Johnny Cash Explains the Hurt

27 Nov

Do you watch Person of Interest? A television show I recently got into. Interesting concept, heroic characters, fast-paced plots. From Bad Robot, JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Fringe). And there’s a dog. What’s not to love?

Question: Can a piece of music elevate and even elucidate an episode of a television show? Did you watch last nite’s episode? If you did, you know the answer is yes, it can. Because it did.

JohnnyCash.11.27.13.hurt.crThe opening four minutes was accompanied solely by Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt. It set the tone and it stated the thesis for what followed.

Revenge, eye for an eye, retaliation, settling the score. The characters suffered a mighty loss in last week’s episode. This week was all about their response.

Healing, light at the end of the tunnel, there’ll be better days…

Sure, there’ll be time for all that.

For now, Johnny Cash is tellin’ you, it’s just about the hurtin’.

Hurt

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear my crown of thorns*
On my liar’s chair

Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stain of time
The feeling disappears
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again

A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Sources:
Hurt: Music and lyrics by Trent Reznor (*changed to crown of “thorns” in Cash’s version)
Johnny Cash’s Hurt: From the album, Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), produced by Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash Pic: from Hurt shoot

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