I was driving home from church Wednesday night and heard a song on the radio that made me extremely uncomfortable. Now, I consider myself a pretty open-minded person, especially when it comes to music. I may not listen to songs with raunchy lyrics myself, but if you want to, that's fine with me. I'm not a prude. In the privacy of my car, I will jam out to the occasional rap or hip-hop song, usually without giving much thought to the lyrics. I owned an uncensored Eminem CD back in the day and only skipped a select few songs on it that I chose not to subject myself to. I think Eminem is a talented rapper, and some of his more controversial songs have not really caused me to bat an eye. But this most recent one of his that I heard caused me to bat more than an eye. Imagine my surprise at hearing my car radio emitting these lyrics:
"Now I know we said things, did things that we didn't mean
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
But your temper's just as bad as mine is
You're the same as me
But when it comes to love you're just as blinded
Baby, please come back
It wasn't you, baby it was me
Maybe our relationship isn't as crazy as it seems
Maybe that's what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
All I know is I love you too much to walk away though
Come inside, pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don't you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk
I told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball
Next time I'm pissed, I'll aim my fist at the drywall
Next time. There won't be no next time
I apologize even though I know its lies
I'm tired of the games I just want her back
I know I'm a liar
If she ever tries to f***ing leave again
Im'a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
I'm just gonna
[Chorus - Rihanna:]
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
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie"
ExCUUUUSE me?!? Did you see what just happened there?
I have no idea what kind of twisted message this song is trying to send. If Eminem is trying to encourage women to get out of abusive relationships, I'm pretty sure he fails. He instead romanticizes them and makes the cycle of violence, passionate false forgiveness, and lies somehow acceptable. He offers an excuse to all the men out there who have anger management problems that manifest themselves as physical abuse - "Maybe our relationship isn't as crazy as it seems / Maybe that's what happens when a tornado meets a volcano / All I know is I love you too much to walk away." And Rihanna, do you not remember that whole little incident with Chris Brown? She, of all people, has BEEN THERE, and I cannot FATHOM why she would choose to sing to a fictional abusive boyfriend that "it's all right because I love the way you lie."
My heart broke for all the women who will hear this song and recognize their own lives in it, who will hear it and think it is supporting their self-effacing choice to stay.
Ladies, I want you to know there are ways out. There are people who can protect you, and this song ought to tell you about them. It ought to help you find some strength, and it ought to tell you about the men out there who would never hit you and would never cause you to have to make this painful choice. It ought to tell you about love, forgiveness, healing, and redemption. But instead, it fails.
Perhaps the worst part of all of this is that song is so darn catchy. The refrain has been stuck in my head on and off since hearing the song, and on Thursday I even heard a coworker's phone ring and blast it out at me. She is a young and happily married woman, and I don't know what made her choose this as her ringtone. Is it just its catchy tune? Because if so, I ask you to wake up and listen to the lyrics for once.
This is one hip-hop song I just simply will not let myself enjoy because of the harmful message I believe it sends. I know Love, a Love that never fails, never hurts, and never deceives, a Love that died on a cross for me. And I know about a Love that provided me an earthly love to marry and share my life with. But for people in the world who don't know these things, I can't imagine what this song might teach them, and that...that I find unacceptable, Eminem.