Sunday, November 22, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #49: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash

The art of the fan-made music video montage is a practice I've never been able to wrap my head around.  Search for virtually any well known song on YouTube, and more often than not you'll find multiple fan edited productions using that particular number.  I'm not talking about those that create a concept and shoot their own video for a song (for example, this fan made Death Cab video was so impressive that it became the official video).  I'm referring to the baffling practice of pairing a song with unrelated clips of television/movie/video game characters.  Looking for a Wheatus/Gossip Girl production?  Not anymore you're not!  Is Lady Gaga more entertaining when simultaneously watching some clown play The Sims?  Shockingly, no.  Have you spent time wistfully pining, "If only I could combine the awfulness of Godsmack with the awfulness of the Saw franchise!"  I'm delighted to inform you that your awful wish is granted.   And to tell you to think of better wishes.  (And as a bonus, it's a video camera recording of a TV playing Saw.  The triple crown of failure!) ***

Yet the most perplexing array of fan videos I've seen thus far center around Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around."

Are you the type of person that finds yourself thinking, "Wow, 'The Man Comes Around' is great.  It's hands down one of the best songs Johnny Cash wrote in the last thirty years of his life.  But I can't help but think that I'd enjoy much more if I could listen to it while viewing a compilation of society's greatest atrocities throughout history."   Well wonder no more, because people have heard your cries and responded accordingly.  In fact, you've got around a dozen such videos to choose from in the first few pages alone.

Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising, as Cash's song is an apocalyptic masterpiece, heavily referencing the Book of Revelation and telling us all to collectively shut it down.  That said, Cash is not standing on the street corner urging all to repent.  He's lyrically pretty matter-of-fact for a guy serving as the tour guide on the Armageddon express.  When you factor in the tempo, Cash is almost joyful about what's next to come.  For a guy who has always represented an unorthodox sense of authenticity, this shouldn't come as a surprise.  And I'm sure many of the YouTube uploaders were influenced by the presence of the song in the opening credits of the Dawn of the Dead remake, but Zack Snyder is a better editor than a kid with access to public-access war footage.  When serving as a soundtrack for atomic bombs on Hiroshima, or the World Trade Center coming down, it all seems...let's say borderline inappropriate.  And it's a tough transition going from this to "Cookie Monster sings Chocolate Rain." 

This German fan tribute is kinda creepy, like a weekend video project with the "Sprockets" crew.  But it features no explosions or war scenes, which I find shocking, with it being German and all. 

***I found this video by trying to take a shot in the dark of the worst band/movie combo.  This one popped to mind immediately.  I was not surprised to find a result.