A good friend of mine actually said if Leonard Cohen started out today, he would be rapping.
I can’t understand half the songs in the centre which is supposed to be the pop world. Either they’ve moved into a new stage of cryptology that I’ve been unable to follow and penetrate or it’s just lazy or it’s gotten slack or people just aren’t workin’ hard enough on the craft. I don’t understand what they’re saying most of the time. A lot of the stuff is, I think, just… lazy; but, because of the social urgencies that produce rap — and because of the demands of rhyme and rhythm — you get coherent statements and you get the impression of a mind, of a mind that has formed and gathered around a topic and is ready to manifest it. Another thing is that we’ve had twenty years or so of dance music which I think we deserved because the self-indulgences of the sixties got pretty intense. I mean, there were few geniuses like Dylan or Phil Ochs who are writing great complex songs with lots of words in them. But, lots of people scrambled and scratched up the bandwagon and, you know, we got a kind of language in our popular music that was intolerable after a while. You really couldn’t figure out what they were saying. The stuff was so mystical, so obtuse, so arcane, so self-indulgent. People just got weary of listening and I think they wanted to start dancing. Well, we’ve been dancing for twenty years and I think everybody’s tired and they want to sit down again and I think that’s the way the pendulum swings. And we really want to figure out, now, what people are thinking about the way things are going.
From Leonard Cohen’s The Future Interview by Bob Mackowitz. Transcript from a radio special produced by Interviews Unlimited for Sony Music, 1992. The transcript was prepared by Judith Fitzgerald. Originally posted Jun 27, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric