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American IV: The Man Comes Around

Country, Folk, and Miscellaneous album by Johnny Cash

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Perhaps His Best Work

  • Apr 13, 2005
Rating:
+5
Johnny Cash is a legend. I don't think there will be many arguments about that. What's amazing about him and, perhaps, what solidifies his legend, is the fact that his last four albums were probably his greatest work ever. He left this world on top, which is something few recording artists can say.

"The Man Comes Around" is as haunting as it is beautiful. It is an album full of love, hate, depression, and perserverance. It can be scary or it can be uplifting. It's a masterpiece.

I know I'm gloating over this album, but few recordings, even Christian ones, have moved me like this album. What's even more amazing is that Cash covers songs by unique artists such as Trent Reznor, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Sting. You wouldn't think a simple "Country" singer would have the guts to tackle songs by such varied artists, but Cash did, and he made each song his own. As a matter of fact, he has elevated his status well above those covered on this album.

The album starts off with Johnny Cash quoting the book of Revelations. I don't care if you are a Christian, Athiest, Buddhist, etc., if you have read any part of Revelations, you know that it is one of the scariest things you can read. It sets the eerie, prophetic tone of the entire album. The reading blurs into the title track and poses the question, "Will you be ready when the man comes around?" From that, we go into the darkest recesses of depression with songs like "Hurt," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "I Hung My Head." Scattered between are bits like "Personal Jesus" and "Danny Boy," songs that shouldn't be on the same album but work here due to Cash's mastery of his art.

Johnny Cash isn't the greatest vocalist around, but his voice speaks volumes and is ten times as good as any cookie-cutter country artist these days. He's real, and that's as honest as you can get.

Buy this album. Don't ask questions, just buy it.

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More American IV: The Man Comes Aro... reviews
review by . November 21, 2009
There's very little doubt in my mind that "American IV: The Man Comes Around" is a great work, and like a lot of great art, it asks more questions than it answers. That's also true of Johnny Cash. Does that make him a great man?    It seems likely - I can't think of many other artists in any style who wrote one of their best works at such an advanced age, but that's exactly what Cash did with the title tune, "The Man Comes Around". This song sets the tone in a lot of ways for …
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Kendall Fontenot ()
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Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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On first thought, the idea of the Man in Black recording such covers as "Bridge over Troubled Water," "Danny Boy," and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" might seem odd, even for an artist who's been able to put his personal stamp on just about everything. ButAmerican IV: The Man Comes Around, which also draws on Cash's original songs as well as those byNine Inch Nails("Hurt"),Sting("I Hung My Head"), andDepeche Mode("Personal Jesus"), may be one of the most autobiographical albums of the 70-year-old singer-songwriter's career. Nearly every tune seems chosen to afford the ailing giant of popular music a chance to reflect on his life, and look ahead to what's around the corner. From the opening track--Cash's own "The Man Comes Around," filled with frightening images of Armageddon--the album, produced by Rick Rubin, advances a quiet power and pathos, built around spare arrangements and unflinching honesty in performance and subject. In 15 songs, Cash moves through dark, haunted meditations on death and destruction, poignant farewells, testaments to everlasting love, and hopeful salutes to redemption. He sounds as if he means every word, his baritone-bass, frequently frayed and ravaged, taking on a weary beauty. By the time he gets to theBeatles' "In My Life," you'll very nearly cry. Go ahead. He sounds as if he's about to, too. Unforgettable.--Alanna Nash
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Label: Lost Highway
Artist: Johnny Cash
Release Date: November 5, 2002

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"Perhaps His Best Work"
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