Band: Nine Inch Nails (NIN)
I suppose basically everybody has heard this song covered by Johnny Cash. It's the classic case of a cover that surpassed the original in it's popularity that used to happen to people like Bob Dylan a lot.
I know basically everybody ever seems to say that the cover is better, but let's pull back into the base of the atrociously named "sad week" and talk about this one, especially in the context of the album.
Starting with the album which was titled The Downward Spiral; Clearly it's an album written by somebody who was really unhappy at the time. It's pretty well documented that Reznor had pretty severe drug and alcohol problems during the writing and recording of his darker albums and this is no exception. Wanting an album that oozed pain and feeling he actively avoided seeking help for his problems. It was also recorded in the house where Charles Manson had murdered Sharon Tate, so not exactly a studio filled with positive energy.
Now the song. It isn't as polished as the Johnny Cash version is. It's not a pretty or well balanced, it's more of a cry of depression that also isn't seeking help. A sad voice that isn't sure what it wants and is lamenting that all it will do is hurt and disappoint you.
The messy sound of it is something that I think really lends to the sadness of the piece. You can argue that the emotion Mr Cash poured into it made the song stronger emotionally, but since this is the source piece you have to think of it differently. It's the song that inspired a broken country musician to cover it because he identified with the pain and sadness conveyed within.
All in all I'm incredibly happy with this song's contributing to the week, it's really solid.
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