The misappropriation of country music: Kid Rock opened the doors for Mumford & Sons

Categories: Pop Music

Country vs. Industrial

"Hurt" - Johnny Cash

Not even the wildest gambler would've placed a long-odds bet that Johnny Cash would one day cover one Trent Reznor's most iconic tunes. Reznor's dark, industrial ode to cutters and the chronically depressed, which includes lyrics about "crowns of shit" and "stains of time" just doesn't immediately lend itself to a country arrangement. Or does it?

Leave it to Rick Rubin -- the man who brought hard rock sounds to the early days of hip-hop -- to find a way to make Cash's Man in Black moniker seem more like a goth than a desperado. Cash's version captures all of the emotional intensity of the original, while his advancing age and litany of hardships in life lend the song a sense of mortality missing from Reznor's isolated emotional duress.

Clearly the artistic fortitude of Rubin and Cash is a major reason why this works so well, but if every inter-genre cover turned out this well, it could be interpreted as a sign that the dawning of a new age of enlightenment were approaching. We're not there yet, unfortunately.

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