Last week, MTV News started rolling out our picks for the Top 25 Songs of 2010. The list began with Rick Ross' "Super High" at number 25 and worked its way through Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" at number 11. All this week, we'll be pulling back the curtain on the top 10, leading up to the unveiling of our number one song of the year this Friday. Lady Gaga's and Beyoncé's "Telephone" launched this week's countdown at number 10, but it's the number nine entry — Eminem and Rihanna's epic, brooding "Love the Way You Lie" — that has really summed up the year (both in pop music and in general discourse).
When you really break it down, "Love the Way You Lie" is a pretty staggering achievement, even for an artist as envelope-pushing and universally loved as Eminem. The second single from his massive comeback album Recovery, "Love the Way You Lie" takes a dark, plodding beat (produced by Alex da Kid and maintaining the vibe of a hip-hop version of a mid-period Metallica outtake) and wraps around some of Slim Shady's most intense rhymes about his tumultuous relationships with women (and this is a guy who once cut a track called "Kill You"). As a bonus, Rihanna (who is no stranger to domestic abuse herself) shows up to croon the hook, which is moody but also fantastically catchy.
"Love the Way You Lie" is an incredible song that is constantly working on two levels. It's a nakedly honest song about dark themes, but it also ended up being a summer jam (it was the top song in the country for the bulk of the sunshine months), and it's also an aggressive blast of realism that is also a well-constructed pop song with a killer hook. In a year where everybody seemed to be trying to balance optimism and hope with the realistic possibility that maybe things won't get better (perhaps best embodied by the two major Washington rallies this year, one held by Glenn Beck and the other by Jon Stewart), "Love the Way You Lie" is perhaps the song that we both needed and deserved.
What do you think of Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie"? Is it one of the best songs of the year? Let us know in the comments!