June 20, 2022
IGP Presents: A Totally Epic Cover Battle - Hurt
It's not often that you come across a song that seemingly transcends time and space when performed by two different artists. It's even more interesting when those two artists are on the complete opposite ends of the musical spectrum. You might be...
It's not often that you come across a song that seemingly transcends time and space when performed by two different artists. It's even more interesting when those two artists are on the complete opposite ends of the musical spectrum. You might be wondering what the hell I am even talking about, and before you swerve off the road in a podcast rage, let me explain.
In 1994 Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nails would release The Downward Spiral (also known to NIN fans as Halo 8). The final track on the album would tell a dark weathered story about drug addiction and self-harm. Trent doesn't divulge much information about the reasoning behind the writing of his songs, as he wants to leave it up to the interpretation of the listener, but it's rumored that this song was written in retrospect. But when listening it certainly seems that Trent was writing about something he knew a little something about from being thrust into superstardom and getting buried within the darkness that is the music industry. Whether it's an autobiographical tale or just a story about a friend of a friend, it certainly hits home for those that can relate to it.
Fast forward to 2002, and the last person you'd ever expect to find himself near a Nine Inch Nails track would lend his iconic vocals to his own version of the song, helped along (or hindered) by Rick Rubin lending his production skills to the reworked track. People at first were quite skeptical because your average Johnny Cash fan has not a clue who Trent Reznor or the Nine Inch Nails are. Hell, Trent Reznor was even skeptical about Johnny Cash covering his work because of the potential for it to add a gimmicky value. It turns out that Rick Rubin might have figured out something that no one else had at the time. This version of the song felt like a window into Johnny Cash's past where he also struggled with many of the same things that Trent had throughout the years, just for much, much longer. A true retrospective view on a tattered and torn life in the music industry.
Johnny Cash's version of this already iconic song would eventually be considered one of his greatest works. Its accompanying video, featuring images from Cash's life and directed by Mark Romanek, was named the best video of the year by the Grammy Awards and CMA Awards, and the best video of all time by NME in July 2011.
Hurt (Cash's Version) would go on to sell 2,148,000 downloads in the United States as of March 2017. To say that it made a huge impact, would I think be putting it quite lightly. When all is said and done there are just some covers that hit the nail on the head, and this happens to be one of them.
It's season 6, episode 7 of your (yes, you the listeners) favorite music podcast. Hell, maybe it's even your favorite weekly podcast to listen to overall. If that's the case, we're not sure what else to say besides THANK YOU.
Keep up with all of the music we talk about in each episode by listening to the Infectious Groove Podcast Companion Songs playlist, exclusively on Spotify.
Infectious Groove Podcast, part of the OddPods Media Network.