Leonard Cohen Explains Love Song Intent To CBC

Cindy Buissaillon: “I’m Your Man”, it strikes me, I mean, yes feminists have given you a lot of flack, but to have such a man singing that song, it seems to me, is to be a fortunate woman. This is a woman who is allowed absolute freedom. This is a troubadour of the nineties singing to her, so it strikes me.

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Well, I certainly meant it that way, I didn’t write a love song to turn anybody off.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, being interviewed by Cindy Buissaillon on CBC Radio (August 26, 1995). Note: Originally posted April 10, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I used to write poems to court ladies. But…the area of your courting gets wider and wider and you end up trying to court the universe” Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s Poems Court The Universe by Mary Campbell (AP: 1968). Note: Originally posted February 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen: What It Means To Be “Back On Boogie Street”

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I think it just means acceptance of the normal rules of a person’s life in which there is desire, work, mistakes … blessings.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

“Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc” by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001). Note: Originally posted Feb 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on the meaning of “the breaking of the ancient Western code”in The Future

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I think I meant the end of privacy as it developed in the West, which was the real feature of our civilization. The notion that there was private space, which wasn’t really terribly available in the world until we in the West started establishing private rooms and studies and walls. So I think I felt at a certain point that this was beginning to reverse itself with a very potent mass culture. This notion of a private space in which to develop certain ideas and cultivate certain aspects of the psyche. I felt that was disappearing, and that we were moving into a kind of mass mind. That’s why I think the notion of being able to shut one’s door and find that place is becoming more and more urgent. You just need to turn things off. And it’s harder and harder to turn them off with every story that’s going on, with every story being decided by all of us to be worth listening to. It’s not just like the media is some special reserve of individuals who are deciding. All of us are cooperating in these decisions that it’s going to be O.J. or Chandra Levy, or whatever the going preoccupation is. We all cooperate in that decision, and it becomes pervasive and inescapable. It becomes part of your mind. The notion that began in the Bible with cities of sanctuary, where you could go to escape the general mechanism of the situation, those spaces are dissolving. And it produces a sense of breakdown in the psyche. You get the kind of chaos and meaninglessness and data that can’t be distributed along the lines. It can’t be deployed usefully, and it becomes overwhelming.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001.

Leonard Cohen on writing songs that “deal with a moral crisis”

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My tunes often deal with a moral crisis. I often feel myself a part of such a crisis and try to relate it in song. There’s a line in a poem I wrote that sums this up perfectly: ‘My betrayals are so fresh they still come with explanations.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik. Melody Maker:1 March 1975. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles

Leonard Cohen on Juggling, Making Shoes, & Writing Suzanne

In the early days, did a song such as “Suzanne” come easy to you?

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No, no, I worked months and months on ‘Suzanne.’ It’s just a matter of intensity. I was still able to juggle stuff: a life, a woman, a dream, other ambitions, other tangents. At a certain point I realized I only had one ball in my hand, and that was The Song. Everything else had been wrecked or compromised and I couldn’t go back, and I was a one-ball juggler. I’d do incredible things with that ball to justify the absurdity of the presentation.

Because what are you going to do with that ball? You don’t have three anymore. You’ve just got one. And maybe only one arm. What are you going to do? You can flip it off your wrist, or bounce it off your head. You have to come up with some pretty good moves. You have to learn them from scratch. And that’s what I learned, that you have to learn them from scratch.

There is some continuity between ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Waiting for A Miracle’ [sic]. Of course there is; it’s the same guy. Maybe it’s like you lose your arm, you’re a shoemaker. You’re a pretty good shoemaker, maybe not the best but one of the top ten. You lose your arm and nobody knows. All they know is that your shoes keep on being pretty good. But in your workshop, you’re holding onto the edge of the shoe with your teeth, you’re holding it down and hammering with your other hand. It’s quite an acrobatic presentation to get that shoe together. It may be the same shoe, it’s just a lot harder to come by and you don’t want to complain about it.

So maybe that’s all that happened, is that I got wiped out in some kind of way and that just meant that I had to work harder to get the same results. I don’t have any estimation or evaluation. I just know that the work got really hard.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From a 1992 interview with Leonard Cohen published in Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo. Da Capo Press: 1997