Johnny Cash - American IV: The Man Comes Around


I do

n't really like country music. That is, I don't really like country music as a genre -- I do like some country artists (Steve Earle - Jerusalem) as individuals. 'The Man Comes Around' is an interesting album of some original tracks and some covers, performed in Johnny's inimitable style -- and now rather ageing voice. Some tracks I love, and some I hate (nothing can make me like "We'll meet again" -- the Vera Lynn song).

The stand out track for me is "Hurt". It's a really bitter song about loss and regret and disappointment. The video suggests that Johnny sees a religious theme in it too, but you can read it either way. This is where his ageing voice comes into its own: when he sings,

"I hurt myself today to see if I still feel" and "Everyone I know goes away in the end"

you can tell that he really knows what that means. It's a very powerful song. "Personal Jesus" is also great. If you'd told me that Johnny Cash singing a Depeche Mode song would be good, I would probably have told you that you were mad, but it just works somehow. It's certainly an interesting album, and one that is somewhat different to my usual listening. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest...