Eminem is shaping up to become quite the softy.
His first single off his current album, Recovery, was "Not Afraid," where he sang, "Everybody come take my hand, we'll walk this road together." He's also done collaborations with popster Pink and emo girl Hayley Williams of Paramore, whom in a past life, he might have made fun of. Pretty shocking stuff coming from the rapper who's built his career off of mocking celebrities and spitting about drugs and murder.
And his latest song to hit radio airwaves, "Love the Way You Lie," is downright pretty--mostly because of a cameo by Rihanna, but the track is a bonafide love song, albeit a twisted one. There's a good chance the song is about his on-again, off-again lover, Kim Scott, and it reveals a ton about the relationship.
He sings: "I love it the more that I suffer...Here we go again, it's so insane." He raps about how when things in the bond are good, he feels on top of the world, but when things are bad, he's snapped to the point of hitting her. He goes on to describe more of the up-and-down relationship, becoming especially vulnerable as he raps, "Baby, please come back. It wasn't you, baby, it was me." He apologizes for his actions but admits that he doesn't know if he really can change for good.
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Then Rihanna comes in with the chorus, singing, "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that's alright because I like the way it hurts. Just gonna stand there and here me cry, but that's alright, because I love the way you lie." Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Riri...if she's singing about her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who physically abused her, then what a personal and revealing statement to make. Maybe she misses Brown like Eminem misses Scott, but it's very sad to hear Rihanna sing about wanting to stay with an abusive lover. Touching, but depressing, because those statements seem like a step backward for Rihanna, who has the opportunity to sing more about being strong and independent than staying with someone who hurts her.
It's still nice to hear Eminem be apologetic in a song, to admit his mistakes and to say that he wants to change for the better. It's a little odd that while he is admitting that domestic violence is a horrible thing, Rihanna is singing that it's OK because she loves her abuser. The song could have had a more positive overall impact, but instead, listeners are left with a conflicting message.
Rihanna, though her voice is gorgeous, wasn't the best choice for the song with the lyrics as they are, but the song would have been even more commendable if domestic abuse wasn't excused at all.