Amazing Music Videos: Hurt by Johnny Cash

Let me apologize for waiting this long to post about this incredible work of art! A strong candidate for the number one spot in my Amazing Music Video series.

The adventure began with yet another incredible idea to come out of the brain of famous bearded genius Rick Rubin, a prolific and very influential producer who is responsible for several of the most important albums of the last few decades. Johnny Cash, now in his 60’s-70’s, had been working with Rubin on the American Recordings series: the AR albums comprise new versions of famous songs by american songwriters. On the fourth american recordings record, intitled “The Man Comes Around”, Johnny Cash performs a stunning and unforgettable version of alternative rock band Nine Inch Nails’s iconic song “Hurt”. Using the same strong lyrics (aside from the removal of one little word), he made the song his own and took it in a different direction, as an old man emotionally looking back on his life. While many I’m sure dismissed the raw alternative NIN song right off the bat were then surprised and blown away by it, once they let Johnny Cash do the storytelling (which, incidentally, is also relatively common with Rick Rubin’s albums – he breaks the frontiers of genres and brings out a performance that can be understood by a wide audience).

Directed by Mark Romanek, this video has nothing to do with “blingbling” or what not. It’s not about escaping reality by daydreaming about obscene wealth and fame and nonstop lapdancing (sigh…). It is a naked portrait of a legendary figure in music, now in his 70’s and in fragile health, looking back on his life and career as the “hell-raiser man in black”.  It’s an incredibly moving video, which won best cinematography at the MTV awards; Romanek really should have taken home the best video awards but he lost to Missy Elliot… at least he didn’t lose to 50 cents’s In da club! That was the year of the famous Britney-Madonna kiss too… but let’s rejoice that somehow out of this could rise a wonderful work of art which will stand the test of time (unlike others who shall remain nameless).

I heard someone say once that this video is like a baroque painting. What do you think? Here goes:

PS. If you haven’t seen my “Hurt – original vs cover song battle” between Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash, I invite you to take a look and make your choice (if you can, it’s a heartbreaking choice!) :



Hurt vs Hurt (NIN vs Johnny Cash)

After discussing with stephen1001 about acoustic versions of “harder” songs, I decided to ask the impossible in this post: can you choose between Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt (1994), and the cover song by Johnny Cash (2002)?

Nine Inch Nails’ version conveys raw feelings of sadness, anger, ansgt… a young man who somehow feels like he’s already screwed up his life.

Johnny Cash’s version : an old man looking back at this life, saying goodbye, with deep sorrow and regret…

Both versions are incredibly good, genuine, very intense and moving.

Check out the links below and make you choice! Or not. I don’t blame you for being torn.

Personally, I have to go with NIN, but my choice may be biased, as this is the original song, which I have listened to A LOT in my late teenage years.

1- Nine Inch Nails’ version (please don’t mind the two idiots commenting)

2- Johnny Cash’s version (official music video – truly amazing)