Alma Recommends: “Love On The Brain” by Rihanna

On Love, Lust, and Obsession

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

Rihanna sounded quite loud through the speakers near us the last night I saw you. I think she wanted to make sure we heard her since. After all, her experience sounded so much like ours.

The bar was slightly crowded, more so than the prior time we were there. We sat in the same area: small tables yet spacious enough to keep our distance from one another.

Rihanna knows how dark and destructive love can be, and she was trying to warn us. Her presence among us was intimidating, with each shivering chord cutting through our veins and letting us know that ours was, like hers, a damaging-yet-undying love, and that it was time to let go.

I had many unanswered questions for her that night:
– What drives us to those relationships?
– What makes us stay for so long?
– Is it really love? Or is it lust? Or even worse, obsession?
– Do we like the pain of that kind of love?

These questions echo in my head time and time again. It seems like I only know the kind of love that hurts. The impossible kind that takes you up and down the emotional rollercoaster where adrenaline is high, and then tanks to its lowest low.

For the outsider, it is easy to blame it on lust: the passion, the attraction, the indescribable pull towards each other. And lust can quickly turn into an obsession: the need, the desperate wanting to be in with the presence of the other, no matter the consequences. It becomes an addiction, something you can’t live without.

I thought about Rihanna’s words for quite a while after that night. And I still think about it because I sure want the antidote if it is true that I have an addiction to the wrong kind of relationships. But I don’t think so.

I, like Rihanna, would do anything for love. I love with passion and with my whole being. Lust feeds the carnal hunger for the physical blending of the bodies, but I love with my heart and soul. I give chances, I forgive and stay and work hard on my relationships in the name of that love, and in the hopes that one day, it will all be better. But I understand that love can be on the brain for some, and they may not live and share that strength, let alone understand it or accept it as something to treasure.

I love to love with my whole self, but I have come to see that it is the kind of love that should be saved for those willing to accept it with an open heart and excited to take it and embrace it. And that is why my love is now confined within the boundaries of self-care.


Rumor has it that “Love On The Brain” is a response to Chris Brown’s song “Heart Ain’t A Brain” in which he also talks about the addictive kind of love:

A heart ain’t a brain
But I think that I still love you, still love you
A happy ending makes you cry
’Cause it ends when you don’t want to, don’t want to
And it makes perfect sense to end it like the start
How do I explain this nonsense to my heart?
A heart ain’t a brain but I’m thinking that I still love you
Still love you, still love — 

Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain” on YouTube


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