But no, Johnny Cash Remixed is nothing quite so earth shattering or notable. It's more like a small, remote geyser through which a little bit of hell bubbles up into our world. Don't get me wrong: I don't consider Cash's persona or his music sacrosanct, so I have no reservations about any artist wildly re-imagining or remixing his songs.
In fact, the Man in Black has become such a paragon of Americana ideals that a little pedestal wobbling could be more than welcome. We need a new way to look at Cash and his music, but Remixed isn't it. These artists are engaging more closely with the myth than with the music, which means this project, dubious even at conception, becomes just another needless attempt to argue for Cash's relevance.
Alabama 3 are the worst of the lot, continuing their streak of lame hick-hop gothicisms that started well before their overrated "Sopranos" theme. They rewrite "Leave That Junk Alone" as a startlingly obvious cautionary tale in which they play the junkies that saintly J. Never mind that Cash was never so saintly, that his own battles with that junk were more complicated than a standard recovery narrative would suggest, or that such ambiguity was key to his lasting appeal and moral authority.
Instead, Alabama 3 give an overly simple portrait of the man over tired beats, and it's not hard to imagine him rising from the grave to counsel them against creating such junk music. Not simply unnecessary or misguided, Johnny Cash Remixed actively degrades Cash's legacy by showing how silly he sounds in such a determinedly modern context.
And by "modern" I mean circa Midnight Juggernauts remix "Port of Lonely Hearts" with ethereal voices washing over the verses, and it might appeal to someone who still spins Play on a regular basis.
At least it doesn't sound like Voodoo Child: Cash's "Get Rhythm" is so peripheral to the big beats of Philip Steir's remake that you could conceivably insert any song-- "Umbrella", "Hey Ya! Hey, Philip! Get rhythm. Listening to it is like looking deep into the abyss and feeling only the coldness of cosmic solitude.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Country electronic hip hop rock. The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved December 7, The Independent. Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved December 21, Deusner, Stephen January 20, Pitchfork Media. Rolling Stone. Wenner Media.
The Scotsman. Johnston Press. June 14, The Skinny. Radge Media. Slant Magazine.