A co-worker and I had an interesting discussion about Eminem’s new song, “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rhianna:
We both agreed it’s a very powerful song, especially Rhianna’s crystal clear voice. She was uncomfortable, though, with some of the lyrics. In particular the end where he says that if she tries to leave again he’ll tie her to the bed and set the house on fire. She wondered if it was irresponsible, especially given that his his audience is largely teenage boys.
My point of view was that it’s an honest portrayal of domestic abuse and that we shouldn’t shy away from these things in art. Music, books, movies, etc. allow us to see something as it really is without experiencing it. I think it’s a very honest song from both the male and female perspective in that it shows just how difficult the cycle is to break when love and anger are so intricately tied together.
As for who this song is appropriate for, well, as always, I think that decision rests with parents. When my two year old son is in the car, I switch stations when the song comes on the radio. My co-worker had a conversation with her upper elementary aged son about where Eminem was coming from, as well as Rhianna’s own past in an abusive relationship. In the end, I think such a discussion proves the value of art about difficult subjects.