How does one compose a visual accompaniment to a song that is the remembrance of a failure? This is the question director Michael Mihail had to grapple with and it seems he decided to go with slow motion. Lots and lots of slow motion.
In “Johnny Cash,” Yelawolf recalls bombing in front of an audience, using the chorus and some of the verses to hype himself up, in order to perform better the next time.
It’s not like Mihail could put him in front of an unresponsive audience, lest he risk doing a recreation of that famous scene in 8 Mile. He attempts to capture Yelawolf’s future self hyping up his past self instead, opting to follow him through a pre-show routine that is complete with a bit of singing to himself in the mirror, to create a sense of anticipation.
Almost every shot works here, except the one where he sits down to have a drink and a smoke. That look is too “leisure time after a successful show.” The choice to go with black and white is necessary. This video would be a joke if it were in color.