Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thoughts on Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie"

First off, let me say I'm am not an Eminem apologist, though I have taken the heat a few times for defending him as a songwriter who I still think is, at times, nothing short of brilliant. If you haven't seen the video, or read the hype, "Love the Way You Lie" pairs Eminem with Rihanna, and features Megan Fox as a victim of domestic abuse. It's an odd song; Rihanana's vocals seem disjointed somehow, but overall effect is compelling. I think the song is nuanced enough to merit the hype, and I don't see the video as glamorizing domestic abuse -- quite the opposite, actually. Part of me feels like I shouldn't be defending it. On one hard, art is often messy and complicated, and it doesn't have to be responsible to be valid. The SF Gate wonders if the video should be used a teaching tool. (Via The Curvature)

"And the debate has begun: Is the song a treatise against (or apology for) domestic violence, or an irresponsible glorification of it? Or, is it something uncomfortable in between? And how exactly to explain the role of Rihanna, who has said she aims to help young people learn the lessons of her ordeal?"

Dodai from Jezebel adds:

"...when a sad-faced Rihanna sings, "I love the way you lie," it's almost as if she's yearning. Perhaps it's cathartic. But there's nothing glamorous about two people going up in flames, which is how the clip ends. There are no winners; only destruction. There have been excellent, artful films about war, with the message still clear: War is hell. And if there are mixed emotions in the video — an undefined line as to whether this particular type of suffering is attractive or repulsive — well, isn't that the point? It's not a public service announcement, it's just a perspective."


  1. It's not a public service announcement, it's just a perspective."

    Nice; this is exactly how I see the song and video, too. Before seeing the video, I wasn't sure how to feel about it, but it's much less of an abuser-apology song, and much more of a, like the part you quoted, perspective, which can be valuable.

  2. I definitely agree. This song is showing how it is from both perspectives, and it can open a conversation for young people.