TUG of War – Battle #4

Which version of Hurt do you like more? Reznor’s or Cash’s? 

Justin: Here we go, three weeks later and I’m back to the moderator of a

TUG of War. Last week we had a head to head battle between Star Trek and Star Wars, the readers put their input in (alongside ours) and let’s take a look at the current standings:

Star Trek: 14

Star Wars: 13

This week I want to put two songs to the test. I’m sure most of you know the song ‘Hurt’. Johnny Cash’s cover of the song is absolutely phenomenal, but the thing is that a surprisingly large amount of people don’t know that the song is actually a cover. Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor) wrote and released this song on his album The Downward Spiral. Yeah! So I’m going to present to my fellow Gentlemen and our readers: which version of Hurt do you like more?

Figured I’ll be nice and include both of the versions.

Nine Inch Nails:

Johnny Cash:

Nathan: Two versions of one incredibly powerful song are up for debate today, both songs have their merits and both are slightly different from each other. They are both amazing, moving songs though, so there’s very little to be said about my choice for the winner of this battle but here I go. As a matter of fact this will probably be the least you’ve ever seen me say on this blog.

First off both Trent Reznor and Johnny Cash are great musician’s, I’m a fan of both Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash, they are both people I love and men I respect for their talents. Saying all that though, the choice is easy for me, my choice for this is Johnny Cash. My reason behind this choice is Cash’s version speaks more to me than Reznor’s, not so much in a way I can relate to but just in a way I understand. Cash’s wife had passed away just before this song had come out and it sounds to me that he’s talking about his wife being gone, his reason for living taken away from him, and being a massive Johnny Cash fan I saw the effect it had on him when his wife passed. “You can have it all, my empire of dirt” he doesn’t care about his possessions anymore because all he cares about is being back with his beloved. “If I could start again, a million miles away, I would keep myself, I would find…a way” he would try to prevent all the crap that he put his body through and the hardships that he put his wife through in their time together. Cash’s life wasn’t an easy one, he made a lot of poor choices and at times it was a miricle that he and June stayed together. This version of the song brings me close to tears every time I hear it, I don’t get emotional to much music that isn’t orchestrated but this song does that to me. That’s why my choice is Johnny Cash’s Hurt.

Erik: Oh boy, what a battle. An emotionally hard hitting song done done by two incredibly talented musicians. There is definitely no clear winner or loser in this battle. Both songs have incredible power and I am a fan of both Cash and Reznor; however, being a gentlemen it is my duty to pick between these two.

Cash’s version is truly moving. Whenever I here it I feel like I am in his head, looking back at a life of incredible adversity. The song is so suiting to Cash’s life and it feels very reflective. When music can move you like this song you truly have done something wonderful. This song is Cash’s epitaph and is so fitting for the life he lead and it is every bit as amazing as he is.

Unfortunately, as amazing as Cash’s version is it doesn’t speak to me as much. I feel like I am living everything through his mind when I hear the song. It takes me through an emotional journey, but I feel a slight disconnect as I am living it through someone else. Reznor’s version hits me every bit as hard as Cash’s, yet I feel as if I am the one experiencing all the pain and sense of loneliness. The eerily hollow sounds in the background of the song just make me feel entirely empty and at the very end of the song I feel like I have ended. The song ends in a suicide, but emotionally it feels like I have died as well. It’s just over. Ever so powerfully it hits me.

Reznor’s Hurt gets my vote.

Justin: This is a battle that I know, in the long run, I am going to lose. Most people I know prefer the Johnny Cash version. As I mentioned earlier, most people don’t even know that this is a cover. I however stand by the Nine Inch Nails version. Both of them are good songs, for completely different reasons. It’s truly a testament to the innovation and diversity of music that two men can make one song into two completely different and wonderful things.

The reason I have to choose Trent Reznor’s version is that, like anyone who is drawn to anything, it speaks to me more. The whole album that Hurt is originally from, The Downward Spiral, is about a guy who has a pretty shitty time and then ultimately he kills himself. BOOM. There’s Hurt, the closing song of the album that the entire thing is building to. The last hit of the song, the resounding crunch of the music that comes out of nowhere gets me every time. I get goosebumps and I feel good inside. Reznor’s voice and pacing in the song hits me hard too, I’ve always liked the slow and depressing and Reznor’s just resonates with me more. Not to say that Cash’s in comparison is a happy song, far from it. Once again I find this to just be a true example of how amazing this song actually is: two men brought out great things from one great song.

There we go! Another Battle all said and done. Reznor comes out on top, but you should definitely let us know what you think in the poll below!

Trent Reznor: 2

Johnny Cash: 1


2 thoughts on “TUG of War – Battle #4

  1. Its funny, I was originally going with the NIN version, and I hadn’t even considered how it perfectly capped off The Downward Spiral, but when it came down to listening to each song again, the emotional response was just stronger with Cash’s version. That’s really what swayed my decision on this one. Keep it up guys, you bring up very interesting topics in the TUG of War posts

    • Until I had read Justin’s point on here I didn’t know that Downward Spiral was a concept album, that’s now what I’m going to this weekend. Thanks for the comment and vote Drew, we’ll keep going as long as we have people coming to read us! -Nathan

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