The song talks of heroin addiction and self-harm, but its meaning is not completely clear. Several versions of the song were released on the "Hurt" single.
Reznor's comments after seeing the video of the Cash version of his song were:
"I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure."
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