Recommendation XII: Johnny Cash

Again, I have returned after another semi-long absence. I do apologize for not blogging too much as I should be: I get way busy and since it is summer, I’m trying to spend my time exercising, being outside, and trying to find a job lol, and whenever I do come on here, I put off blogging since it takes over an hour just to set up the entries for me. Even though I’m posting this late in the day: Happy Father’s Day to all worthy fathers out there! This somewhat ties into my latest recommendation…

My twelth recommendation is: Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” from his 2002 American IV: The Man Comes Around album. I’m a pretty big Johnny Cash fan, but I pale in comparison to those who own so many of his albums and songs throughout his lifetime. What drew me to Johnny initially was his song, “Hurt”. I’d love to review that song too, since it is my favorite all-time Cash song, but I chose to do the above song instead. Anyway, I heard “Hurt” for the first time in a country music chat room (believe it or not) and his vocals were so dark and full of real-life pain and…hurt. I knew of Johnny Cash before that, but to be honest, like the fool I was at that time, I didn’t care much for the older singers. It was not until later, after Johnny’s death that I, like so many other people, really listened to and appreciated him and his music. I read lots and lots of things about what he had done in life: so many to list, and I won’t go into that, but he has led such an amazing life and I find his music to be quite unique and incredible compared to everybody else and he was a huge influence on many of my favorite artists. I consider him to be my favorite classic country music legend, or legend in any music in general, and I truly cannot say enough things about him. I really think, had I the chance to meet him when he was alive, we would have so much to talk about.

To start off, I now own about 37 songs of Johnny’s (including his duets/collaborations with June Carter Cash, Rosanne Cash, U2, Pam Tillis, and some others) and I certainly do need to own a lot more! haha. I’ve bought single songs off of iTunes and I also received his latest American album for my birthday back in March and I love them all, but I’ve found that I prefer more to listen to his more recent stuff since the ’80s than I do the older stuff. I don’t remember the first time I heard “The Man Comes Around”. I think it may have been when I was listening to clips of the album online after I heard “Hurt”, so this was probably during 2002 when he was still alive. I remember that I instantly liked “…Man…” and thought it was catchy and better than the other songs on the album. The instrumentation is so simple and led by acoustic guitar, with the same style and sound that was part of who he was and could have been released years before that time. Cash’s vocals were not at their strongest in his later life, but I totally think they fit the songs he sang perfectly and made his songs even more powerful and meaningful (thanks to Rick Rubin‘s crafty production). His throaty and scratchy voice fits the haunting message of the song and nobody could tell it better than a man who has lived a long life and knows what he’s talking about like Johnny. I love Johnny’s religious songs with messages and advice: “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”, “The Wanderer” (with U2), and “Keep Your Eyes On Jesus” (with Pam Tillis & the Jordanaires) immediately come to mind. Many people comment that God’s voice is probably a deep baritone like Johnny’s, and listening to these songs, it’s almost like God is speaking through Cash.

Since the song is about the end of the world and Revelations, and the events that will occur when Jesus finally comes back, it naturally is going to be dark and glorious at the same time. I love the Biblical references there are in the song (a more detailed analysis and explanation concerning that can be found here), but it’s also very scary and frightening to think of what is to come as outlined in the Book of Revelation. I fear for myself, my family, my relatives, my friends, and just everybody in general. I fear mostly for those who I know who do not believe in God/Jesus and push Him away. I’m definitely not a perfect Christian and I sin like everyone else and I really need to learn a whole lot more, so I still do fear a lot for myself as well. When I listen to this song, the hairs on my arm do stand up and though, I want to go to Heaven and be with God, I can’t help but wonder all sorts of things. I saw 28 Weeks Later at the movie theatre last month and oh, man, what a freaky movie! I know the “monsters” are not technically “zombies” (they’re rage-virus-infected humans), but could you imagine the world being like that? I’d say something of that sort could happen in the future. I think my connection with the movie and this song is because “…Man…” was put on the new movie version of Dawn of the Dead and it made the song even darker it seemed, and my sister to this day does not like listening to “…Man…” because she finds it too creepy haha. Anyway, that may sound extreme, but you just got to read the lyrics to this song, because they’re more than just a song. I hope that many people find Jesus and keep their eyes only on Him so they’re prepared for when He comes around because we don’t know when that day will come, but it will be soon.  So, yeah, there’s the Father’s Day connection to this song!…

Thanks for reading!

Buy the song here on iTunes now!

Here are the full lyrics to “The Man Comes Around”, written by Johnny Cash:

[Spoken]
And I heard as it were the noise of thunder
One of the four beasts saying “Come and see” and I saw
And behold a white horse…

[Sung]
There’s a man going around taking names
And He decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won’t be treated all the same
There will be a golden ladder reaching down
When the Man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up
At the terror in each sip and in each sup
Will you partake of that last offered cup?
Or disappear into the potter’s ground?
When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum
Voices calling, voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks

Till Armageddon, no Shalam, no Shalom
Then the father hen will call His chickens home
The wise man will bow down before the thrown
And at His feet, they’ll cast the golden crowns
When the Man comes around

Whoever is unjust, let him be unjust still
Whoever is righteous, let him be righteous still
Whoever is filthy, let him be filthy still
Listen to the words long written down
When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum
Voices calling, voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks

In measured hundred weight and penny pound
When the Man comes around.

[Spoken]
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was “Death”
And Hell followed with him…

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http://www.johnnycash.com

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1 Comment

  1. I absolutely love this song! Along with the things you’ve already said about it, I love the piano in it. I think it’s one of the things that makes it so “scarey.”


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