Musical Analysis on Hurt by Johnny Cash

MusicalAnalysis on HurtbyJohnny Cash


MusicalAnalysis on HurtbyJohnny Cash

Forseveral reasons, the Hurtsongby Johnny Cash offers an empirical evidence for the manner in whichvideo, music, and even ‘remake’, can be categorized asliterature. The song is the cover music of the original song of TrentReznor, called the NineInch Nails.The song begins with a riff on an acoustic guitar with the guitarsdeveloping a harmony with each other. Cash then starts with hisvocals, speaking the same words as in the original song, but he saysthem as if he is narrating the story of his life to someone. Thepiano then joins adding a lower harmony to the music (Cash,2002).The lyrics of Cash gets intense as the chorus comes in, and theguitar and piano strums softly, but gets louder and louder until theystop altogether, and it comes back to the opening riff of the guitarand the piano once more. It continues this way until the last choruswhen the entire music is created louder and louder, and Cash is heardsinging with a lot of emotions.

Thelife of Cash had been full of hurdles. He has fought in theskirmishes with the law, the troubled relationships, as well asthrough addictions. As such, it is apparent that he has hurthimselfas well as other people along the way. As such, his experience allowsCash to sing the lyrics the conviction, which cannot be matched byany other artist. He also accompanies this conviction with a distinctacoustic background. The guitar is not very loud, and the temp isslightly slower, depicting a seriousness feeling, which is not evenin the NineInch Nails. Moreover,the hoarse and monotonous tone of the voice of Cash almost convertsthe lyrics into a speech, which one can imagine being orated by agrandfather, or any person full of wisdom. The song is unequivocallysalient, with a unique meaning. As such, the cover of Cash can beregarded as an original literature piece.

Hurtbycash is an original piece of literature original literature piece,nonetheless, it the music video, which makes the piece so unique. Inthe song, he reminds the listeners of an old war veteran or any othersenior citizen who had been through a lot and achieved a lot ofwisdom. The entire song is a life lesson, and the listener would notprefer to end in the same manner (Reznor,2008).Therefore, anything that impacts a great lesson to someone can beconsidered a great piece of literature. The music video also acts asan archetype literature in every possible medium, and this makes itvery impressive. The lyrics (the written word), the song (music), themusic video (film), and the cover (remake), in this piece, are allrepresented as literature.

Theidea that the music video is a piece of literature is veryconvincing. Nevertheless, the tactics employed by the director toconstrue or emphasize the meaning of the song are also very essentialas the instruments and the lyrics (Spencer,2013).The evidence to this argument revolves around the decision of thedirector to splice in the images of Jesus, as the song continues. Assuch, this gives the music a connotation of religion but also depictssomething concerning Cash himself. By imposing several images of thecrucifixion of Jesus, the director, in an inadvertent manner, exposesthe fatalist mentality of Cash. At such a point in life, Cash noticesthat there is no much time left for him, or for his wife. The song isvery truthful when measuring the value and the worth of life, and ofthe achievements of a person, one that in a resounding manner leanson the pessimistic side.

Thesong’s tone is too dark, and with a mood that is very depressing.For instance, when one listens to the song through the earphones,there is a very prominent static, and as such, the feeling seemscreepy in the starting. The feeling is then soon enforced by theacoustic guitar and soft vocals. When the lyrics start, it says thatthe Cash hurt himself, to see if he still feels. He goes on to saysthat he focuses on agony, which is the only real thing. Thus, rightfrom the beginning, the listener has a feeling that is verydepressing and disturbing, and the static, and the riff of a creepyguitar accompany it.

Tosum up, it is apparent that music is a medium of the sorts, whichconnects individuals together, regardless of race, age, or religion.What Cash developed was a productive remake, and it can be called sobecause it was designed for purposes of art, and not for monetarybenefit. Cash thus shows how the songs can be examined and viewedfrom various perspectives, and one version can exhibit a verydifferent meaning from the other one. The Hurtcoverof Cash is a song that transcends a generational discrepancy. Hereminds the listeners the manner in which the songs can be easilyshaped and transformed to develop something that has an entirely newmeaning.


Cash,J. (2002). Hurttaken from American IV: The Man Comes Around.New York: American Recordings.

Reznor,T. (2008). NineInch Nails Man Speaks Out About Hurt Cover in New Musical Express.New York City: NW.

Spencer,G. (2013). Hurtby Johnny Cash “ A Critical Review.Music,Art, Culture and Politics.Retrieved 6 March 2016, from