Trent Reznor on “The Downward Spiral”: “It still excites me”

Trent Reznor Was 'Stranged' When Johnny Cash Reread 'Hurt'

In a new interview, Trent Reznor talked about his first reaction to Johnny Cash's cover of one of his Nine Inch Nails' signature songs, “Hurt.”

The song, originally released as a single by Reznor and associates in 1995 as an extract from the second studio album “The downward spiral“, was revived by the “Man in Black” in his style for the 2002 covers album, “American IV: the man comes around”, the fourth installment of the “American Recordings” series produced by Rick Rubin.

Recently interviewed by the US edition of “GQ”, Trent Reznor explained That “It was weird” for him to hear Cash's cover and that at the beginning he couldn't process it correctly, also because he received it while he was halfway through making the album “The fragile” by NIN in 1999.

“Producer Rick Rubin, being a friend, called me and asked, 'Would you mind if we tried to cover this song?'” the 58-year-old musician recalled, as transcribed by “Louder.” He continued: “I said, 'Of course not!' It seemed strange to me and I thought that they would probably do a hundred other songs. Some time later, I then received the recording and it seemed strange to me, because that's my song! That big voice in there, it seemed strange.”

He added: “I remember being in the middle of 'The Fragile' when I first heard it and thinking, 'I'm not ready to process what this is about right now. Great?'”

However, the video for the cover, directed by Mark Romanek, helped Reznor appreciate Cash's version of the song: “The thought: 'Here something I wrote with deep intimacyand it's connected to someone else with an extraordinary personality strangely becoming one epitaph for his life with the video shot by one of the greatest directors ever presented in such a beautiful way', it reminds you of the power of music and how important it is“, commented the Nine Inch Nails frontman.

Johnny Cash passed away on September 12, 2003, at the age of 71, a few months after his cover of “Hurt” was released as a single.

Together with Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor recently worked on the soundtrack for the new film by Luca Guadagnino, “Challengers”, which will be released in Italian cinemas on 24 April 2024.