So it's a bit baffling to reflect on some of her recent song choices:
* From the first single following her break-up with Brown, "Russian Roulette":
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
And I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must must pass this test
So just pull the trigger
* From her recent duet with Eminem, "Love the Way You Lie":
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
At my most optimistic, I could maybe see that the first song is trying to celebrate her survival - she's stronger for having had the relationship. (But it feels more like she's rationalizing what happened, almost trying to excuse his behavior, as if in 'testing' her he was ultimately helping her. I think it's fucked up.)
And the new song? I can't see anything remotely redeemable in it. If I'm trying to be optimistic, the best I can do is suggest that she's a masochist. But there's nothing more here that's even remotely recuperable.
Rihanna, though, disagrees: "He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence and it's something that people don't have a lot of insight on. [...] The lyrics were so deep, so beautiful and intense. It's something that I understood, something I connected with."
"Broke it down"? If she means that it's a wholly uncritical stream-of-consciousness first-person account of the ways in which misogynists explain and excuse their behavior, then yes, he did a good job of showing just how an abuser can twist things to try and make their behavior sound reasonable. But to call it "deep" and imply that he shows "insight"? No. There's none of that here. I mean, for fuck's sake - the song is about a guy who hits and threatens to murder his girlfriend, a woman who is seemingly okay with it because she "likes the way it hurts". Who "connects" with that?
(The video is even worse because it a) makes the abuse sexy and b) tries even harder to implicate both of them in the violence. "Deep" and "beautiful", indeed.)