Em's right hand man, 50 Cent, restates Eminem's lyrical pedigree. It doesn't take long for Em's sappy side to slip into to the album. Yellow Brick Road wistfully looks back on some of Eminem's high school trials and tribulations. Continuing to wring out sympathy from his tear-soaked towel of a life, Eminem doubles-up with Like Toy Soilders, self-sorry introspection on the Slim Shady saga. But the show must go on. The later half of the album is pure hilarity. Puke literally has Eminem hurling over his ex-wife Kim every time he thinks of her. Then Em heckles the late Christopher Reeves for an entire song on Rain Man. In Ass Like That Slim impersonates Triumph the Insult Comic Dog for three perverse verses of ogling over the Olsen twins and booty bashing Hilary Duff. The album closes as spasmodically as it began. Spend Some Time features Obie Trice and Stat Quo for a pseudo-love song. Crazy In Love samples from Crazy On You by Heart for a manic love/hate ode again to his ex-wife Kim. D-12 appears on One Shot 2 Shot, and the album closes with a sure shot banger Encore/Curtains Down.

Encore does prove one thing: that even half-trying, Eminem is still better than most of the rappers beside him with plenty of personality to spare. Encore actually imitates Eminem's manic, moody personality, shifting as quick as his temper from Puke to Crazy In Love, or from Mosh to Mockingbird. Eminem spends half his time burning bridges and the other half rebuilding them. Encore isn't as astonishing as The Marshall Mathers LP. Few albums by anyone ever will be. But in the time-honored manner of mature work, it showcases a phenomenally gifted musician and lyricist doing all the things he does best. Sometimes there are new twists, sometimes not, but that's not decisive, because the music never feels old. Here, the music is spartan, built on simple unadorned beats and keyboard loops. While the album is a little long, it's worth a listen to hear the moments that work really well, whether it's full songs or flights of phrase.