Love the Way You Lie is the kind of video that just begs for controversy. I mean really, all the bases are covered. One of the decade’s biggest pop icons that just happens to be the accidental face of domestic violence? Check. Famously violent trailer-dwelling white rapper? Check. Ridiculously hot starlet that everyone loves to hate? Of course. Oh, and that guy from Lost.
Which sort of makes the whole scandal about whether or not the vid dramatizes domestic violence sort of laughable. Rihanna + Eminem = instant chart-topper. Any music baby these two produce would inevitably be airwave gold, no matter what the subject matter. (Remember the impossible-to-stop pop phenomenon about an umbrella?) So when they cut a track about domestic violence, the guarantee was pretty much an immediate hit whose dissection by bloggers (hi!) and the music industry at large would have absolutely no effect on it’s commercial success.
Point is, saying this track trivializes domestic violence is like saying Katy Perry’s “California Girls” ripped off the Beach Boys. It really doesn’t make any difference.
And I have to admit, I kinda dig it. Sure, it’s overproduced and overdramatic (dancing in cornfields? digital fire? uncalled for). But it’s a video by two of the biggest no-last-name-needed faces in music, that’s sort of expected. I was more surprised that my first thought was “damn, Rihanna can really sing.” I don’t mean she has the best pipes since Babs Streisand, I mean the girl’s got some real emotion pouring out. And to cut that track when most of the planet knows your ex-boyfriend hit you takes some cojones. This ain’t some subtly veiled empowerment ballad like “Hard,” showing how to overcome with a skyrocketing career and a fantastic haircut. This is a song about violent, dysfunctional love by someone who’s lived it. And I can respect that.