The Beatles made people swoon and dance to their tunes in the 60s and 70s, and it was during this time that a man by the name of Elvis Presley turned Pied Piper and had women the world over follow his music like the children of Hamelin. These personalities were so popular that they could make people stop in their tracks and take notice. So powerful was their music that even politicians tried to make use of their popularity to gain political mileage. Music has always found a way to one’s heart, and it’s no different when young African Americans began to churn out a distinct style of music that took the world by storm. Bob Marley was a great rap singer who used reggae to spread the voice of the underprivileged and economically poor to the rest of the world. Through his music, Bob Marley was able to generate a conscious need for the rich to support and help the poor. Rihanna joins this illustrious group.
The song ‘Love the way you lie' which was released in August 2010 as a single from the album of Marshall Bruce Mathers featuring Robyn Rihanna from the music album (Recovery).
If one were to just hear the song, sans the video, it is a total giveaway; Rihanna tries to suppress her emotions by saying that she was willing to forgive (?) for the way he treated her. However, the video presents a different perspective altogether. Any relationship goes through testing times and this is no different with this one either. However, the tone and the lyrics sets the video on a different plane altogether. Love and fight are part and parcel of life and listening to Rihanna repeatedly say, “just gonna stand there and watch me burnWell that’s alright because I like the way it hurts,” seems to suggest that she didn’t think much of it (her relationship with? perhaps?), as it felt better this way. There does, however, seem to be sarcasm in the way she expresses the line, ‘like it the way it hurts,’ partly because of the way she sings that line, and the way her facial expression changes as she tweaks most conspicuously. In addition to this, the lyrics communicate her feelings toward her partner, whom she says, cares little for her feelings.
The video, on the contrary, is about passion and deceit. What begins with a lovely morning in bed transcends into turmoil and anguish in seconds. In the video, it is the man who shows restraint, and who is instigated into an argument and fight by his partner. What provoked her to act this way is unknown, but later in the video, one gets to see her in the company of another man, which clearly shows that she was seeing another man as well. A cordial relationship can develop only if each partner understands the other well and have mutual respect. This trait is missing in the woman, who is dishonest and provocative.
The frivolity of love-hate is evident and this is what causes the flaw in their relationship. Right from the beginning, the song prepares its listeners for the paradox. The soothing voice of Rihanna is suddenly extempore by the boisterous voice of Eminem, who says, “‘I can’t tell you what it really is / I can only tell you what it feels like” Just as the listeners find the attitude of the woman confusing, the singer too finds her act quite bewildering. He says that he can’t really understand the reason for her vituperation, but yes, he can obviously tell how he feels. He reacts to the situation spontaneously, but retreats and seeks an amicable solution, which is thwarted by her through her actions. Her character symbolizes the negative emotions of human behaviour; anger, guilt, and deceit, while he exemplifies the qualities of passion, frustration and patience. Since there are no common qualities to bond the two together in some way, hostility erupts.
The song can be interpreted to symbolize human sentiments and relationships in its seriousness. When Eminem sings the line, “Life is no Nintendo game,” there is a clear reference to the amalgamation between relationship and life. Life, as he says, is no game, it is embedded in challenges and uncertainties, and only if two people strive to adjust and compromise on certain qualities to absorb change, can their relationship mature. This is clearly mentioned in the following lines, when Eminem says that, “Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t meanBut your temper’s just as bad as mine is, you’re as same as me.” The revelation that they did things which they promised they wouldn’t do, and when they were found out, they both refused to give in to the other and fought ‘tooth-for-tooth.” Relationships are not built this way, and it is because of this, that there was animosity and guilt. The only way a relationship can prosper is when one partner steps down and let things drift, rather than fight fire with fire,
Sad, but true, most relationships in the U.S reveal such tendencies, where there is no give-and-take attitude. Live-in relationships is common ground in our societal system, and there lacks a sense of mutual respect and trust. The only way the system can change is when respect and trust becomes an integral part of such relationships. Eminem reflects the humane side of civility, when he tries to forgive the woman and take the blame for the precarious situation on himself. He says, “Baby, please come back, it wasn’t you baby, it was me, Maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems”, and reasons philosophically that, “Maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano.” When two loggerheads meet, they are sure to ignite sparks, and this is precisely what happened between the two, which ultimately led to the fire. The fire in the video signifies anger, deceit and guilt. If one looks at the start of the video once again, he/she will see the woman with her hands on fire. She is ridden with anger, guilt and deceit. It is only when the man reacts to the situation that we see him also on fire. Fire needs to be fought with water, and water is forgiveness, passion and love.
The movie moves to its climax when Eminem says that, “Next time, there won’t be no next time, I apologize even though I know its lies, I’m tired of the gamesI’m a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire” In a relationship, should any form of understanding or reasoning fall on deaf ears, they are sure to set the house on fire. ‘Set the house on fire,’ signifies separation or divorce. The song is a wakeup call to all Americans who find their live-in and family relationships incompatible. People should understand the importance of caring and sharing common space in the most respectful and trustworthy manner possible. Should this happen, Americans can live in harmony and peace.
The song, ‘Love the way you lie,’ runs for 4 minutes 26 seconds and is sung by Rihanna and Eminem. The song can be interpreted as a critique of the young American life-style. The fallacies of relationships are brought out meticulously and can be juxtaposed to Rihanna’s tremulous relationship she had with Chris Brown, and that culminated with physical abuse. The song is an eye-opener to those in relationships to understand the importance of sharing and caring for one another, and to provide space to the other so that trust and mutual respect develops.
Eminem - Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna (Lyrics - Sub Español) Official Video, Retrieved March 3, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1lxsj510YY