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“Something I felt I needed to get off my chest”: Eminem & Ed Sheeran debut dark video for “River”

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Craig McDeanUnhappy Valentine’s Day, everybody: Eminem has released the video for “River,” his collaboration with Ed Sheeran

The emotional song tells the story of a woman named Suzanne who cheats on her husband because he cheated on her.  She gets pregnant, and her lover tells her to terminate it, but then berates himself for messing with another man’s wife and making that request.  In the video, Eminem himself plays Suzanne’s lover. 

The video cuts between footage of Suzanne’s husband, Trevor, talking about how she broke his heart, scenes of Suzanne secretly meeting with Eminem in a diner and in various hotel rooms, and Eminem rapping the lyrics in a recording booth. 

Ed Sheeran, meanwhile, sits alone in a dark, empty, half-wrecked room, singing the song’s hook: “I’ve been a liar, been a thief/Been a lover, been a cheat/All my sins need holy water, feel it washing over me.”

At one point, the music drops out and we see, reflected in a mirror, Eminem and Suzanne arguing about the pregnancy.  He claims she told him she couldn’t get pregnant, and tells her he thought they were just “hanging out,” not having an actual relationship.  Suzanne insists he take responsibility. 

We then see footage of the two of them physically fighting inside the dark, half-wrecked room while rain pours down, and shots of Suzanne standing alone in the rain.

The video ends as it begins: with Eminem alone in a room, being asked questions by an unseen interviewer.  The interviewer asks, “Just explain to us a bit about what the song means to you.”

The rapper replies, “Um, what the song means to me is something that I felt like I needed to get off my chest.” 

So, is this a true story? It’s unclear, for now.

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