American IV: The Man Comes Around Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 40 Ratings

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  • Summary: Johnny Cash, still going strong at age 70, returns for a fourth album with producer Rick Rubin. Like the previous three pairings, this disc mixes Cash originals with unlikely covers, which this time out include Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," and Simon & Garfunkel'sJohnny Cash, still going strong at age 70, returns for a fourth album with producer Rick Rubin. Like the previous three pairings, this disc mixes Cash originals with unlikely covers, which this time out include Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Fiona Apple, Nick Cave, and Don Henley are among the guests. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. The selection here is at once so obvious and so inappropriate it feels redemptive.
  2. 90
    If this is to be Cash's last album, then what a magnificent way he has chosen to say goodbye. [Album of the Month, Dec 2002, p.100]
  3. Often thrilling, sometimes just interesting.
  4. Cash might surprise with his choice of covers, but in nearly all of his selections, he locates some personal meaning, or introduces new emotional elements.
  5. Cash's renditions are often breathtaking in their simplicity, but rarely do they justify their presence among a dozen other similarly afflicted songs.
  6. Cover versions that once seemed inspired now feel somewhat obligatory.
  7. His song selection has rarely made less sense.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. DylanB.
    Apr 4, 2008
    10
    Beautiful. One of the best albums I have ever bought.
  2. PG
    Nov 8, 2005
    10
    Very powerful. Hurt is just fantastic. I don't understand some of the negative professional reviews. My family just died. The last few Very powerful. Hurt is just fantastic. I don't understand some of the negative professional reviews. My family just died. The last few years visting in the nursing home were brutal. I think this album is as truthful as it gets. Expand
  3. Cheryl
    Feb 12, 2003
    10
    Once again Johnny Cash proves that he can do no wrong musically. My favorite track on the CD is "Hurt". I thought it was powerful done by Once again Johnny Cash proves that he can do no wrong musically. My favorite track on the CD is "Hurt". I thought it was powerful done by NIN, but Johnny Cash packs a lifetime of pain into the few minutes of this song - haunting and amazing! Expand
  4. brent
    Feb 26, 2006
    10
    I'm 40. The 70's raw reckless experimentalism is dead. The wonderful 80's started a new path of sound but was ultimately I'm 40. The 70's raw reckless experimentalism is dead. The wonderful 80's started a new path of sound but was ultimately killed by its record companies and resultant overkill redundancies. The ninieties stood as 10 long years of everything-you've-heard-before-rehashed and a decade of music that will be forgotten forever. This decade will be known as the one true decade of musical fusion. To wit: You get these really old crazy bastards who did their own thing year in and year out, regardless if they were fat or starving depending on the market. They just didn't care. They just wanted the hard career road of doing what they pleased. The ultimate F-You. Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and especially Lou Reed..but before you can count out the 4th commercial-free iconoclast, here comes Johnny Cash. He dropped off the radar before Rick Rubin groveled at him in '93. We are all lucky Rubin did. Who would of thought that Rubin's proposition to Cash would change everything? "I want to sign you to my label. You can sing anything you want, just you and your guitar." Good, God. And you are the luckiest man in the universe to have a monster like Cash look at you and say, "OK." American IV is a knowing swan song. Is every song about The End? Yes. He knew it. He burned a decade with Rubin showing he was the badass of badasses, but with IV, he sang it like it was his last. He said so in the liner notes. People will go on and on about the devastating version of a the devastating NIN song "Hurt," but for me the THINGS I KEEP COMING BACK TO ARE: Sting's straightforward "I Hung My Head," Cash's "The Man Comes Around," Cash' "Sam Hall, the Eagle's "Desperado", and the beautiful treatment of tear-jerker "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." I grew up with a dad and mom who loved Elvis, Neil Diamond, Waylon, Willie, and Johnny Cash. I did not get reintroduced 'til "Delia's Gone." in '93. I used to laugh uncomfortably when my uncle---a die hard Johnny fan--would say "a Dylan song? You're full of shit, Brent. That's a Johnny song." Now I understand. Expand
  5. EucciB
    Nov 6, 2002
    9
    For me, this album is made great by its bookends - "The Man Comes Around" original Cash opener, and "We'll Meet Again" as the closer. For me, this album is made great by its bookends - "The Man Comes Around" original Cash opener, and "We'll Meet Again" as the closer. Also enjoyable are "Streets of Laredo", "Desperado", and "Sam Hall". On first listens to this disk, I've tended to jump from track 1 to track 9, bypassing some of the more well known covers which - for the most part - are decently done. But it's as we hit "Sam Hall" and "Danny Boy" that the album really comes back to Cash territory. Expand
  6. BrianC
    Mar 29, 2006
    9
    From electrified to devestated to heartsick to tearstained, this album took me on a tour through my heart down the path less taken. I still From electrified to devestated to heartsick to tearstained, this album took me on a tour through my heart down the path less taken. I still come out of it crying, often without making it all the way through the album. The first time I encountered his cover- i was speechless, on the floor, in tears. The spirit of the original song became a counterpoint to a different side of my heart, and connected two different feelings. Though not the most artfully constructed album i have experienced, it remains a powerful work that moves me with terrible ease. That makes it great in my book. Expand
  7. CurtH
    May 10, 2003
    0
    This album makes my skin crawl! Our local public radio station, WDET, played it from start to finish. I listened in utter amazement that This album makes my skin crawl! Our local public radio station, WDET, played it from start to finish. I listened in utter amazement that something so horrible would be played on such a normally intuitive radio station. I see, I am in the minority here, but listen to the album! I subject my wife to a lot of hard-to-warm-up-to musicians, Dylan, Chris Smither, Lead Belly, Tom Waits, etc, but even I cannot swallow this! Ugh! Expand

See all 24 User Reviews