What’s great about the best folk and country music is the clarity, the removal of anything extraneous from the point. And listening to I’m Your Man, I hear that in your own writing again, those succinct narrative and musical qualities.
That’s what I’ve been working on for the last few years. I think The Book of Mercy was the final statement of the mystical, religious being. I don’t have to talk about religion anymore – it’s gone underground. I don’t think popular music is a good place to explore a lot of those ideas. The song that is going to survive in this landscape today has got to have a certain kind of power, of strength. You don’t put your philosopher at the head of the army. This is a time for a very strategic position – to the marketplace, and to the whole psychic landscape. Muscle is indicated, a kind of phalanx. A lot of other things have to be put behind the front line. If your heart has really been threatened with cynicism – one’s own, I’m talking about, not CBS’, [laughter] with the greed, the skepticism, the general devaluation of all spiritual currency that faces us today, a position has to be taken that is appropriate in the face of this real assault.
Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988.