1988: “There are some songs I just can’t get behind.”
Do you always know what your songs are about?
There’s a lot of songs that lose their meaning, you forget. I’m finding that out now, rehearsing the band. There are some songs I just can’t get behind. Some are surprising me, songs I really thought I could sing, like ‘Bird On a Wire.’ I’m not sure it’s necessary to say, ‘I swear by this song and by all I’ve done wrong that I will make it all up to thee.’ Either I’ve done that, or there’s no point in making that promise again if I haven’t. It’s very hard to get behind certain lines. The new songs I’m not having any trouble with.
Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988.
2009: “I’m feeling much friendlier to my earliest work than I ever did.”
I find I’m feeling much friendlier to my earliest work than I ever did. There was a certain time when I knew that the audience wanted to hear ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,’ but I didn’t want to play [them]. Now I really do.
Leonard Cohen reborn in the U.S.A. by Geoff Boucher at Pop & Hiss, the L.A. Times music blog: February 27, 2009.