1)I Hung My Head by Johnny Cash
Sting's 1996 ballad, "I Hung My Head", masterfully tells the tale of a man resolved to die for a crime he didn't intentionally commit. The narrator has accidentally killed his fellow man and must come to terms with his guilt and face the consequences. All in all, this track had the makings of a classic. Sadly, Sting ruined this tune by accompanying the melancholy and repentant lyrics with a jazz organ and an upbeat voice, which is eerily reminiscent of mid-80's Springsteen.
Cash's take on this piece is a bit more somber. In being so, it evokes the perfect blend of mourning and optimism for the human spirit. Cash has always been known for his ability to take a song and make it his own. This is clear from a number of his renditions on his album, American IV- The Man Comes Around (2002), including "Hurt" and an amazing version of "In My Life".
2)Ain't Got No, I Got Life by Nina Simone (Groovefinder Remix)
If Simone's aim, musically, was to produce a glimmer of hope, Groovefinder's was to infuse enough cheer to reinvigorate those who have been downtrodden. With the addition of a brass section and an even speedier tempo, Groovefinder explodes this classic ditty.