Emimem ft. Rihanna - 'Love The Way You Lie'
I give in. I can't in all good conscience allow this song to continue rampaging around the top end of the Top 10 without at least throwing some love at it, even though it hasn't been properly released as a proper single and therefore - by the Rules of ChartBlog (or something) doesn't officially exist.
Because while love might be exactly the wrong word to describe the emotional response this song deserves, it's closer than almost anything else; fear? Well kinda. Sadness? Oh yeah. Delight? Not even a tiny bit.
It's a tough call working out who is doing whom the biggest favour here. The song would not work if it was just a first-person account of the guilt/need/anger triangle at the heart of an abusive relationship. If it was just Eminem ranting on about how he loves his girl, how he's sorry he ever hurt her, and how he definitely won't do it next time, even though the act of saying that proves there will definitely BE a next time, well, let's just say it wouldn't greatly impact on his public profile. He has been here before, you see...
(No video. It's not a single, remember)
But by getting Rihanna in to use that wounded croak of hers as a way of representing the other side, just like he did with Dido that time, well that's like proper storytelling. Only now it seems like less of a tall story about really, desperately extreme behaviour and celebrity worship, and more of a horribly mundane look inside bad love, where the two people inside are too caught up in each other to break away. And worst of all, it's the kind of situation which could be taking place within a 50-yard radius of where you're sitting right now.
It's all there. Nothing needs interpreting. You can't beat a line like "maybe that's what happens when a tornado meets a volcano" for nailing how two forceful personalities can impact upon each other in a devastating way. And as for her side of things, that bitter feeling of being trapped in a cell of your own creation, well, this is pretty good:
"Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that's alright, because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that's alright, because I love the way you lie"
Heaping sarcasm upon accusation upon resentment upon love: what a cocktail! And Em's response? Well it's another disgust-bomb, levelled at himself - or more accurately, the self he's pretending to be in the song, the one who is going out with the girl Rihanna is pretending to be.
"It's awful, I feel so ashamed
I snap: Who's that dude? I don't even know his name
I laid hands on her. I'll never stoop so low again
I guess I don't know my own strength"
Now, as I say, this is not an autobiographical lyric, as far as we know. It's one of Eminem's flights of fancy, albeit one into a very real situation. Clearly he understands the psychology well, and can express the feelings with enormous clarity. Rihanna's role in all of this is interesting though, don't you think? Especially given the news coverage of her breakup with Chris Brown. It sends a message.
I mean you could use this song to head up a campaign for more women's refuges. It's the kind of uncomfortable listen which spurs people to get out of their chairs and DO SOMETHING. Otherwise all you're doing is playing the voyeur on someone else's private hell.
I'd like to think this is why this song has become as popular as it has. I'd like to believe that everyone is buying this song and listening to it as a kind of warning, or to exorcise a demon or two, or even as a deliberate tribute to anyone who has ever found themselves in this kind of desperate situation, or knows someone who has, or worries that they could.
Better that than buying it cos, like, Rihanna is so hot right now, or because it's funny when he swears.
The Word Is Bond says: "'Love The Way You Lie'...would be better off on Rihanna's album."
Hip Hop Vibe says: "A heavy hitter with great Em verses and the beautiful voice of Rihanna on the chorus.
Urban Gifted says: "One of my least favorite and it's not because Rihanna is on it."