God's Gonna Cut You Down
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I Hate This Video
Not really; it's fantastic if you can appreciate the irony of a parade of self-important celebrities juxtaposed against the humbling lyrics. After all, God's been cutting down false idols since Exodus. The problem is, I can't imagine half of the celebs in this thing get the joke; rather, it's a posthumous opportunity to, um, cash in on Johnny Cash's authenticity and make up for all that's lacking in your own career. In gritty black-and-white for good measure, natch.
WWJD - What Would Johnny Do?
I am pleased at the provocation that the God’s Gonna Cut You Down video has stirred up. While people seem to generally love this song, they seem divided between love and hate for this video. For me this video works on three distinct levels. It works as a tribute to the most influential musician of the 20th century. These are artists in their own right and they represent not only a full spectrum of art forms and genres within them, but also a wide array of ages and races, showcasing that Johnny Cash's gift is timeless and for all people. Those who dismiss this video because of the inclusion of Kate Moss and Justin Timberlake must have watched the preview video and not the full video. It is a disservice to all of the other artists in this video to focus your aversion to only a few. I do not like or listen to pop music because it is not my cup of tea. However, it is a legitimate art form and Mr. Sexy Back is arguably the finest at his craft. His inclusion in the video suggests that there is something deeper to this young man than I have given him credit for. As for Kate Moss, she has her own assets. Besides, she has literally been in the arms of Johnny Cash (as the actress in the Delia's Gone video). Rather than question the motives of those who are in this video, I choose to let the tribute stand artist to artist. Secondly, this video succeeds at showcasing the best quality of Johnny Cash, the man. He was a man that in many ways lived his life nakedly. His rawness, nakedness of the soul and refusal to be boxed in are what makes his music timeless (especially the Rick Rubin sessions). Although Johnny’s image is noticeably absent in this video, I think his spirit is captured fully and completely in the conglomeration of artists assembled to pay tribute. The use of black and white film and the rawness and lack of glamour that these artists allow themselves to be subjected to is the very nakedness where Johnny’s spirit shines through. This is also where and how the artists connect to the deeper spiritual meaning of the song itself. The third area where this video succeeds is in refraining from canonizing this icon of our times. Johnny Cash sings this song by squarely pointing his finger inward at his own demons. These are ALL broken people in the video by design. That these artists, actors and musicians allow themselves to be portrayed as the broken people they are is no small miracle. In many ways it is a step toward their own redemption. Johnny would have loved every single person in this video and greeted them with warmth. That is the kind of man he was. Thank you Rick Rubin for allowing Johnny Cash to be an incarnation of Christ while he was still alive, for letting his redemptive message to be continued in his death, and for providing the wine (as in this video) to go with the meat of the conversations of Johnny’s music.
The Celebrities Belong There...
To people saying that Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, and the like have no right to be in this video: Those people seem to be what the song is about. In my opinion, this song says that no matter how famous or rich you are, everybody dies and is then judged on what they actually did with their life, not how much money you made, and any foul play will be revealed, "what's done in the darkness will come to the light". So it seems a host of celebrities is a fine fit for the meaning of this song, I don't know why people can't get over the thought that they are just "faking it" or "cashing in" without, possibly, listening to the actual song. Song is amazing, by the way.
Born: February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, AR
Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s
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||God's Gonna Cut You Down||American V: A Hundred Highways||2:38||$1.29||View In iTunes|
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- Released: Nov 14, 2006
- ℗ (P) 2006 American Recordings, LLC & The Island Def Jam Music Group