American IV: The Man Comes Around [2 LP]
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American IV: The Man Comes Around
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Vinyl, March 3, 2014
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One late-summer evening as I was zapping through the music channels here in The Netherlands, my thumb froze over the remote. On the screen singing was, not the usual parade of lewd, crafted, playbacking little mouths seemingly right of production lines, not good capable singers only better than the rest because of management and advertisement skills; it was a man dressed in black, looking old as death, with a voice raw as a crow's. I did not know it was he, if it had mattered. It was Cash, singing "Hurt". I looked, listened but then more. It was so unspeakably sad, so unfathomably melancholic. How can I describe the emotions hearing that song? Haunted and moved don't seem adequate.
Enchantment. I was a youth with a passion for music: metal, symphonic, classic, techno. Give it to me, give it to me every day, all day long. I'll be satisfied. I was a youth, looking at an old man, singing for me, singing of his life and emotions. Music moves me always, but it was this music, barely more than a voice and an acoustic guitar, that drew a tear, dropped into my heart - then another and another. Silent, invisible tears filling hollows, and all that showed on the outside, were a sniff of the nose and a blink of the eyes. I was a youth.
Many of the songs on this final album, including "Hurt", are covers, even though some are his own.Read more ›
Johnny Cash is not a singer. He never was. But without that dark baritone these songs would not have the impact that they do. I could talk about ever individual track on the album - but I'd rather just make it short and sweet by mentioning a few personal favorites.
"The Man Comes Around" - A Cash original that seemed to take a lot of time to get down (coming from the linear notes). Amazing song about that thing called the apocolypse and judgement day. Nobody could do it like Cash. Nobody...
"Hurt" - Johnny Cash takes one of Trent Reznor's (Nine Inch Nails) best songs and makes it even better. Not only does Cash make the song better but he also makes it seem as if the song was meant for just him. Oh, and there is a word change. Where Reznor would say "I wear this crown of sh*t", Johnny now says "I wear this crown of thorns." The change first kinda put me off but then it seems that Johnny's variation make much more sense then the first.
"Bridge over Toubled Water" - just a great cover of an amazing classic. Fiona Apple adds some tender backing vocals that help Johnny along this tune of trouble and redemption.
"First time ever I saw your face" - Just as where Cash left off on "Spiritual" (from American II) he starts back at with this one. Truly beautiful.Read more ›
Cash's "American" series has been interesting and I was eager to hear what was on offer here after his tremendous Solitary Man album. For once, here's an album which lives up to industry hype. I'll be hard pressed to improve on amazon's adulatory paean to Cash's latest work.
I was floored by the ragged glory of Cash's interpretations of this eclectic material the first time I heard it. Very little of it has any connection to traditional country, but with Cash behind the mike, the country just seems to burst forth.
Some of the more familiar songs I heard with new ears. Songs like Hurt, In My Life and Desperado have a whole lot more meaning when sung by a man of Cash's age as he can look back on life's triumphs and disappointments and sound as if he really means what he's singing.
I like the entire CD, but my favorites are the hellfire and brimstone The Man Comes Around, the mournful Hurt, the remorseful I Hung My Head, the reflective In My Life, the swaggering Sam Hall, the plaintive classic Streets of Laredo, and an uplifting rendition of We'll Meet Again.
The video of Hurt is well worth the extra buck fifty. Watch it...again and again and again! Cash's beloved wife appears in it and her recent death gives it a poignancy money couldn't buy.
I agree with the reviewer who said that Johnny Cash is every bit as important to American music as Elvis Presley. In the autumn of his life, he proves with American IV: The Man Comes Around that he still has what it takes to take his place in the pantheon of American music greats
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the sound of he's voice. you call almost feel every word he sings.Published 3 days ago by R. Miller
Haunting and sad and I can't get enough of it! Johnny Cash at some of his best!Published 4 days ago by Janet Pribyl
Cash is a nice guy.. he's a man of few words.. but no few notes. One of the best classic albums of all time.Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer