It’s odd, I ended up watching a music documentary last weekend, Some Kind of Monster is documentary about the making of Metallica’s St. Anger album, or at least that is what it was initially supposed to be about. But over the course of creating the album the band went through therapy, rehab, and countless fascinating conversations.
Course that is all beside the point, I only brought it up because there is one scene of all these journalists listening to the album and getting ready to write their articles, and as I watched I couldn’t help but say, “I have no idea how people write about music” I can’t even really discuss what it is I like about a song I mean, yes, you can investigate and analyse the lyrics, but music is much more than that, and I have absolutely no knowledge about the theory of music. I either like it, or I don’t.
But I still found this discussion on metafilter all about Eminem & Rihanna’s Love the way you lie.
I’m a casual fan of Eminem. I think some of his songs are very very smart, and he knows how to hook a listener. So maybe I’m predisposed to take “his side” in this argument over whether or not this song & video glamorise domestic violence. Because if you actually listen to what the Eminem character says then it is quite clear that he is aware he is an abuser, and that he won’t stop, no matter what he might say. And the Rihanna character, well she isn’t about to leave either. Sure she threatens it and fights and argues, but some part of her likes the passion. She likes it.
Please note, this does not mean that the song thinks this is right. It is simply a fact. And, as Eminem is the main character in this song and is telling the story from his point of view, maybe that’s just what the abuser wants to think.
Music is a work of art. And real art should make you think about things. A great book can force you to rethink issues, why can’t a song? Is it, as one of the metafilter commenters suggests, a case of snobbery. That this is a “popular” song, worse than that, it is hip-hop & rap and so the only people who listen to it are “the uneducated masses.” Is criticising it simply an example of privilege in action?
Who knows, in the mean time I’ve got some of Eminem’s older albums playing for the first time in a long long time.