December 8, 2007

American Recordings: Not Good, But Good For You

I tried to listen to Radio for this blog. I really did. Couldn't make it through the album. And the overplay of "Under the Bridge" ruined BSSM for me for all time. So I'll just talk about Johnny Cash, whom I came to like, along with the masses, when the movie came out. American Recordings has no business on the top 500 list. It's flat, it's depressing, it's not remotely JC's best stuff. Other than his rendition of Leonard Cohen's Bird on a Wire --which is actually a perfect match for Johnny in terms of what he had the range to cover-- this album has few redeeming qualities. I really don't see the attraction to it.

I think it's inclusion on the list is really just the result of the desire for the list to have broad horizons beyond straight rock. In that way it reminds me of when People puts out its 50 Most Beautiful People issue and there are random 70 year-old National Geographic photographers who nobody has ever heard of on it. Or Helen Mirren.

Sure they're good looking for 70 year-olds but everyone knows they really have no place on a list of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. People is just trying to be broadly inclusive because a list of the actual 50 most beautiful hot actresses, singers and athletes all under the age of 45 would be monotonous. I feel like Rolling Stone is just overreaching to say, "See, we're not just about rock and roll. We dig Johnny Cash's late stuff."

Or maybe AR is on the list just out of the desire of the compilers of the list to fellate Rick Rubin.


LenBarker said...
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Eurowags said...

AngryYoungMan, I think several of us share your general sentiment in rejecting this album. I particularly like your comparisons and your critical view of why RS included this album instead of his previous work. Indeed, Cash became hip in the 90s as many mainstream artists seemingly discovered or rediscovered him as a great influence in rock, something that had already been evident long before Cash's association with Rubin. So, RS, which has for a long time been behind the curve on new music, naturally tries to be hip and speak to the new generation of Cash fans who first heard of him through his covers of Danzig, Reznor and the rest.