Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2010

Love The Way You Lie by Eminem/Rihanna

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A sung-rap conflicted plight of a couple who hurt each other as much as they love one another.

Song: Love The Way You Lie
Artist: Eminem/Rihanna
Album: Recovery
Songwriter: A. Grant, H. Hafferman, M. Mathers
Producer: Alex Da Kid
B003KUSUG8

Concept
An expression of two people caught on opposite sides of a hurt-love situation that they can’t and really don’t want to get out of. Excellent imagery of exquisite pain one is addicted to because it feels so good to feel bad.

Lyric
A classic confrontation between two crossed lovers as the singers spill out their feelings such as they are to each other. CHORUS Just go and stare at me and watch me burn Well that’s all right because I like the way it hurts Just go and stare at me and hear me cry Well that’s all right because I love the way you lie VERSE I can’t tell you what it really is I can only tell you what it feels like And right now there’s a steel knife in my windpipe I can’t breathe but I still fight when I can fight As long as the wrong feels right, it’s like I’m in fight High off of love, drunk from my hate It’s like I’m huffin’ paint and I love it the more I suffer I suffocate and right there for once I’m about to , and she resuscitates me She f—kin’ hates me and I love it

Groove
A mid-tempo relentless 16th half-time rock groove that doesn’t let go.

Melody
The haunting chorus melody repeats its well-sculpted two phrases over and over, drumming it into the listener’s subconscious. Eminem’s rap is melodic in its way without any notes.

Harmony
A simple 4-chord classic rock triadic loop that is both hypnotic and effective. vi IV I V

Structure
A basic 2-section structure that is so well contrasted that it never gets tired. Chorus Verse (rap) Chorus Verse (rap) Chorus Verse (rap) Chorus B A B A B A B

Signature
Rihanna sings a half chorus to start this out over a stark piano background.

Production
The production is the essence of simplicity, communicating something honest, direct and focused. There are no surprises as the song digs its emotional pit deeper and deeper.

Performance
Both vocalists do what they do best. Rihanna gives the chorus a resigned stoic moody expression in contrast to Eminem’s gyration-filled raw emotional tirade. The conflict that the song’s couple sings about is fully communicated without any diversion or frills.

Predicted Longevity
Not only do the words and music make a perfect prosody (or marriage) with each other, the rest of the elements here do the same. This anthem of enjoyable suffering should be around for a long time as its universality in content and flawless production warrant an extended life.

Album Cover: Recovery

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