The way we interpret songs.

I just read the article above, and it was quite interesting. Obviously we all know what happened to Rihanna a year and a half ago when Chris Brown abused her. We also know that Eminem has had a pretty rough, on and off relationship with his ex wife Kim. The two collaborating together is interesting to say the “least” but when you hear the lyrics it’s hard not to interpret that this song is depicting their personal lives.

As referenced in the article by the Washington Post:

“Just gonna stand there and watch me burn,” Rihanna sings repeatedly, to a catchy tune. “But that’s all right, because I like the way it hurts.”

Eminem makes it clear what the fire imagery’s about. “If she ever tries to [expletive] leave me again,” he raps late in the song, “I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.”

In between, there’s talk of love being wonderful, until it isn’t. Suddenly there’s pushing, pulling, clawing, biting: “Throw ’em down, pin ’em. So lost in the moments when you’re in ’em.”

The girl, depicted in the video by actress Megan Fox, tries to leave. The guy, played by actor Dominic Monaghan, promises it won’t happen again. But then he admits he’s lying: “I apologize, even though I know it’s lies.””

Neither Eminem or Rihanna have commented at all about the abusive implications of the song lyrics. But this makes for a great discussion about the way we interpret words, and songs. Do many of us automatically draw a link between a musicians song and his/her life? Have you ever caught yourself listening to a song and thinking “wow did so and so go through that? Is he/she talking about his/her life?”

It’s difficult to really know whether or not certain songs are representations of what’s going in the artist’s life, or if the songs are just  songs–created with the only intention to sell and make money. In this case, though, I can see why people may assume that this song is a representation of what happened in Rihanna and Eminem’s lives.

What do you think? And have you ever interpreted a song to the point where you drew parallels between the artist’s life and the song itself? Should artists be more careful about the lyrics and words that they use in music–as to not offend or cause people to read too deeply into a song’s message?  Do you think that Eminem, and Rihanna were very much intentional about the words, the song, and the collaboration?

Please discuss.


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