Michael Trent Reznor (born May 17, 1965), known professionally as Trent Reznor, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer.
As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Reznor is best known as the founder and principal songwriter of industrial rock project Nine Inch Nails. His first release under this pseudonym, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released eight studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.
Reznor struggled with depression, social anxiety disorder, and the death of his grandmother (who raised him). During this period of intense grief, he began abusing alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs. He eventually became addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He reached his darkest moment with substance abuse while touring in London for The Fragile when he mistakenly purchased china white heroine, which he believed to be cocaine; he consequently overdosed and was resuscitated at a local hospital.
The ballad Hurt is about addiction. Reznor sings with his beautiful baritone, he is calm, although I can hear a dose of resignation…The music of piano runs faster than emotions of performer. Vocalist`s voice catches up sound of instrument, and from the whisper changes into anguished scream. Scream of man in great despair, man who knows that he failed.
Personally for first time have heard this song sung by Johnny Cash and I was convinced that it was his piece of music. Cash is mainly known as country singer. This ballad was recorded by him at age 71, and he was already dying at that time. He is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and one of the best-selling music artist of all the time. He was also addicted to amphetamine. Especially during 50 years last century, amphetamine gave an illusion of power while he was performing many and long concerts. Cash himself was set free by religion and love of his wife.
His version of ballad is much more tender, or… weary? Probably this is the merit of the guitar. Cash`s voice is almost impassive. In his performance leading role plays precisely the guitar, which allow to flow the deepest emotions just from the bottom of the heart. In the end of the song appear the dark sounds of piano, almost brutal…When I listen to this ballad, I can hear confession of whole his life. Is there the repentance? Take a careful look at pictures at the end od the video-clip…they appear like painful flashes of memory from his life.
Both Reznor and Cash had given a lot of pain not only for themselves, but particularly for their closest people…
Whose version is better? I can`t hardly decide….