“People say my vision of the future is bleak. The future is here. I think the landscape that I describe in all the songs is here.” Leonard Cohen (1993)

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People say my vision of the future is bleak. The future is here. I think the landscape that I describe in all the songs is here. It is that landscape which provokes these cries. Those are not my personal politics, these are the kinds of cries that arise in response to the catastrophe in which we find ourselves. Human beings have always found themselves in a catastrophe. The human predicament is catastrophic, but these are the cries: ‘Give me back the Berlin Wall, give me Stalin and St. Paul…lie beside me baby, that’s an order’. This is the mind shattered by the predicament. So that mind which says ‘give me crack and anal sex’, also says ‘I’ll be loving you always’. In other words, all kinds of expression, irresponsible, shattered, broken, fragmented, passionate, indifferent; all these cries arise from this shattered heart, that is the heart that I confess I have, and in bars, guys occasionally confess they have.
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Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen…What’s Your Problem? Doom and Gloom by Patrick Humphries (Vox: February, 1993),

“The hook I came up with, the one I could get behind and sing in several hundred concerts, was, ‘I’ve seen the future baby, it is murder.’ That seems to be true.” Leonard Cohen

Huston: How do you think that’s going to affect the future, given the fact that we are panicked and that things seem to be closing in on us?

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This just may be each individual human’s translation of the certainty of their own death. I mean, things are closing in on us in a real way. I found when I was writing about the future, in a song called ‘The Future,’ I found that the hook I came up with, the one I could get behind and sing in several hundred concerts, was, ‘I’ve seen the future baby, it is murder.’ That seems to be true.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Interviewed by Anjelica Huston. Interview magazine: November, 1995. Accessed at Remembering Leonard Cohen by Anjelica Huston (Interview: Nov 11, 2016). Photography Dana Lixenberg. Originally posted May 18, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen & The Lip-synching Lennettes Are Back To The Future – Spanish TV 1993

This appears to be the 1993 iteration of the 1988 promotions Leonard Cohen made with backup singers, usually anonymous stand-ins, lip-synching his songs on TV in France, Germany, Belgium, and other European countries. Those 1988 versions can be viewed

Leonard Cohen – The Future
Spanish TV: 1993

Leonard Cohen: “[The Future] evokes a scene of the end of things”

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‘There’ll be the breaking of the Western code, I mean your private life will suddenly explode.’ That is the whole investment in private space that the West has painfully established over the centuries. That is specifically what is going to collapse. ‘There will be phantoms, there’ll be fires on the road’ – a return to suspicion, superstition, return to the tribal paranoia and the white man dancing. It evokes a scene of the end of things but with certain variations.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From TV Interview by Barbara Gowdy. Broadcast Nov 19, 1992 on TVOntario and published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, edited by Leanna Crouch (1994).

Leonard Cohen on The Future: “If I’d just nailed the lyrics of The Future to a church door in Wittenberg, it would be a heavy and foreboding and sinister document – but it’s married to a hot little dance track.”

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If I’d just nailed the lyrics of The Future to a church door in Wittenberg, it would be a heavy and foreboding and sinister document – but it’s married to a hot little dance track. So the music dissolves in the lyric and the lyric dissolves in the music, and you’re left with a kind of refreshment, a kind of oxygen.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993.  Originally posted Jan 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric