Sunday, November 21, 2010

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: Take a Bow, by Rihanna

There’s a certain segment of the population who generally prize loyalty, commitment, and mutual care as the underpinnings of a relationship -- both familial and romantic.  Love is the glue that holds relationships together and overcomes all obstacles.  With love, anything is possible.  All you need is love.  These folks are the Trusters.

The Trusters often fall prey to the Manipulators.  The Manipulators instinctively know what the Trusters want and give them just enough of it to enjoy the benefits of the relationship without sacrificing their own freedom or overblown self-determination.

But you put on quite a show, really had me going
Now it’s time to go, curtain’s finally closing

Take a Bow is the anthem for all the reformed Trusters who’ve learned not to accept the misbehavior and excuses of the Manipulator.

When a Truster is hurt, what he or she wants more than anything is to believe that the dishonest partner understands the pain caused by the dishonest behavior and is deeply and truly repentant.  The Truster would be devastated if something he did caused the Manipulator pain and needs to know the Manipulator feels equally devastated by his own behavior.

But Manipulators just go through the motions.  They know what Trusters want to hear, and they recite the requisite lines, winning back their comfortable status quo.  Rihanna’s lyrics capture perfectly the aspect of performance that drives the Manipulator’s behavior.

And the award for the best liar goes to you
For making me believe that you could be faithful to me
Let's hear your speech out

Taking the power away from a Manipulator is the ultimate triumph for the Truster.  Pushing the Manipulator away -- in direct opposition to the Truster’s instinct -- allows the Truster to build a foundation of strength and discernment so they won’t fall victim to the next Manipulator they encounter. 

You look so dumb right now
Standing outside my house
Trying to apologize
You’re so ugly when you cry
Please, just cut it out

Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo wrote the song for Rihanna.  Here he is singing it from the man’s point of view.

There are two things I love about this cover.  First, Ne-Yo appears to be reading the revised lyrics off his BlackBerry, as if he had received them in an email.  Second, although he has adjusted the lyrics to indicate remorse and sincerity, it seems to all boil down to one thing:  “Please, let me in the house.”  That cracks me up.

But OMG check out this mix of the song with recordings of Detroit’s manipulative (thankfully) former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick!  It’s the perfect demonstration of the brazen behavior of the Manipulator, finally recognized by the recovering Truster.  One imagines the entire population of Detroit standing up together and serenading Kilpatrick with this song as he’s frogmarched off to jail.  Yes!

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