Review Summary: Cash forgive them, for they know not what they’ve done…
We often find ourselves in contrary or conflicting situations: positions where what is instinctive or natural lies in opposition to the requisite or satisfactory. Take our economic state for example. No matter where you may live on the face of our blessed earth, if you’re alive and reading this then you are aware of the current, global economic “crisis”. And in the face of economic crisis, instinctive is a desire to cut-back on spending and stash your cash in some sheltered safe. Yet what my country, (me judice) the greatest country on our green earth so necessitates is confidence and a willingness to spend and rejuvenate the economy. In this world of paradoxes yet another landed to our planet in the shape of this album, on January 27, 2009.
Johnny Cash Remixed
. The title alone is an awkward chore to read. Johnny Cash, arguably one of the greatest songwriters of all time, known for his natural, earthy sound, remixed. It reads like a sick joke. I laughed inwardly at the thought initially, imagining it would sound goofy or ridiculous. Surprise surprise, that’s exactly how it sounds.
The album kicks off with Philip Steir’s take on “Get Rhythm.” It features plenty of new instrumentation, including some slap bass and electronic drums, but emits an overall vibe of pointlessness. The record continues in that strange state of wonder: wonder that someone really worked on these tracks, and if you’ll ever consider replaying them. Then track four contributes a little electricity to the album. “I Walk the Line” is the first track that really slaps the listener upside the head. Featuring exec. producer Snoop Dogg vacuously spitting rhymes beside The Man, there is a tiny shred of potential for something uniquely special to be made. Historically it’s a sort-of remarkable pairing. Unfortunately, it is one of the weakest remixes on the album, with poorly placed snippets and harmonies, as well as lyrical shortcomings from Snoop.
Where the album suffers most is not unexpected. Johnny Cash remixes are a silly idea, and that factor promises to drown the record on hilarity alone. Yet there is more to this album’s failure then just its concept: brilliant artist choices like the Alabama 3 (who could forget them?), Brits responsible for the Soprano’s opening theme. Add a jocular version of “Leave That Junk Alone” to their glorious history, a track trashworthy at best. The best track here may be “Folsom Prison Blues”, credit of Ameican DJ Pete Rock. Still, it is hardly more then the original slapped with a new drum track, and has nothing on the original.
Commentary from the producers mentions the challenging story of creating this record with the “sensibility and technology of 2009” through carefully picked “custodians” desiring to uphold “Cash’s legacy.” Well it sure looks like they chose some custodians to do the job. It sounds as mundane and ridiculous as anything I’d expect from taking the most musically handicapped janitors I know and sticking them in a studio with protools and the original tracks. And I’m no Cash purist, but this is just brainless. It bears absolutely no replay value, and the novelty factor is lost by its idiocy. Cash forgive them, for they know not what they’ve done…