God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash Lyrics Meaning – Unveiling The Stark Truths Behind The Man In Black’s Warning


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Johnny Cash's God's Gonna Cut You Down at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down

Well my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head’s been wet with the midnight dew
I’ve been down on bended knee talkin’ to the man from Galilee
He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of the angel’s feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, “John, go do my will”

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Well, you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down

Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down

Full Lyrics

Johnny Cash’s gravelly baritone has often been the vessel for tales of sorrow, redemption, and the occasional jaunt through the darker corridors of the human experience. ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ adds a stark chapter to this musical odyssey with its thundering message and stripped-back production that lays bare the reckoning awaiting the sinister and the sly. This spiritual-turned-anthem carries more than just a biblical warning; it encapsulates Cash’s own wrestle with mortality and morality.

This song finds Cash at the twilight of his life and career, reflecting a palpable intimacy with the themes of justice and retribution. An unflinching look at the inevitability of consequences, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ is as much a sermon as it is a confession, a testament to Cash’s unwavering gaze into the abyss of human frailty. Let’s explore the multi-layered meaning etched within the lines of this haunting piece, discovering how the Man in Black translates an age-old message for a modern audience.

A Foreboding Omen for the Wicked: Johnny’s Memento Mori

On the surface, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ serves as a moral reminder, echoing the ancient biblical sentiment that no sin goes unseen. Cash’s rendition of this traditional folk song is laced with both menace and majesty, using its repetitive rhythm to hammer home the song’s ominous warning. The persona of the Man in Black seems to be the ideal harbinger for such news, one who has walked through fire and brimstone only to deliver a distilled truth.

The song stipulates no specifics about the nature of the wrongdoing it addresses, encompassing liars, cheaters, and betrayers alike. In Cash’s gritty vocals, there’s the understanding that, regardless of one’s station or successes, the ultimate judgment is inescapable, an idea that binds humanity in its shared destiny.

Whispers in the Dark: The Song’s Hidden Layers of Redemption

While it might be tempting to read ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ solely as a cautionary tale, it subtly sings the possibility of redemption. In referencing the ‘midnight dew’ and his dialogue with divine inspiration, Cash touches on the theme of personal reckoning preceding divine judgment. There’s an intimate familiarity with repentance in his words, an undercurrent that suggests the possibility of salvation even for those who’ve strayed.

Cash himself was no stranger to the concept of redemption, his life being a tumultuous journey through addiction and recovery, sin and penance. By framing the song as a narrative he’s part of, Cash molds ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ into an autobiographical chapter, reminding listeners of the redemptive nature of contrition, even as the axe looms.

The Inescapable White Light: Memorable Lines That Haunt and Heal

The stark duality, ‘But as sure as God made black and white / What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light’, captures an essential truth in stark simplicity. It’s a couplet that resonates long after the song fades, reaffirming the belief that no misdeed remains forever obscured. Cash’s emphasis on this line underscores the inevitability of truth’s emergence and, with it, the hope for moral clarity in a complex world.

It’s this recognition that imbues the song with its paradoxical capacity to haunt and yet heal. Audiences are left to deliberate their actions and those of others, understanding that transgressions are not without a shelf-life and that the light awaits to unfurl secrets kept in the dark.

The Beat of Judgment’s Drums: How Rhythm Drives the Message

The song’s tempo is no mere backdrop; it’s a pulse that conveys urgency. The rhythm in ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ is almost funereal, yet spry enough to evoke the sensation of an unstoppable force – a ticking clock or a relentless march. The cadence of each ‘run on for a long time’ feels like a countdown, each note drawing the listener closer to the reckoning.

This rhythmic approach not only echoes the footsteps of the damned but innovatively mirrors the listener’s heartbeat. Each beat, each stanza, feels personal – as if Johnny Cash weren’t just singing about the universal fate but also narrating the story of every soul that pauses to listen.

The Lasting Echo of Cash’s Caution: Why This Song Endures

There’s a timeless quality to ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ that cements its place in both music history and popular culture. It’s a song that transcends the confines of its genre, speaking to the collective consciousness with unfading relevance. From grassroots activists to political rallies, the song has been appropriated and interpreted across contexts, suggesting its message is not only perennial but adaptable.

Ultimately, it is Cash’s authenticity, the way he’s lived the stories he sings, that lends such weight to this number. His life’s narrative validates his warnings, his pleas, and his prophecies. As long as there are people who seek truth in music, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ will continue to resonate – a sober reminder wrapped in a melody that will endure for generations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...