Style: More stripped-down Cash Americana as filtered through Rick Rubin
Top tracks: "Ain't No Grave, "1 Corinthians 15:55"
Icons inevitably release posthumous albums (Cash has more than most). But this is one of the few that almost sounds—both lyrically and vocally—like it could have been recorded posthumously. In many ways it's American V Part 2; it's the result of the same vocal recording sessions just before Cash's 2003 death (and arranged later by producer Rick Rubin). And like that album it addresses death directly and repeatedly. But where earlier albums seemed to be goodbye letters, this one is more like a postcard from abroad, saying everything is great and reminding us he'll see us soon. The Cash-authored track ("1 Corinthians 15:55") isn't as strong as his other benedictions ("The Man Comes Around," "Like the 309") and "Cool Water" strangely omits the eschatological last verse. But the album avoids the karaoke excesses of some earlier "American" installments and sounds heartfelt start to finish.1
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