There are few things in life as simple as a great song you hear for the first time. And when you hear it, you just know you love it immediately. The first time I heard the song “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, I knew I loved it. It’s actually a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song. But Cash owns this song now. I think I saw the Hurt music video first actually. Regardless, the song on its own and the music video are both brilliant. When have you ever heard a single stroke of a piano key played over and over to such incredible poetry and power. Every time I hear this song I can’t help but feel very emotional. It’s so clear in Cash’s voice that he is near the end of his life and he KNOWS it. This song is like his final goodbye. He’s apologizing for his life. He’s accepting his life, successes and failures alike. But he’s also celebrating his life. The irony and paradox in this song is incredible.
I think the album cover above is stunning. It’s simple, clean but superbly emotive. Great graphic design and photography. I also love the image below from the close of the Hurt video with Cash’s hands caressing the piano as he closes the cover. Such a fitting end to an incredible career and life. Cash was a genre-crossing Musician whose work was loved by people of all ages and musical tastes, even though he fell in the categories of Country and Gospel more than anything else. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Cash, but some of his songs are favorites of mine. I think what I love more about Cash is the story of his life and his presence. I can remember watching an interview between him and Larry King and just being mesmerized by the conversation. And the movie made a few years ago about his life, Walk The Line (2005), starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, was excellent. Cash will live on in our musical history like other greats.
If you haven’t seen the Hurt video, check it out on YouTube below. I think its an excellently filmed and executed video. I love the combination of old footage of Cash mixed with the dark new shots of him. It’s a poignant video that evokes memories of my grandfathers in me. There’s something very masculine and manly about Cash and it reminds me of my grandfathers, who were both strong masculine men. I think seeing that still image of his hands on the piano above the video while you watch the video is pretty cool if I do say so myself.