F U S I O N ITâ€™S MORE THAN JUST MUSIC
Featuring Stories From:
Shannon Miller, Cassidy Fishman, and Catherine Meadors
“Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem & Rihanna By: Shannon Miller
Abusive relationships are like being addicted to a bad drug. You know it’s bad for you but you have a really hard time escaping from it. -Anonymous As the chorus melody plays in the background, the shaky video camera focuses in on an alluring, young, female adult with long, wavy, brunette hair. She is sitting crisscrossed on the floor in a caliginous-lighted room while wearing a grey tank top, jean shorts, and tall black combat boots. The blinds in the background are slightly opened, allowing nominal sunlight to enter the room along with brightening the wood panel walls. The couch, covered in blood red pillows, directly behind the young female, and two old fashioned lamps on each side of it help provide a gratifying frame for the despondent looking girl. With her finger nails painted black as night, she stares into the palms of her hands, which are holding a flaming ball of fire that aluminates her face. This fire does not seem to burn her in any way but she sits infatuated by it and doesn’t look away once. The camera suddenly cuts to a different scene and the first verse of the rap begins to beat with new
images dancing across the screen. In today’s world, media has an iniquitous habit of finding its way into people’s personal lives; whether it be through television, pictures, videos, or music. However, with personal lives comes personal problems; but what better way is there to find an answer to an issue other than listening to a fan favorite artist sing about it or a famous celebrity act it out? Media knows how to string people along and bait them just like one would do with a fish. The catch being that every decent song on the radio today is built around social issues, because without it people would be, in the simplest term…bored. Society craves those songs about their perfect love life, their recent break ups, their partying rituals, and of course their religion. One social issue that can be focused on and analyzed through media is the problem with abusive relationships. This sad but true predicament is more common than people want to believe and it is often swept under the rug due to the sensitivity of the subject. For someone to be in a relationship where they are constantly being abused, physically or emotionally, it is often much easier to hide it from the world and let it happen rather than run and seek help.
People tend to be full of shame and embarrassment in these types of situations or it’s likely they deny the pain because they convince themselves so hard that their love is stronger than the fists being thrown and that the smiles are worth the bruises at the end of the night. With the countless songs in every genre played on the radio that have the same reoccurring theme of relationships that turn sour from clenched hands and invidious language, the one song that stands out and will be investigated further is Rihanna and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”. This song not only emphasizes the parts of an abusive relationship but in fact shows both sides of the couple being abused. Both partners in this video express hatred to one another but they also express love which is an interesting contrast to view and dissect. Listening to this song for the first time, the beginning melody sung by Rihanna with the words spoken so softly saying “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts” portrays a women who finds herself in a situation where the man in her life watches as she is in pain from the things he has done to her, but
at the same time she enjoys the thrill that comes with the fighting. It continues with “Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, Well that’s alright because I love the way you lie. I love the way you lie.” That last verse is intriguing to most listeners because the conventional response to anyone lying would not be love and it exemplifies that this women’s love for this man goes deeper than just the average couple. Normally, women do not tend to love when a man is lying to her, however, this memorable chorus is repeated four times throughout the song and it creates a break between each rap verse sung by Eminem. After the opening melody, Eminem begins his rap which starts to tell the story of a madly-in-love couple who fight constantly and they express their hate as well as their love both physically and violently. The line “She fuckin hates me, and I love it” carries so much irony because, like the line sung by Rihanna, the man enjoys that his girlfriend can’t stand the things he does but he still does it to purposely get under her skin. Despite doing these awful things he still loves her and doesn’t want her to leave. In a twisted way, his violence is his way of showing her that he cares. Typi-
cally, people viewing this relationship from the outside looking in would take one look at this couple being rapped about and automatically assume they are crazy and insane and that they aren’t right together, however, to the couple’s point of view they believe that the violence is acceptable. People who are abusive in relationships yearn for power and control over the other person and frequently characterize their abuse as love. Eminem raps “You swore you’d never hit ‘em, never do nothing to hurt ‘em. Now you’re in each other’s face spewing venom in your words when you spit ‘em.” This is an important line because it proves that not all abusive relationships begin with abuse. In most cases they start out like the typical ‘I love you’ sappy romances and then as one partner begins to feel the need to be in control more and more it is likely to take a turn for the worst. There is an expected cycle when dealing with foul relationships. First, the calm phase, generally the beginning. Second, the tension building phase, when everything begins to be bottled up and partners get on each other’s nerves. The abusive incident soon follows and then lastly the reconciliation phase. Repeat. In the song, the lines “Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean. And we fall back into the same patterns, same routines. But your temper’s just as bad as mine is, you’re the
same as me, But when it comes to love, you’re just as blinded” talk about the pattern that is occurring and how they don’t notice the pain because they believe it’s real love. “Maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems. Maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano. All I know is I love you too much to walk away though.” The irony of these words being sung is that if they truly loved each other too much to walk away than why would they spend so much time fighting? These words are examples of how they are blinded by one another. Throughout the whole song the lyrics “Watch me burn” are repeated numerous times and while listening to the song play its course it isn’t until the very last rap line that reads “If she ever tries to fuckin’ leave again, I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire” that actual fire is ever brought up to the listener’s attention. The frightening reality of that line is that in some real life situations that deal with this social issue, things end up going to that extent of death and the song seems to bring it up so casually. Switching from just listening to the lyrics of the song “Love the Way You Lie” to watching the music video, the visual images help paint a picture and continue to analyze the social issue of abusive relationships. The very first scene in the music video is a close up of Rihanna’s face singing the chorus. Her hair is
died bright red and her finger nails are painted to match it. She is wearing a black leather jacket with a hood that contrasts with her hair along with the bright orange and yellow flames shooting out from a house in the background. She sings to the camera and makes an emotional connection to the viewer with tears in her eyes. Between these close shots of Rihanna, the cam-
into the walls, the couple never quits fighting. That is until Rihanna begins to sing the chorus again and video jumps to the couple making out against the wall and saying they love one another. These polar opposites help illustrate the extremes of the relationship and a viewer can feel the love they share even though they also hurt their partner so much.
era jumps back to the young, female adult sitting on the living room floor. As soon as Eminem begins his rap and the beat drops, the video spirals into the couple fighting immediately. Jumping off of a bed, they start hitting one another and throwing each other around. Swinging punches, spitting at one another, and pushing each other
As the song carries on, so does the abusive actions from the couple in the video. Breaking walls, beer bottles, mirrors, and doors, the man in the video takes out his anger physically rather than mentally. The sad eyed, beautiful brunette stays with him regardless of the abuse she is being put through and the camera continues to project images
of the couple making up and showing their happy, loving sides. Towards the end of the video, visual images of a house being set on fire start to be shown more and more and the viewer watches as lamp shades, bed posts, doors, windows, and more house hold items go up in flame. At last it shows both characters with flames coming up their bodies, however they show no pain while starring directly into the camera. As the chorus melody plays in the background, the shaky video camera focuses in on an alluring, young, female adult with long, wavy, brunette hair. She is sitting crisscrossed on the floor in a caliginous-lighted room while wearing a grey tank top, jean shorts, and tall black combat boots. The blinds in the background are slightly opened, allowing nominal sunlight to enter the room along with brightening the wood panel walls. The couch, covered in blood red pillows, directly behind the young female, and two old fashioned lamps on each side of it help provide a gratifying frame for the despondent looking girl. With her finger nails painted black as night, she stares into the palms of her hands, which are holding a flaming ball of fire that aluminates her face. This fire does not seem to burn her in any way but she sits infatuated by it. The camera slowly zooms into her face and she slaps her hands closed and the fire ball disappears into the palms of her hands. At this same
moment she looks up and stares blankly into the camera. Camera cuts to black. With media using music to express social issues in today’s society, it takes both great lyrics and great visual art to produce a song and video with such a relatable issue. The idea focused on throughout Rihanna and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” provides a new way for people to learn about this issue and become more aware of it as a person. It takes talented musicians and directors to create such an entertaining outlook on such a serious situation.