Do yourself a favor… delve into those couch cushions (I know we’re in a recession), go through your pockets, somehow dig up $9.99 and open iTunes and download Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around (or buy from Amazon).

Or you can be a communist and steal it, but we all know that God hates communists.  You don’t want to be on God’s bad side, now do you?  *removes tongue from cheek, continues post*

I was over on Mix Tape Therapy (with Ms. Mix and Bitch) reading her list of the Top 20 Covers and came upon JC’s cover of “Hurt” by NIN.  I forgot how much I loved Cash’s version of the song and scoured my computer for it.  I lost the MP3 when I switched to my Mac and referred to iTunes (where I, luckily, had a credit – thanks mom!).  Cash also cover’s Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” on the same album, another cover about which I forgot, and rekindled my love for.  Another bonus is the Sting cover, “I Hung My Head,” off Mercury Falling, one of (in my opinion) Sting’s most underrated solo albums.

Cash’s version of “Hurt” opens up a flood of memories.  The pain in his voice resonates more viscerally than Trent Reznor’s, as though we’re hearing the deathbed confession of an old man, weary of the world and the pain in it.  Prepare yourself for some catharsis; the song just breaks my heart.  Doesn’t help that a very significant ex introduced me to it (and, huh, funny that he lived up to the song’s lyrics), and he just emailed me for the first time in a year, so it’s fitting that this song comes back into my life.

Start with track 1, “The Man Comes Around,” and listen through to the end.  Cash emotes raw feeling that most modern recording lacks.  He didn’t record this for lack of money, fame, or prestige.  He made it toward the end of his life and gave us lucky listeners one more solid recording in a legacy of legendary music.

Thanks, Johnny.