Friday, 3 August 2012

Cover Me: my sweetest friend...

Occasionally a song comes along - cover or original - that really just gets you right in the gut. You have a physical reaction to it. There is so much to say about Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt but I honestly don't know if I can say any of it. I'll try... 

If you know anything about the story of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, it just makes this video and song all the more emotive when you find out that June passed away three months after filming this video, with Johnny soon to follow. They had such an amazing story - both so flawed (aren't we all?) but so devoted to each other.

I've only listened to the NIN original version a few times. I was never really a fan of the band, and I can't really connect with it - but that is probably just be an issue of personal taste. Cash covered the song in 2002 for his album American IV: The Man Comes Around which also contains covers of songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water and Danny Boy, so choosing a NIN song is a bit out there. Trent Reznor, of NIN, was a fan of the cover and had some nice things to say about it - which also kind of helps to explain why I love covers so much.

I pop the video in, and wow... Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps... Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore... It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure. (Alternative Press, September 2004).

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