I had never heard the Johnny Cash version of this song, but since it was mentioned in the article, I wanted to check it out. I’ve never been a huge fan of Cash. I like some of his stuff, but I’m not on board with the whole iconic man in black thing. But I understand his tough guy schtick.
And that’s why I have a problem with Johnny singing this. It s just too angsty for what I know from Cash. Cash is a badass, he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. I just don’t buy “I hurt myself today to see if I still feel” coming from him. And I don’t like the delivery of the verses.
On the other hand I like the chorus a lot. The guitar sounds great here and it is less angsty than the verses: “I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” That I can buy. And I like the way he delivers those lines as well.
So I come away from this with a mixed feeling. And yes, I still prefer the Nine Inch Nails version.
Interestingly, Reznor was really moved by the video, which I have not seen.
[READ: December 20, 2012] “Music from the Machine”
I was a little dismissive of Nine Inch Nails when Pretty Hate Machine came out. I liked “Head Like a Hole” but felt the whole album was a commercialization of the industrial sound. And indeed, it was, but I’m less of a purist now, so I can deal with it.
After Pretty Hate Machine, I fell head over heels for NIN, and I think that “March of the Pigs” and all of The Downward Spiral are amazing. But after The Fragile, I lost interest again. Perhaps NIN was a phase.
This article reintroduced me to Reznor. I never really wanted to know that much about him, and thankfully, this piece only gives a little bit of background (unlike some of the really long New Yorker biographies, this one is nice and tidy with some family history but not too much). It really focuses more on what he has been up to since he put Nine Inch Nails on hiatus (and since he won an Oscar!). (more…)