Jimmy Barnes: 'Hurt' for The Buttery
Jimmy Barnes recorded the Nine Inch Nails song 'Hurt' for an album titled Caution: Life Ahead! Artists for Recovery. The album was to raise funds for The Buttery, a treatment facility for people seeking recovery from addiction.
'Hurt', written by Trent Reznor of NIN, was famously recorded by legendary country singer Johnny Cash in 2002, winning the Country Music Association award for Single of the Year in 2003. As with any cover version, the artist brings something of themselves to the song they're recording. 'Hurt' was a natural choice for Jimmy, given his own battles with addiction.
The lyrics in their entirety are a tale of self-realisation and the consequences of addiction. Following the introductory melody, a heartbeat-like drum line kicks in with a very sparse guitar. Jimmy's singing is not his usual style; his breathy, almost-spoken word delivery draws us into the despairing lyrics. His singing remains low-key and bleak for much of the song.
It's only towards the end of the song that the familiar Jimmy Barnes growl returns. The song ends quietly with Jimmy, in a barely audible voice, repeating the spoken line 'It's the only thing that's real'. With this haunting version of 'Hurt', Jimmy has recorded a unique, rather than derivative, interpretation of the song.