But anyway, I suppose I should give my half-rant, half review of the thing so it doesn't seem like I wasted a lot of people's time and bandwidth by downloading it using my dial-up connection.
The album is decent, not great. It'll actually grow on you if you put the entire thing on loop for the better part of 10 hours. I doubt, though, most people are as socially avoidant as I am and will listen to it beyond the first few songs.
Eminem maintains his steady string of albums that tell the story of his life whilst taking not a single prisoner, himself included. The only problem with this is that it's time for a change. He rekindles the flames of old (and I do mean old) rivalries in such catchy tunes as 'Like Toy Soldiers', continues the gross exploitation of his daughter in the equally catchy 'Mockingbird' which serves as a spiritual followup to The Eminem Show's 'Hailie's Song'.
The true strong point of the album (and the staple of Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit) are the guest appearances by other artists on the joint labels. This shines through clearest in the final (and title) track of the album 'Encore'. The song is a tremendously powerful mix of beat (produced by Dr. Dre and Mark Batson of BMI fame) and lyrical combos by Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, highlighted by each artist's verse fading perfectly into the next.
A clearly identifiable weak point of album is Eminem's solo tracks (excluding Mockingbird and a few others) in which he hurries through his verses in a barely coherent nasal-driven tirade. The 'poster child' for this problem is 'My First Single' which is a song that demands so much attention from the listener to decipher Eminem's lyrics while trying to ignore the distracting beat and childlike sounds of gas (from various orifices) that the song ends up being little more than filler for a subpar album.
His two singles, 'Mosh' and 'Just Lose It' stand as two of the more solid tracks on the album, though neither are remarkably spectacular, with 'Just Lose It' following Eminem's old (and I, again..do mean old) formula of including at least -one- lyrical cartoon on his album. Unfortunately, Eminem, in search of even further publicity, seems to have abandoned some quality material in his final edits of the album to include more references to the fact that Michael Jackson got upset over the single. This is much more notable in the 'Em Calls Paul' skit where Eminem uses synthesizer to pointlessly take listeners through a pun-filled explanation of how he 'likes' Michael Jackson, all done to the scatological background sounds of Eminem defecating.
All in all, new listeners will appreciate the album, while more 'experienced' listeners of the label (or just of Eminem) will be disappointed. Fortunately, like almost all 'bad' Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit albums (excluding 50 Cent's debut) , the album is built for long-term listening, meaning, that if you give the album enough time, it'll grow on you.
I give the album a 3.5/5