In Eminem's new video, which depicts a dysfunctional and violent relationship, Rihanna — herself a survivor of domestic violence — sings "I like the way it hurts," as Megan Fox literally plays with fire.
Musically, "I Love The Way You Lie" is a strange track. It's rap, it's country, it's tender, it's intense. And the video — featuring Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan playing lovers in a tumult — is all of those things and more.
Eminem attempts to pin down the infuriating feeling of a toxic relationship, as he raps:
Drunk from the hate
It's like I'm huffing paint
And I love it the more that I suffer
And right before I'm about to drown
She resuscitates me
She fucking hates me
And I love it
But he very specifically refers to domestic violence:
I laid hands on her
I'll never stoop so low again
I guess I don't know my own strength
The Guardian asks if the video glamorizes domestic abuse. It is beautifully shot, and when a sad-faced Rihanna sings, "I love the way you lie," it's almost as if she's yearning. Perhaps it's cathartic. But there's nothing glamorous about two people going up in flames, which is how the clip ends. There are no winners; only destruction. There have been excellent, artful films about war, with the message still clear: War is hell. And if there are mixed emotions in the video — an undefined line as to whether this particular type of suffering is attractive or repulsive — well, isn't that the point? It's not a public service announcement, it's just a perspective.