Saturday, March 04, 2006


I'm in awe of this song.
"I hurt myself today/To see if I still feel/I focus on the pain/The only thing that's real/The needle tears a hole/The old familiar sting/Try to kill it all away/But I remember everything."
Everything about this song speaks of the end. It's like King Lear: a man abandoned, persecuted, resigned; a man that fought all the wars that he had to and came out the other side old and tired, raising his head one more time, remembering the force of his youth and channeling it one last time. "What have I become?/My sweetest friend/Everyone I know/Goes away in the end/And you could have it all/My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt."
This is utterly hypnotic. At times, the song itself takes over from Johnny Cash's voice and builds up into a raging, clanging crescendo of noise, as if he's engaged nature itself as an ally for his last battle.
A few songs don't need much of an entry here, just a listing: they do their own talking.


Cocaine Jesus said...

there are few songs which when performed as covers go on to out do the originals. this one makes the original pale in comparison.

Natsthename said...

I'm in total agreement with CJ. Cash's recording was a watershed of emotion and guts.

Joe said...

Quite right. Stunning. I'm practically in tears each time I hear it. The pounding beat grows and grows with this sense of pain and - almost - panic, where and how's it going to end...?

The video gives it great pathos too...moving it from a song about drugs to definitively Johnny Cash's swansong. It had to be filmed in his home as he was too ill to travel and in the flood damaged Johnny Cash museum. And he died just a few months after it was shot.

An extraordinary song, extraordinarily performed.