Friends with the Monster

eminem-rihanna-the-monsterHow do young people deal with adversity today? Do they fight their demons, addictions and problems… or do they make friends with these monsters?

Young people are always searching for ways to cope. In their quest for answers, many turn to the poets whispering in their ears day and night. Two of those poets just rose to the top of the Billboard charts with their song about fighting “the monster.”

I’m referring to the new No 1 song, The Monster, from Emenim, featuring Rihanna. The song carved a slice of history for each artist on the music charts and is the 11th song to go No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this year (as we outlined in our annual Youth Culture Window article about the top hits of 2013, reviewing all 11 of these songs).

But what answers do Eminem and Rihanna provide with The Monster?

Eminem raps about many of the struggles he’s faced with fame, sharing candidly about some of the disappointments and letdowns. Then Rihanna chimes in with the hook:

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re trying to save me, stop holdin’ your breath
And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy

Many speculate what the song means, but the songs writer, Jon Bellion spells it out clearly:

“I wrote the lyric, ‘I’m friends with the Monsters that’s under my bed’ mainly because sometimes you can’t necessarily get rid of your demons. You can’t necessarily, completely just not be fearful or not have an addiction or a problem so you kind of have to live with it and learn to like, kind of live with monsters. He’s not going to go away. The monster is still there but he’s got to learn to live with it and deal with it and kind of co-exist with your demons ’cause demons will never just be gone. You’ll never just be happy your entire life.”

And that might be the conclusion many come to.

Is that all we have to offer?

Or is there more to this life?

Perhaps this song might be a springboard to these conversations… don’t you think?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.
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3 Responses to Friends with the Monster

  1. Sean says:

    It’s a true statement. I wouldn’t use the word demons though. I’d call it just being human. Accepting what you are is a great way in helping you deal with what you are, and a lot of cases fix.

    Just saying that some rehab clinic or some spirit or God can fix these things for you, and that they’ll never attempt to sway you again has proven to fail time and time again. Which is sad for the religious side since a lot of times those who try desipute that claim are the ones you see fail.

    You call it being sin and sinners. I call it life and humanity.

    • I like the writer’s desire to cope and survive instead of giving up. And Sean, I like your desire to “deal with what you are” and, as you say, maybe even “fix”, especially in a world where many people give up. Where we probably differ is in how we choose to “deal” or “cope” or “fix.” Religious people would say the answer is to try to achieve a certain righteousness. Jesus would say to just cast our cares on Him and let Him lift us up. That’s the difference between true followers of Christ and people pursuing religion of some sort. Christ followers know they’re messed up, know they need to give it up to Him, and they allow Jesus to slowly start molding them to be more like Him. It’s a process (called sanctification). It’s not a religious act, it’s faith that compels us to love.

  2. Sean says:

    In my experience giving it up for someone else to take care of, rarely works. No man or spirit is going to destroy your “Demons,” it’s up to the actual person themselves to give the effort.

    and there is no one on the planet who will ever be like Jesus.

    at the end of the day your a human being. That’s all you’ll ever be. And as far as I’m concerned there is nothing wrong with that.