"Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails
In retrospect, I was probably too young to own this album when I did. It's one of the first CDs I ever bought with my own money. That money came from something of a scam, since my parents had agreed to pay me one dollar for every A I earned in school, possibly not realizing how easy school was for me at the time. I brought home every assignment I could to them so I could earn my dollar, and it didn't take long for those dollars to add up.
I was thirteen, maybe, and we were on vacation. Nine Inch Nails was a band I'd heard of, but never one I'd listened to. Although I don't remember what trip we were on or anything like that, I know my parents and I were at a mall in an f.y.e., and The Downward Spiral was only $9.99. I bought it mostly because I wanted to try something new. The music my parents listened to wasn't really doing it for me anymore, and going to a small Christian school didn't give me much of a music scene. So I grabbed this knowing next to nothing about it. The cashier seemed to think I was making a good decision, so I wasn't worried about it.
Honestly, though, I pretty much hated this album the first time I listened to it. I didn't get it. After a couple listen-throughs I just gave up and the CD settled to the bottom of my ever-growing stack of punk albums. Then in high school I went through a phase where I decimated my CD collection, selling everything I didn't listen to regularly enough back to our local f.y.e. (this store is playing a more prominent role in this entry than I anticipated). When I got to Nine Inch Nails, it had been so long since I heard it that I couldn't remember it at all, so I listened to it again. And what do you know, I liked it. It stayed.
Then something else happened.
Growing up with country music, I have a soft spot for Johnny Cash anyway, but there's no way you can listen to this version of "Hurt" without feeling something twist up in your gut.