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Leonard Cohen

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I can't believe one of the most eminent poets and lyricists of our age, Leonard Cohen, doesn't have a thread on LanaBoards! 

 

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Leonard Cohen (1934 - 2016) was a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist. Themes commonly explored throughout his work include faith and mortality, isolation and depression, betrayal and redemption, social and political conflict, and sexual and romantic love, desire, regret, and loss.

 

Known as a poet before he was a songwriter, Leonard Cohen touched the hearts of many people with his poetry and songs, including Lana, who wrote on an Instagram caption after his passing, 

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t kind of break my heart that I never got to tell you how much you changed me,” she wrote underneath. “Not that it would’ve mattered to ya, it’s just that other than Bob and Joan you were the only person I ever really felt spoke my language. I love you as a real fan and I always looked for a little bit of you in all of my future friends. God bless.”

 

She has referenced Leonard Cohen many times throughout her body of work. Also, she has sung a Leonard Cohen cover, "Chelsea Hotel #2," with Leonard's son, Adam Cohen. Iconic! 

 

Please post below about how Leonard Cohen's work has impacted your life, Leonard's inspiration that can be found in Lana's songs, and of course, your favourite songs, albums. etc. 


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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As for Lana referencing Leonard Cohen, here's a few I can think of: 

 

  • Most recently, in Kintsugi, the beautiful repeated lyric

    “That’s how the light shines in
    That’s how the light shines in
    That’s how the light gets in." 

    Is a reference to one of Leonard's most famous songs, Anthem, in which the lyrics go: 

    "Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in"

    Anthem is a stunning song that I recommend you all check out. It's one of the most beautiful sentiments I've ever heard of in my life and truly comforting. Many people have used the song to help cope with grief, which is what I suspect Lana was doing (as a Leonard fan) around the time the events in Kintsugi took place. Then, in her beautiful mind, she managed to turn the sentiment into her own metaphor and make it her own. 
     
  • In Mariners Apartment complex: 

    "You lose your way, just take my hand
    You're lost at sea, then I'll command your boat to me again
    Don't look too far, right where you are, that's where I am
    I'm your man"


    Is a reference to Leonard's song "I'm Your Man," which Lana subverts. Here's Leonards; 

    "If you want a partner, take my hand, or
    If you want to strike me down in anger
    Here I stand
    I'm your man."


    It's actually a fairly tragic song about love, telling how he will do anything his lover wants, even becoming a completely different person to suit her needs. Particularly notable of course is the common sentiment of "take my hand" as well as the phrase "I'm your man." Mariners Apartment Complex also reminds me a bit of the Leonard song "Suzanne," I can't quite put my finger on why though. 
     
  • Finally, on "Venice Bitch," Lana makes a subtle reference that I almost missed in the bridge; 

    "La-la-la-la-la-la, losers, beautiful losers" 

    Which references Leonard's book of the same name. It was his last book he published before he became a singer/songwriter. You can read more about Beautiful Losers here, it's interesting thinking about how it fits into the "feel" of Venice Bitch! 

Please let me know if I missed any and please contribute to this thread, Leonard really deserves it. :agree:


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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HOWW did this thread not exist already?? a crime is what it is 

 

my dad's been a fan of his for as long as i can remember, but it was Lana's cover of chelsea hotel #2 that really opened my eyes to his music

and now he's one of my all time faves <3


 

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You Want It Darker was such a masterpiece. The first album by him i've ever listened to only after his death. 

I wish i knew him sooner, my deadass even thought Chelsea Hotel was Lana's original back then :lange:


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Just now, luna de miel said:

HOWW did this thread not exist already?? a crime is what it is 

 

my dad's been a fan of his for as long as i can remember, but it was Lana's cover of chelsea hotel #2 that really opened my eyes to his music

and now he's one of my all time faves <3

 

I KNOW! I was introduced to Leonard through my parents too. My Mum would tell me that when she was younger, she had a terrible home life and she would spend all her time in the library reading his poetry books. She gifted me a few of his books and then I started listening to his music and immediately fell in love with the absolute beauty of his lyrics!! 


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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2 minutes ago, Cherry Blossom said:

Where to start with his music? Feel like his music is perfect for winter but don't know what to start with

 

1 minute ago, Surf Noir said:

definitely planning on discovering his discography one day! one of the many classic, iconic artists i need to get into :flutter: 

 

Leonard's music is definitely perfect for winter! I might start with Songs of Leonard Cohen (probably the most accessible and famous), then Songs of Love and Hate, then I'm Your Man, but it's so hard to pick. 


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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6 minutes ago, SalvaWHORE said:

You Want It Darker was such a masterpiece. The first album by him i've ever listened to only after his death. 

I wish i knew him sooner, my deadass even thought Chelsea Hotel was Lana's original back then :lange:

i played that on repeat for a few days

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21 minutes ago, SalvaWHORE said:

You Want It Darker was such a masterpiece. The first album by him i've ever listened to only after his death. 

I wish i knew him sooner, my deadass even thought Chelsea Hotel was Lana's original back then :lange:

 

It's such a stunning album, sparse and full of musings on death and God and faith. It's the perfect final album for a genius like Leonard Cohen :xcry:

 

When I first found out that Leonard Cohen passed, I absolutely sobbed (nearly) all day. It was like I was mourning a friend. 

 

If anyone wants to cry, then you should read about his relationship with one of his muses, Marianne. She died in 2016, and when Leonard found out she had only a few days left to live, her wrote her this letter: “Dear Marianne, I’m just a little behind you, close enough to take your hand. This old body has given up, just as yours has too. I’ve never forgotten your love and beauty. But you know that. I don’t have to say any more. Safe travels old friend. See you down the road. Endless love and gratitude. Your Leonard.” He died just a few months after her. 

I listened to this song, that he wrote to her back in 1967, and just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. 

 

 

Edit: Here's an interesting article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jun/30/leonard-cohen-marianne-ihlen-love-affair-of-a-lifetime-nick-broomfield-documentary-words-of-love

Edited by The Sun Also Rises

The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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16 minutes ago, Surf Noir said:

fun fact... during the lizzy grant era, somebody (i don't remember if it was somebody reviewing her music/live show, or somebody who knew her) described her as a mix between leonard cohen and marilyn monroe :flutter: 

 

Omg I still think that might be a perfect description for her honestly 

 

13 minutes ago, bluechemtrails said:

Hallelujah is one of the greatest songs ever written, and for that it will never be forgotten.

 

Absolutely. It's a lyrical masterpiece. It's probably in my top-5 all time favourite songs. Honestly aside from Jeff Buckley's I don't like the covers of Hallelujah very much as they don't quite capture the feeling of Leonard's lyrics, but it's ... urgh just too good. 

 

This verse!!

"Well, maybe there's a God above
As for me all I've ever learned from love
Is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
But it's not a crime that you're hear tonight
It's not some pilgrim who claims to have seen the Light
No, it's a cold and it's a very broken Hallelujah"

 

:cryney:

 

4 minutes ago, Embach said:

Live laugh love Leonard Cohen :pray2: He wrote one of my favorite songs of all time - Everybody Knows

 

That upbeat music and then .... those iconic, pessimistic lyrics :smile4:


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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I miss him so much.

My favorite album is New Skin for the Old Ceremony

 

"Is this what you wanted ?

To live in a house that is hauted

By the ghost

Of you and me ?"

 

"And who by fire, who by water

Who in the sunshine, who in the night time

Who by high ordeal, who by common trial

Who in your merry merry month of may

Who by very slow decay

And who shall I say is calling ?"

 

"And clenching your fist for the ones like us

Who are oppressed by the figures of beauty

You fixed yourself, you said, Well, never mind,

We are ugly but we have the music"

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Here's a few of my favourite Leonard live duets :aw: I love him singing solo (as originally sung), but I also love hearing him sing with other legends and greats. 

 

 

Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye has some of my favourite Leonard lyrics. Simple, but heartbreakingly beautiful. Like, 

"You know my love goes with you as your love stays with me
It's just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea"

 

and,

"I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
Yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you
But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie
Your eyes are soft with sorrow, hey, that's no way to say goodbye"
 

 

 

Probably my favourite Leonard Cohen song because of this verse, :xcry:
"And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone"

 

It's probably some of my favourite lyrics of all time 

 


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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7 minutes ago, Unidentified Major Tom said:

I miss him so much.

My favorite album is New Skin for the Old Ceremony

 

"Is this what you wanted ?

To live in a house that is hauted

By the ghost

Of you and me ?"

 

"And who by fire, who by water

Who in the sunshine, who in the night time

Who by high ordeal, who by common trial

Who in your merry merry month of may

Who by very slow decay

And who shall I say is calling ?"

 

"And clenching your fist for the ones like us

Who are oppressed by the figures of beauty

You fixed yourself, you said, Well, never mind,

We are ugly but we have the music"

 

I absolutely adore that album and those lyrics you chose ... :crying5:

I find myself singing Who By Fire to myself all the time. 

 

My favourite from the album is probably Who By Fire or Lover, Lover, Lover, it's heartbreakingly beautiful. Especially the live slightly slower version. I really relate to these lyrics, 

 

"I asked my father, I said, "Father, change my name
The one I'm using now, it's covered up with fear and filth and cowardice and shame""

 

His writing is so timeless, it will always be relevant. I miss him so much too. Like Lana said, he's a kindred soul who spoke my language 


The cicadas in the sunset are your guide

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