Musicians are marked, measured and branded by the material they produce, and often how it pertains to their own life. Particularly, in the case of country and rock & roll icon, Johnny Cash, all eyes locked in on his American recordings. These albums were recorded as his health steadily declined, signifying his musical end, if not physical death, was looming. Therefore, when his album American IV: The Man Comes Around was released in 2002, it was clear Cash was reflecting back on his career. Upon analysis of this album, it is evident that Cash had wanted to create a lasting impression with his music. What he had recorded proved to be extremely telling as Cash died months after the album’s release. The album consists of three Cash originals from different points in his career, and twelve covers of songs that span the decades and various genres. It is through this track listing that Cash created a clear reflection of his life, a musical memoir of his past.
Bonsal, Amy, "American IV: The Man Comes Around as a Musical Memoir" (2014). Undergraduate Research. Paper 10.