Personally, we weren’t even that huge on “Love The Way You Lie” the first time around, but at least Eminem is an emotionally intense enough performer that when he raps about heartbreak being a steel knife in his windpipe, we have to pay attention, at least. Throw in some decent chemistry with guest vocalist Rihanna, a vivid chorus from scribe Skylar Grey, and a video that burned (pun semi-intended) in your memory, and it wasn’t the best No. 1 hit of 2010, but it was hardly the most surprising, either.
T.I. has no such presence as a rapper—he’s at his best when being a fairly chill, understated dude, and in fact a number of his best hits are about how he doesn’t get why people keep trying to bother him about stuff. So when he begins the recently leaked “Guns & Roses” with the question “Have you ever loved somebody so much you can’t stand it but can’t be without them?” (echoing the opening question to the second verse of “Lie”), his relaxed delivery is a little jarring, and his verses (over some plaintive guitar picking and a light drum shuffle) sound way more B.o.B. than Eminem, like a less-committed version of Bobby Ray’s overwrought “Airplanes.”
At least Pink is there to lend the song a certain emotional weight on the chorus. “Should have known it / From the start it was already over / We were just too dumb to notice / And we’d pray but even love couldn’t save us / We’d wake up on a bed of guns and roses.” Her voice is powerful enough to make the somewhat clichéd lyrics sound significant, but the relationship with the song’s verses is a weak one, and the sentiment is too vague to be particularly impactful. Besides, Jay-Z already had a song called “Guns n Roses” anyway.
T.I. has apparently called the song the “money-maker” off his upcomingTrouble Man album. Stranger things have happened, and Tip has had success with female pop-star collaborators before, but if the song is anywhere near as big as “Love the Way You Lie,” that’ll be a shame for 2013.