I’m in the car the other day and the new Eminem song (the one with Rhianna) comes on. I sing along to the chorus, it moves me, I think it’s good. I can’t say that it is actually good though. The song in essence is about a violent and abusive relationship. It is an artistic expression of the if I can’t have you no one can attitude.
Knowing this makes me question why I like the song. Am I sick and twisted? He sings about hurting her and she answers that she likes the way it hurts, loves the way he lies. After giving it some thought I realized it is the honesty that speaks to me. I don’t know that Eminem has ever lied to us in his music and lyrics. He draws from what he knows, thinks and feels. He takes the rage and instead of balling it up and pretending to be good and proper, he creates from it.
He admits his mistakes. He warns of possible back slides. He tells the truth as he knows it. The truth reaches people. It touches them for better or worse.
I loved the TV show The Wire because it told the truth. The characters were believable. The good guys were really bad sometimes and the bad guys were really good at other times. Nobody is one or the other and an honest story shows us that.
Someone mention the honesty factor in response to my Stephen King post. In his book, King talks about how important it is to tell the truth in your writing. I’d say that falls in line with all creative expression. When you put yourself out there and expose real emotions in your art or work, people will connect to it.