Saturday, June 25, 2005

Changes on the Comment Front

I got rid of the comment server that I was using. That means all the comments from before are missing off my blog, but that's ok. I have a record of them in my email.

I don't know how to put up a thing that says "comments" at the end of a post, but if you do want to say something, please click on the time stamp at the end of the post and you can post your comments on blogger's comment thingy.

And yeah, Jerry, you were right. That is a Nine Inch Nails song that Johnny Cash was singing. Here's some commentary that came with the link that I received:

Johnny Cash video rattles viewers
By Steve Beard

One of the surprising hits on Johnny Cash's lastest album When The Man Comes Around is his rendition of "Hurt" written by the dark and brooding Trent Reznor of the hard rock band Nine Inch Nails. I hurt myself today/ To see if I still feel/ I focus on the pain/ The only thing that's real, Cash sings. The needle tears a hole/ The old familiar sting/ Try to kill it all away/ But I remember everything--a poignant reminder of his dark years in the 1960s.

"I think 'Hurt' is the best anti-drug song I ever heard," said Cash. "It's a song about a man's pain and what we're capable of doing to ourselves and the possibility that we don't have to do that anymore. I could relate to that from the very beginning."

He told USA Today, "I would have written something like that in the '60s, if I had been that good."

When the video for the song was released it became a fascinating cross-over hit, being played on MTV, VH-1, and CMT. Director Mark Romanek spliced together one of the most vivid and moving visual portraits of Cash's illustrative career. Footage was gleaned from his early years, prison concerts, walking through the Holy Land, and hopping a boxcar. Cash is shown sitting behind a piano as well as strumming his guitar in his all-so-familiar black apparel. Interspersed throughout the video is the backdrop of the famous House of Cash museum in Tennessee--sitting in disrepair, closed to the public since 1995. The museum serves as a metaphor for Cash's physical condition-which is weak and in pain.

Johnny is seated behind a grand table spread with a generous feast of meat and fish. With trembling hand, he pours a glass of red wine over the food as he sings, You could have it all/ My empire of dirt/ I will let you down/ I will make you hurt.

The face of Jesus appears; first, in a portrait and later in footage taken from Gospel Road, a movie on the life of Christ that Cash produced with his own finances in the 1970s. The graphic crucifixion scene is interspliced with concert footage and cheering prison crowds in order to poignantly emphasize that all of humanity carries the responsibility of Christ's death. Never before in the history of music videos has there been such a rattling reminder of youth, aging, and the sometimes agonizing trek through the twilight years.

"Mortality is a very unusual topic for this medium," Romanek told Rolling Stone. "But I ascribe most of the power to the Johnny Cash-ness of it all."

Trent Reznor was in the studio with Zach de la Rocha, the former lead singer of Rage Against the Machine, when he received the video. "By the end I was really on the verge of tears," said Reznor. "At the end of it, there was just dead silence. There was, like, this moist clearing of our throats and then, 'Uh, OK, let's get some coffee.'"

Cash's producer Rick Rubin cried when he saw it for the first time. "I spoke to (U2 singer) Bono and he compared what Johnny is doing now to what Elvis Presley did in the 1950s," Rubin told the Associated Press. "Then, Elvis represented a new youth culture and it shocked and terrified everyone because culture wasn't about youth before him. Now we live in a youth culture and Johnny Cash is showing the experience of a much older generation. It's just as radical."

Life, death, drugs, Jesus, pain, joy, disappointment, and success were all wrapped together in that video-the essential elements of Johnny Cash's career and life's work. "Life isn't just for living, it's for singing about," he wrote in the liner notes for his 1977 album The Rambler. "Loneliness is real, the pain of loss is real, the fulfillment of love is real, the thrill of adventure is real, and to put it in the song lyrics and sing about it-after all, isn't that what a country singer/writer is supposed to do, write and sing of reality?"

1 comment:

silverchik said...

my little brother is a major metal fan...he introduced me to johnny cash after he heard this song--metal legend has it that reznor said no one else could ever sing th esong, but he just couldn't say no to cash...then he said it was cash's song all along! that song moves me to tears, and it moves a surprising number of metalheads like my brother as well...i just keep praying for something to break through his shell...as does my mom...he's a believer, and he's never taken drugs or anything, but he holds on to grudges to the point he is bitter and cynical...so when he cries over a song...i do to. anyway, i'm rambling know. thanks for posting this cheryl...