When it comes to giving a different spin on a song, the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt is particularly tricky. It’s not so much because the track itself is an acoustic piece of alt rock, but because as covers go, it’s difficult to beat the version recorded by Johnny Cash. Close to death and his last ever recording, it’s a track that holds a special place for many, so it certainly isn’t the first thing you’d think to cover when making a trance record. If you know the history of the track, you have second thoughts about hitting play for the first time on this, but it soon becomes clear that it’s been done very, very well.
US producer Eco has somehow taken the essence of an acoustic song and applied it to a progressive trance record complete with female vocals. If you’re asking how, it’s all about keeping things understated, just like the previous versions. It moves along at a decent pace but there’s no frantic builds or massive drops. The vocal, courtesy of Carly Burns, feels meaningful and is well performed, again with no wild inflections. Obviously a trance version isn’t going to have quite the same feeling as an acoustic track, but it’s a great example of what trance can achieve. There’s energy, it could certainly work in a club and has already been doing the rounds, but you don’t lose the the feeling that an excellent piece of songwriting lies at the centre.
Hurt is out now on Enhanced Recordings. It was a brave move by Eco to attempt this, but it works perfectly and is an ideal example of how dance music isn’t all about the beat and can be just as meaningful as any other genre.