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

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

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

I See A Darkness (clip) by Johnny Cash