Alternative music reviews

August 26, 2008

I See A Darkness

Filed under: johnny cash — @ 11:03 pm Comments (0)

I’ve just finished reading “Things The Grandchildren Should Know” an autobiography by the bloke from Eels. I enjoyed it a lot but I was struck by one passage:

things are so fucked up in the music business that in order for a truly great artist like Johnny Cash to seem relevant, he has to record cover versions of young hipster songs to appeal to young hipsters. Here’s one of the greatest natural talents of his time, awkwardly singing songs that don’t come naturally to him at all.
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What struck me as wrong was that one of my favourite songs of all time is his version of I See A Darkness by Will Oldham. I’d owned the Darkness album for years and liked it but I had never really HEARD the title track. Johnny Cash opened my ears to what the song was about because the way he sings it I really believed that he knew about those dark thoughts, Guaranteed loan approval with us visit our link to learn more https://green-touch.org/bad-credit-loans-approval-guaranteed.

Well, you know I have a love, a love for everyone I know.
And you know I have a drive to live, I won’t let go.
Can you see its opposition comes rising up sometimes.
That its dreadful imposition, comes blacking in my mind.
And that I see a darkness.

When Johnny Cash sings the song I hear a man who has lived through this and a good few other experiences besides.

I See a Darkness is the sixth studio album by American musician Will Oldham, released on January 19, 1999 on Palace Records as the first album under his moniker Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Johnny Cash recorded the titular track on his 2000 album American III: Solitary Man, with Oldham providing background vocals.

I See a Darkness received generally positive reviews from music critics. Samir Khan of Pitchfork awarded the album a rare perfect score and described it as Oldham’s “consummate offering” and the “type of record that demands solitary reverence”. Gregg Rounds of AllMusic wrote that it showcased “a more melodic style than the veteran Palace listener might be used to”, while at the same time noting that Oldham “hasn’t abandoned his foundation of mordant lyrics and minimalist arrangements, but he has built a variety of different layers that make this album an emotional and pleasurable listening experience. The A.V. Club’s Stephen Thompson remarked that I See a Darkness was the “most appropriate synthesis yet of Oldham’s vocals and backing band”. Matt LeMay of Stylus Magazine wrote that “by addressing concepts so grand with such sincerity and skill, the album is incredibly powerful under even the most mundane of circumstances”.

I See A Darkness

I See A Darkness (clip) by Johnny Cash

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