Cohen among many song writers lost after 2016

Leonard Cohen, one of the most influential poets and musicians, passed away on Nov. 7 last year. Cohen’s career started off by writing poems as well as novels, yet he didn’t establish a music career until he was 33 years old. A common theme in Cohen’s work is relationships, politics and religion. Just before he died, Cohen released his 14th studio album, “You Want It Darker.” The album was given four out of five stars by Rolling Stone. Here are some of Cohen’s most popular songs: 

“Suzanne,” one of Cohen’s most well known songs, was written in 1967 on his first album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen.” The song speaks of the solace found by the riverside as he speaks of his longtime relationship with Suzanne Verdal. The lyrics take you through the trust of sharing your mind with someone. It speaks of the sheer beauty in someone’s heart and getting lost while traveling with someone that’s close your heart. Cohen makes a religious reference as he compares Jesus to a broken sailor walking on the water and watching the seas from his wooden watch tower. Finally, as the two explore the city of Montreal, he sings of how she is the one who touched his soul instead of him touching hers. This song originated from a poem in Cohen’s book, “Parasites of Heaven.

“Hallelujah,” Cohen’s most popular song was made famous for being featured on the soundtracks of many popular films. This song illustrates having a failing faith while seeking proof of it’s foundation. The lyrics of the song talk about the overpowering feeling of love and lust. This song questions the difference between the holy and the broken. I interpret this song as a love ballad, making beauty out of the mess that can tangle you in the promises of “I love you,” and “you’ll always be mine.” If you listen to the song, you can hear the many different emotions that Cohen is referencing. Before this song was put on his album “Various Positions,” there were around 80 drafts of the song written before Cohen decided on the final ballad.

“You Want it Darker,” the title track off of his new album, is a song about religion, specifically the Jewish religion. The title of this song is fitting as this is one of the darker Leonard Cohen songs as he highlights aspects of his Jewish religion. There is plenty of religious references in this tune, as he says “magnified, sanctified, by thy holy name.” Leonard also pays his respects to the tragedy that was the Holocaust as he says, “a million candles burning for a love that never came.” This is one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs, as it shows the true emotion and effort that he puts into his craft.

“Dance Me to the End of Love” is one of Cohen’s more upbeat tunes. Usually his songs are crafted to channel darker and more melancholy emotions. This song is the telling of a romantic encounter of two strangers meeting for the first time, while dancing. The lyrics in this song paint the beautiful picture between two people moving to the graceful sounds of a violin while moving in relationship to the music. This song highlights the pros that Cohen feels comes with being in love. Cohen has learned a lot from his previous relationships, and this is portrayed in his music.

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