Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 100
    When a tune falls into the jurisdiction of the venerable country-folk troubadour, the accumulated details of any previous readings or associations are stripped away, and its core brilliantly revealed.
  2. Though the Man in Black has rarely sounded blacker, producer Rick Rubin frames that deep sea voice with harmonies and churchly organs, making for a dark angel beauty of an album that's austere but welcoming.
  3. "Solitary Man" may lack the immediate impact of its predecessors but is no less a masterpiece.
  4. 90
    Greying at the edges, its tremor more pronounced, his voice is sober, honest, defiant. And it turns rock songs into something that sounds as old as the hills.
  5. Though the covers on American III will attract the majority of listener attention, Cash’s own material steals the show.
  6. While some critics take issue with Rubin's underproduction, none of the songs on American III require ornate instrumentation. Whether they've been fluffed up or stripped raw, at the core of each is a compelling statement from one of our greatest humanists.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jul 26, 2012
    8
    Outside of Johnny Cash, I'm not really into Country Music , but I think he transcends the genre. His "American" project is a good test of the concept "Is it the song or the singer?". The argument being if a song is a classic, it's very hard to mess it up. Cash can never be accused of messing these up. In fact it could be argued he brings the quality some of these songs into sharp focus with stripped down versions, with all studio trickery and effects stripped away, often all your left with are the lyrics and the chords. Although I prefer American IV, American III is quite good overall. There are a few questionable inclusions here but the high points on this record are in my view, up with the high points of his career. His version of U2's "One" and Nick Caves "The Mercy Seat" are sublime. Full Review »
  2. Sep 19, 2011
    10
    An 8.3? An 8.3!? You'd think that Johnny Cash doing us a service by playing more of his music in his condition would merit some goddamn appreciation. Instead, all I see is a disappointing, suburban, uptight, **** of a douche score. Full Review »
  3. CabeM
    Jan 20, 2006
    10
    Johnny to me will always be my favorite country artist simply because of masterpieces like this. Hands down i give it a ten!