What does Hurt mean?

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Johnny Cash: Hurt Meaning

Song Released: 2003



Hurt Lyrics

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

[Chorus:]
What have I become
My sweetest...

  1. anonymous
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    Jan 28th 2009 report

    The point of it all is the tone..........it hurts, its sad, and he's coming to the end, but he would go back and do it all over simply to live his life. He would give it all up for more time, the chance to correct wrongs done in the past. But he can't. Its his empire of dirt.

  2. johnny_cash
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    Jan 18th 2009 report

    I hurt myself today (he has injected today)
    to see if I still feel (he can't feel anything without drugs)
    i focus on the pain
    the only thing that's real
    the needle tears a hole (he focuses on the pain of the entering needle -probably heroin- the pain is the only thing that feels real in his life now)
    the old familiar sting
    try to kill it all away
    but I remember everything (he feels the familiar sting of the needle as he injects and tries to kill all the bad memories and regrets in his life -probably including his addictions and the pain it caused him, his family and friends- but he can't forget and instead he remembers everything clearly)

    What have I become
    My sweetest friend
    Everyone I know goes away
    In the end
    And you could have it all
    My empire of dirt
    I will let you down
    I will make you hurt

    (he regrets what he has become -his sweetest friend could be his wife or even be heroin??- everyone he loved has deserted him and he is left with fame and fortune that is worth dirt. He regrets hurting the ones he loved)

    I wear this crown of thorns
    Upon my liar's chair
    Full of broken thoughts
    I cannot repair
    Beneath the stains of time
    The feelings disappear
    You are someone else
    I am still right here
    (the crown of fame and fortune is like a crown of thorns, hurtful not glamourous -interestingly, johnny cash initials are same as jesus christ- his throne was not real as he was an ordinary man not some kind of god. The stains of time are bad moments in the past that have changed his loved ones and driven them away from him, while he has always remained the same -although trapped in his addiction and career- lonely and alone)

    If I could start again
    A million miles away
    I would keep myself
    I would find a way

    (if he could have his life again, he would stay a million miles away from drugs and greed -regretting his choices in life)


    VERY SAD SONG JOHNNY, BUT YOU DID NOT DIE IN VAIN, YOUR MUSIC GAVE JOY TO SO MANY. YOU WERE ALONE BUT YOU WERE AND ALWAYS WILL BE LOVED. R.I.P.

  3. anonymous
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    Jan 3rd 2009 report

    I think that it is more then just drugs and all, you can interprt it anyway but everyone comes with something diffrent. The guy had a hard life, lost his brother had an asshole of a father became addicted to drugs failing marrage etc so maybe he thinks he failed some people along the way

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 16th 2008 report

    This is such a hauntingly beautiful/sad video of a man who is reflecting on his life and wishing he had made other choices. That he chose to cover a NIN song I am sure surprised those close to him - he shared in the drugs, it' repercussions, jail and the "hurt" that it's use does to those around you and yourself. If he had to do it all over again he would have saved himself, he'd a found a way....but then he would not have lived the tragedy that inspired him -RIP-Johnny.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 22nd 2008 report

    I don't think the song is about drugs, but rather self-mutilation, because those are the thoughts one goes through when hurting themselves. "Focus on the pain, etc."

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 28th 2008 report

    This is johnny at his lowest, he has had a roller coaster life, drugs and break ups and discovery of love and getting dumped by his record company....

    It's about him at his last months looking back soon after the death of his wife and the dwindling of his friends, he just doesn't want to go on anymore, simply this is his way of saying goodbye to his painful life, as it was not easy.

    he was truely a legend in his time!

    Rip big man

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 14th 2007 report

    I think it is so much painful stuff has happened he wanted to know if he was still living or at lest try to end it by drugs. He has lived for his fans but now its over it. It is talking about how he does for everyone else and now he thinks its his turn. People have betrayed him behind his back. He is would like to try to find away to keep him self sane thous meaning to do drugs.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. love_hate_tragedy
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    Mar 25th 2007 report

    It's about heroin! In the song it talks about a needle piercing his skin. Give it one more listen!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Nov 20th 2006 report

    pretty self explanatory.
    it was originally written by NiN songwriter Trent Reznor.
    it's about a man who lost himself and is looking shamefully back.
    Cash's version actually ahs a different connotation, it has an undertone of resentment about Cash's insubstantial relationship with his fans, and with his original record label (Columbia Records). The fact that they depict Cash in the video in nothing less than a throne, alone, at a feast, is just plain powerful.
    that's my two bits.

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