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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Psychoanalyze Me

I was listening today to a three cd compilation set of Johnny Cash's music entitled Love, God, and Murder. By far and without qualification, the Murder cd is the one I like best. And it is not even close.

Psychoanalyze that.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Psychoanalysis is best left to the professionals. The damage that we do to each other with pop psychology is likely incalculable. ;-)

Perhaps, as a simple personality quirk, you merely like to hear songs about violence and judgement sung to you in a fine bass voice.

But then, there's a scene in Walk the Line when Cash is supposedly first auditioning at Sun Records. After he and his band sing their first song, the auditioner says something along the lines of, "you don't really believe that crap. Let me put it to you this way: say you've just been hit by a car and you're laying in a ditch dying and about to meet your maker. What do you really want to say?" At this point, Cash launches into Folsom Prison Blues, and the rest is history.

I don't know if this scene was just a dramatization for the movie or was drawn from an actual event in his life, but Johnny Cash had a lot of pain and darkness in his soul (he'd be the first one to admit it) and this poignancy was best reflected in his more negative songs. I guess you might say his "murder" songs are his most (and I hestate to use this term because it's a buzz-word, and I am unfamiliar with all of its connotations)"authentic" songs, and it could be that you are resonating more intensely to this "authenticity."

I like Johnny Cash because I believe he tried to face his demons in his songs. He did not lie and say that this darkness wasn't there. He admitted to it, and admitting that there are problems is the first step to trying to move on. I don't know if he could have verbalized it as such, but Cash thoroughly understood Nietzsche's Apollonian/Dionysian duality (or, at least, he certainly identified with the Dionysian aspects of the human experience).

Anyway, Long Black Veil is one of the best songs ever, so it's not like you've been wasting your time listening to garbage. ;-)