American IV: The Man Comes Around by The Man in Black, Johnny Cash.
Deeply moving, powerful music made by a man near the end of a long and rich musical career, staring his own mortality right in the face.
In the movie Walk the Line, Sam Phillips, the producer at Sun Records asks, ” If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing *one* song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up.”
Well, in this album J.R. Cash answered that question with every track. Especially touching are The Man Comes Around, Hurt, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and Personal Jesus.
Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, who wrote Hurt, had the following to say after seeing Cash’s music video of Hurt:
I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure.