As the news broke Eminem’s new album “Recovery” has exploded to the top of the Billboard charts with 741,000 units sold during the first week of its release, I have a confession to make. I have a soft spot for Eminem. I also feel I’m slightly batting above my league here, like a clueless old lady living next door to the school bully and every time he walks by her kitchen window she goes: “Aww, isn’t he such a nice young man”. It’s been 12 steps to Recovery and Eminem has come out the other end as the more tolerant Marshall Mathers (his adjective, not mine). And this is where the old neighbour lady steps in. I have always believed the whole Eminem persona to be smoke and mirrors to cover up the real Slim Shady (yes, I know, I know, I’m on fire with the puns today), I’m convinced underneath all the anger, aggression and cynicism which he has so freely conveyed, lies an intensely sensitive and intelligent young man who cares deeply. He is a single father for three young girls, he is the biological father for one of the girls and has adopted the other two. And when he came into his own at the beginning of his career, he also became the legal guardian of his own younger brother. Proof of a very big heart indeed. Troubled he may be, I don’t know, I don’t know him nor have I ever been anywhere near 8 Mile, (unless you count Detroit Airport, but that’s like saying I’ve been to the moon and back, even though I’ve only ever been to IMAX) but “Hailie’s Song” (Eminem Show), “Mockingbird” (Encore) or even “Beautiful” (Relapse) are all evidence of his gentler side . Positive is the word most banded around on the World Wide Web to describe “Not Afraid”, the first single from Recovery. It’s full of hope and strength in new beginnings and optimism about the future and above all, it feels a bit lighter. Like some cloud is finally clearing for him on the horizon. I can hear the inspirational chorus booming through car radios and cranked up ipods all throughout this summer. I don’t know what demons he has been fighting, but I’m glad there is finally light at the other end of that tunnel.