Music To Teach With: Hurt, By Johnny Cash

Music To Teach With: Hurt, by Johnny Cash

by Terry Heick

Students love music. It’s naturally-engaging, and offers an accessible and authentic format to access ideas, draw standards-related teaching from, and otherwise teach and learning through. (Plus, if you’ve noticed how extraordinarily narrow most student’s playlists are, introducing a student to Janis Joplin may be the best thing you ever do for them.)

So we’re going to try to share a bit more of it around here, starting with a few posts like these to see how valuable you find it.

Suggest Content Areas: English Language Arts, Literature, Theology, Sociology

Suggested Grade Level: High School, University

Suggested Sample StandardCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).

Other Notes: This song is a cover by Cash, written by Trent Reznor of 9 Inch Nails fame. In the beginning, it has pretty clear imagery of drug use as the speaker in the song talks about pain, numbness, and addiction. Depending on your teaching, audience, and what your goals in using it were, that might make it unusable for you, or perfect.

Obviously you’d know better than me–by sharing it, I’m only saying the song has both meaning and potential for teaching and learning.

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

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

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liars 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

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

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

Music To Teach With: Hurt, By Johnny Cash

Leave a Reply