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Emimem ft. Rihanna - 'Love The Way You Lie'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:04 UK time, Wednesday, 14 July 2010


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.

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

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."


  • Comment number 1.

    Brilliant track - should perform well

  • Comment number 2.

    I do like this song, actually listening to it as I type this.
    I must say, I do think Rihanna's part is more effective than Eminem's
    But thats an opinion.
    Eminem's part is okay, but some is quite 'meh'.
    "Where You Going"
    "Im Leaving You"
    "No You Aint"
    I think he may have run out of ideas!
    Although I do like his Superman reference :)
    4 Stars, not any more because it does get a little boring.

  • Comment number 3.

    This is probably one of the most heart-wrenching , lyric ally powerful songs Eminem has ever written, and Rihanna's chorus simply adds to the melancholy styling of the song, the second verse is my favourite by far.

    Five Stars along with spacebound, it's the stand out track on Recovery.

  • Comment number 4.

    5 stars. Simples.

  • Comment number 5.

    5 stars also. But it is a real account. Remember 'Kim' from his 'Slim Shady LP'? This is a radio-friendly, commerial version of that. If your haven't heard 'Kim', give it a listen. Its scary good!

  • Comment number 6.

    What a fantastic song , and it's a big hit because of the emotion conveyed , Em's wonderful delivery and the huge chorus hook that soars by Rihanna .

    That is one hell of an attention grabber.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Fraser

    This is Jose founder and Editor of www.thewordisbond.com, thanks so much for quoting us on your review, and for visiting us. Really appreciate the love.
    Great writing piece on the Em track...
    Please feel free to visit us anytime you want, we are friendly folk. ;)

    Keep up the great work



  • Comment number 8.

    Everyone's all like Eminem's lost his edge, and saying that his new stuff shows no integrity and that he's watered down.
    The man is 37 years old. He's grown up. He can't write things like Bonnie & Clyde '97 because he doesn't feel that frustration any more. He's stable now and he can only rap what he feels. I actually think if he tried to rap about what he used to it'd be even worse, because we've heard it all before, and it would be forced. He's on a different journey now. That integrity is still there and it's in these lyrics. This is a masterclass; Rihanna should be someone else though. I mean Rihanna's okay, and I like Rated R, but all her substance is drowned in style, and I think it's showing, because a decent track like Te Amo would have got a higher chart position without the pale imitation of what GaGa does better in her video. People I know anyway think she's a try-hard who's trying to make her music seem like something it's not. Still, great track. It's not on par with Stan because Dido's contribution had something about it; Rihanna's just feels like nothing.

  • Comment number 9.

    How this was never number one I will never know.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree Bendter, who in their right mind would rather buy 'Dynamite' or 'Green Light' over this?

    This has been number 1 in the US for about 8 weeks.

  • Comment number 11.

    And if this is not a five star song that will be remembered in superlative terms , then I dont know what is ! This track is laden with brilliance .

  • Comment number 12.

    If anything, it already holds the title of 'most overplayed song of 2010'. I don't even think it's that great tbh. In fact, if I never hear it again in my life I'll be happy!

  • Comment number 13.

    Goin' Through Changes sits on this song.

  • Comment number 14.

    Both are nothing compared to 'Spacebound'

  • Comment number 15.

    LOVE 'Space Bound', Haducon!!

    I also like 'Cinderella Man' very muchly.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well I will tell you how good this 5 star song is ..

    I predict that in the UK , it will become Eminem's biggest selling single ever , beating Stan .

    And if that wasn't enough , it will also become Rihanna's biggest selling single in the UK , even beating Umbrella !!

    Yes , IT'S THAT GOOD .

  • Comment number 18.

    Its over played. Like Not afraid and Airplanes.

  • Comment number 19.

    And it is overplayed because it has fantastic appeal .

    I have to agree that it is verging on the edge of overkill , but in 10 years time , it will be viewed as a fantastic song.

  • Comment number 20.

    On many commercial radio stations they cut out the good bits.

    The ending of the song...

    'If she ever tries to ******* leave again, I'ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire, just gonna...'

    ... is one of the best bits I've ever heard from any song... ever... but is always cut out.

    Grrrr... possible reason why this didn't get to number one.

  • Comment number 21.

    Really? I find that line the most annoying. Hmm... opinions vary I guess!

    Anyhoo, this song is going to be around FOR.EV.ERRR! It's annoying already, and the constant overplaying of it and chavs at the back of my bus saying "it's about bashin in your girlfriend innit?" is detracting everythingnthat it actually does stand fro, which is something mroe that someone admitting they'd thrown a few punches.

    On top of that, Eminem's 'Recovery' is only 20% good.

    Ooohh... controversy...

  • Comment number 22.

    In other news , I predict that in about 6 weeks , Love The Way You Lie will become the Biggest Selling Single of 2010 !!!

    Oooooooooooooooooh controversy !!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    It probably already is the biggest selling single of 2010. Nothing too shocking there, spirit.

  • Comment number 24.

    It's currently the 4th biggest selling single in the uk this year. Top 3 at the moment are Owl City, Helping Haiti, then Usher.

    Eminem has just over 50,000 sales to go to catch up Owl City, and with the way he's going he should easily make it by the end of the year, even though Fireflies is still selling a few hundred each week. But with the X Factor live shows around the corner, something else could easily overtake them all.

  • Comment number 25.

    Usher? Best-selling single of 2010?

    The people of 2020 will look back at this year in utter shame.

  • Comment number 26.

    Owl City is in 1st place, Helping Haiti is 2nd, and Usher is in 3rd.

    I doubt Usher would be up there if he hadn't performed OMG on the BGT final

  • Comment number 27.

    Oh right, thanks for clearing that up, I'm surprised 'You've Got The Love' isn't there - that's been around for ages and still hasn't left the Top 100.

  • Comment number 28.

    You've Got The Love is only #40 in the year-to-date table, but nearly half of it's overall sales are from last year. You've Got The Dirtee Love is 30th (these stats are from last week by the way).

  • Comment number 29.

    Oh, maybe that's why I think it's been around for ages, it was an apalling interpolation of the cover.

  • Comment number 30.

    i lost my beloved son Andrew who found himself in a dark place & took his life 5years ago at the age of just 18, i'm not into computers! blogs! what are they! but i just know he followed Eminem as my other two sons did & still do.i've found myself of late looking up about em's music & life (mainly to have the connection with my much missed boy)i know i might seem a little crazy to my late forties friends,this i can understand, as all i could remember myself while my boys blasted out em was a load of fowl language! & gibberish!but now to my surprise find a truley talented 37year old lyrical genius, who in his own right has had a hard fight for survival with his life & his demons!his music just portrays this fight & the hard cruel world that exsists for many he tell's it how it is!wart's & all. even though i don't think i'll be converting my friends anytime soon ! lol way to go! eminem way to go!!

  • Comment number 31.

    I actually hate this now. I hate Eminem's entire album, not just because of petty things like the single being overplayed but because I've really missed the fun Eminem. He spent most of 'Recovery' reminding us how he's found this new love of Hip Hop and how he's finally found out what he wants to be (he's in his thirties, with two daughters...), and then spent the other half of the album complaining about how "s**t" and "whack" and "in the trash can" his others were.

    I just find it a sorely depressing listen, having to endure over and hour of Eminem shouting some rehashed lyrics that he did so much better on his previous "s**t" albums.

    'Space Bound' for the next release please.


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