“Hurt” Original and Cover Songs

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Music is something that has been around us for as long as people can remember and over the course of history has become more beloved by the masses. There has been many songs made over the course of history and as technology began to evolve, introducing the process of recordings. songs have been replayed over and over again especially by other artist, this is called a cover of a song. The dictionary definition of a cover version is “a recording of a song by a singer, instrumentalist, or group other than the original performer or composer”. Many artist did cover songs to either commemorate or put there own twist on certain popular songs. This became very popular and there was even a time in which artist only did covers and thrived from doing this and some of their renditions even became better and more loved than that of the song from the original artist who created the song. An example of this is the song Hurt which was originally sung by the American industrial rock band The nine inch nails in 1994 which was covered by johnny cash in 2002.

There are many different things to consider when it comes to the sound of both songs and what makes them so different. The similarities that both songs share are there pace in which they sing the lyrics and the lyrics are very similar as they both speak about realizing consequence and regret. It is a message that tells the listener to go through life wisely because there’s nothing that is worse than being stuck with a label, a pain, a sickness, or a death, that we know beforehand will leave us only wishing things had been different and that we could change the choices we made. The differences between the two are that in the nine inch nails version it is more punk and has a tone that sounds as though being more aggressive and emotions as the tempo of the song changes from low to high throughout the song. In Johnny Cash’s version it is converted into a sort of countries song adding his own style were the lyrics flow and the tone of his voice stays consistent throughout the songs. This is what makes both song so different from one another.

This cover was produced by Rick Rubin who many claimed to have pushed Cash to record. The thing that drew him to the song was that it showed vulnerability and he knew that Cash’s voice was giving out and also deals with the loss of June his wife who participated in the video three months prior to her death on the 15th May 2003. and needed material to express that pain . Rubin even said in on October edition of Vanity fair in 2004 where he states that ‘It’s a strange song. I mean, the opening line is, ‘I hurt myself today…’ And then the next line is, ‘To see if I still feel.’ So it’s self-inflicted. It’s such a strange thought to open a song with”. It is said that Cash played this song more than one hundred times before he recorded it. Trent Reznor, the original singer of the songs once stated that he was originally angry that Johnny Cash had covered his song because it was something very personal to him. Although once he listened to the song and it’s very emotional video However, he changed his mind and allowed it to happen. Cash later died on 12th September 2003 from diabetes .

The overall response to the Downward Spiral was generally a good one, and retrospective reviews think of it as one of the most important albums of the 90s. It was included in several publications such as Rolling Stone who ranked the album number 200 on their ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ list in 2003. Alos another publication called Blender named it the 80th Greatest American Album. Reznor talks of the song “Hurt” from his album stating that ”Interestingly enough, when I wrote the song I had no idea what was in store for me,’ he stated to Uncut magazine on April of 2005. ‘I wrote the album about somebody who follows this path who was an extension of me. But it was in my head. I hadn’t actually lived it. Then later I lived it. I didn’t realize the record was a premonition. I was using the metaphor of drugs at the forefront of what was going on. But I wasn’t a junkie. Later I became one, but I didn’t know there was an addict in me that just hadn’t bloomed out of the dirt yet.’ .

The album from cash called “The Man Comes Around” still remains the most popular title nationally, it moved from number 94 to number 22 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart which was released in 2002 and has sold more than 575,000 copies.This album jumped 14 spaces getting it at number 2 on the top country albums chart. Nine Inch Nails ‘s The Downward Spiral album got into the Billboard 200 at number two and stiles holds the place of the highest-selling release in the United States having shipments of over four million copies and being able to sell five million copies worldwide.

Both songs were very touching and influential for the time that they were made and grossed a lot of money and fame for both artist. There songs are very different in that the Nine inch nails song is made with a very quiet tone and tells the story of a person who is faced with drug addiction and is unhappy with the situation that they are faced with which then become the actual life of the main artist Trent Reznor. Johnny cash’s cover is completely different as it is converted into a country song that is more of Cash’s style in which he makes the song his own and it is a story in which he put himself in the song and how his time is soon to come and how he reflects in his life and the loss of his wife. Both songs did very well although Johnny Cash’s version was favored more by the masses which many believe is due to the time in which they were made as well as the fact that johnny Cash was already well known at the time.

Cite this paper

“Hurt” Original and Cover Songs. (2021, Aug 29). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hurt-original-and-cover-songs/

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