The YouTube channel Yaog operates primarily on two different questions: “Will It Sad?” or “Will It Happy?” The conceit is that the channel’s namesake host will reinterpret classic songs in a manner that subverts their initial intent, such as he did with the themes to Sesame Street and Super Mario Bros. It’s harmless fare, as experiments such as these tend to be, but his latest rendition shows that some songs were not meant to be messed with.
“When I first played back the first draft of this song, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe you’ve done this,’” he says at the outset of this video, wherein he attempts to add some pep to Johnny Cash’s ”Hurt,” itself a Nine Inch Nails cover. The result is heavy on jaunty piano plinks and an overload of glockenspiel; Yaog’s voice is eerily soulless, making the song’s refrain of “I will make you hurt” sound like something you’d hear floating over a mall’s food court.
This all stands in stark contrast to the ghost-giving death rattle of Cash’s vocals, which we’ve previously described as “a dying man’s profound existential reckoning.” Cash’s rendition of “Hurt” is such an intimate, revealing, and heartrending one that this feels more like blasphemy. Regardless, let’s all recover by listening this mournful piano cover of “Dammit” by Blink 182.