American III: Solitary Man Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Summary: In his sixth decade of recording, Johnny Cash reunites with producer Rick Rubin for a third consecutive outing. Like its two predecessors, 'III' consists of a mix of Cash originals and covers, this time from the likes of Nick Cave ("The Mercy Seat"), Tom Petty ("I Won't Back Down"), and U2 ("One").
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. All in all, as resonant and dignified a covers album as you'll ever hear.
  5. If one wanted to quibble, one could say that the Cash-Rubin collaboration is starting to feel just a little formulaic.... yet Cash continually surprises with his ability to completely inhabit material by writers much younger than him.
  6. Mostly downbeat, the album feels, at times, as if it were created beneath a black cloud.
  7. Like Neil Young's Silver And Gold, it feels like a thematically empty, knockabout place-holder. American Recordings, one of Cash's towering classics, was all devotion and doubt, a brilliant, raw-boned meditation on redemption and death. A loose, flat set of odds and ends, Solitary Man is merely a minor but endearing record from a man who seems to know he's given more than enough.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. 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 goddamnAn 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. Expand
  2. 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!
  3. 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 theOutside 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. Collapse

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