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"Love the Way You Lie" (single featuring Rihanna)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that even though Eminem does an admirable job of portraying the depths of a dysfunctional relationship, many teens may not understand the message. Eminem is in character once again on this single, and this time around he's playing the role of abusive boyfriend. In reality, he's trying to shed light on the trap of domestic violence, but kids might not pick up on this, especially with the rapper portraying himself as the abuser. But the violence is acted out in a way to shine a light on the lies that we tell ourselves in a relationship, and Em's ultimate message is that this leads nowhere good. But that's heavy stuff for kids and teens to swallow, and the shocking ending to the song makes it a no-no for all but the most mature teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Welcome to the grand tour of dysfunctional love. "LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE" shows how a disintegrating relationship moves from pain to euphoria, denial to destruction; it's a trip through the downward spiral. But Eminem has another message besides examining how bad love can feel. This is also a song about abuse and the lies an abuser will give to keep his victim coming back for more. Rihanna, herself a victim of domestic abuse, offers up vocal accompaniment to Eminem's rhymes on this mid-tempo dose of reality.
Is it any good?
Rihanna seems to have a flawless record when it comes to guest spots. Once again her angelic vocals are the perfect foil for a hard-driving rap. But what differs this time around is the smoky, mature sound she delivers. Top that with Eminem's gritty lyrics, and it's a perfect match. Eminem pulls no punches (no pun intended) on a song that should act as a wake-up call to anyone stuck in a dysfunctional relationship. He hits every symptom of diseased love dead-on in an unflinching narrative. It's a great song, but one that is best for mature ears given the heavy subject matter.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about abusive relationships and avoiding the pitfalls of getting to involved in a relationship too soon.
Do kids get sarcasm? When a performer is in character describing undesirable behavior for effect, do you think most kids "get it?" At what age is this method understandable?
Talk about music that portrays women in a negative light. What songs have you heard that objectify or disrespect a woman? How do you think impressionable listeners interpret lyrics like this?
For kids who love hip-hop
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