The "Dear Heather" Divide

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
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Manna
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The "Dear Heather" Divide

Postby Manna » Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:03 am

I've seen a number of posts on the forum in otherwise unrelated threads where folks have said they either like or don't like the title cut of The Amazing Dude's latest album. If a thread like this already exists somewhere, my apologies. I'm just too lazy, as a newcomer, to go searching them all out. I am interested in people's reasons for either liking or disliking this cut. Here are mine:

I don't care for it, personally. I think it works as a poem, but I don't think it works as a song. Why is he spelling? I don't need that. But just as a poem, I think it has some simple beauty as well as complexities that can be analyzed, explored and poeticized if one is so inclined. Of course, I'm willing to allow that I'm not getting something in the spelling-it-all-out song version. But until I am further educated regarding the reasons for this, I prefer it as a simple poem. Thoughts?

Dear Heather
Please walk by me again
With a drink in your hand
And your legs all white
From the winter
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:10 am

Hi Manna ~

It really has been discussed elsewhere, somewhat lengthily, as I recall, and with somewhat of a rabidity in some cases... one of those "you either like it or you don't" polarizations. Unfortunately :lol: , I can't tell you where to find this discussion, beyond checking the Dear Heather threads.

Briefly, as I'm too busy with other tasks waiting, to go hunt, I can tell you I like its presentation, as it feels, amongst others things, very playful and merry-go-round like. I love the spelling and the overlays of it. It's, overall, such a departure of what one might expect from "a Leonard Cohen song" :lol: that I love it for that, as well. It's fun for me, even though one might say I'm easily amused... which wouldn't be altogether wrong, either :wink: .


~ Lizzy
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Manna
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Postby Manna » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:29 am

Oh. I see. Maybe I should delete this and go looking for past threads.

I can see your point about it being fun. Maybe I should give it another try. I want to like things, just sometimes it takes a while. I saw where someone else had postulated that it was intended as a joke of a song, but I hadn't picked up on that possibility.
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:39 am

Hi Manna ~

I tried to construct my response so you wouldn't get the feeling that I was implying you should delete this thread and go looking, not at all... you had posed the question as to whether it had been addressed before, and I was just answering you that it had been. So, no need to delete or even go looking, unless you're that curious.

Simply because there are always new people coming here and the sections have become so full, with many pages of threads... and the topics are prone to change within them, regardless of their titles, it can become hard to say what you'll actually find where... and people bring up ideas on threads already covering 'this' or 'that' all the time... that's the nature of somewhere like this, I'd guess... can't say for sure, as it's the only Forum I visit.

Now, on the idea of your revisiting the song 8) :D :idea: :wink: ~ I'm always in favour of that... as there are so often delightful results 8) ~ and, if not, at least you tried... we don't and won't always have the same tastes ~ in everything.

Do what you will, if it be your will :D .


~ Lizzy
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Postby Beccka » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:55 pm

I kind of like having the disucssion here, as there are so many threads and I'm new - it would be overwhelming to have to hunt the discussion up. Also, I've always thought it was a little rude to revivie threads that had been laid to rest.

Anyway - I don't 'like' the song, but I find it interesting. A little surreal, very sensual. It creates a picture. It doesn't get warm here in Chicago until well into May, but around the middle of March girls start appearing in light, thin cotton skirts with bare legs. There's something rather sexy about those first bare legs, especially if you're watching from a sidewalk table, sharing in the optimistic and stubborn insistence that Spring has come, dammit, despite the temperature. I imagine Heather as one of those girls, and the observer (presumably Cohen) freezing out on one of those sidewalk tables.

(Now someone is going to tell me the song is about a real person and I've got the whole story wrong, right?)

I used to appreciate the girls a lot more. Now they show up in my classroom with blue ankles and I want to make them put on a pair of tights, please! My professors probably had the same reaction to me.
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Re: The "Dear Heather" Divide

Postby Steven » Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:03 am

Hi Manna,

I find that "Dear Heather" works as a piece of music, but hadn't
given thought as to whether it would stand alone for me as poetry.
As music, it has a surreal feel to it, kind of a trippy thing, that is
enhanced by the spelling. As the spelling thing is evocative of
childhood, it fosters an associative linkage to childhood
and its imaginative capacity. At least it seems to for me.
I hadn't given the spelling much thought prior to your post,
as the song "took me there" seamlessly.
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:23 pm

As the spelling thing is evocative of
childhood, it fosters an associative linkage to childhood
and its imaginative capacity.
Yes, I agree, Steven... and, it really does take you there seamlessly.


~ Lizzy
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Manna
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Postby Manna » Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:25 pm

Hi Steven,
Thanks for your take on it. I hadn't considered it as a harkening to childhood. Was it the music & spelling that led you there? It seems that way - the words have a feel of sexual tension for me, so I guess to bring in an element of childhood never crossed my mind. It's an interesting thought, and I'm not sure what to make of it.
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Postby lizzytysh » Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:07 pm

Hi Manna ~

I can't speak for Steven, of course, but I can tell you how I feel about the key words that I could relate to in Steven's comment that:
. . . the spelling thing is evocative of childhood, it fosters an associative linkage to childhood and its imaginative capacity.
Spelling out words in a song definitely evokes childhood for me because that's when we often did that sort of thing... M-I-C-K-E-Y/M-O-U-S-E, as well as in word games.

When you consider how we were as children, imagination and imaginative capacity are hallmarks of that period in people's lives. It's before society and parents started pigeonholing everything in our worlds.

For me, I've always considered "Dear Heather" as a very playful song and in that, it also evokes a sense of a merry-go-round/carousel, where children sit atop brightly-coloured replicas of horses and other figures and go around and around and up-and-down, all at the same time, to music... and its pure fun, based on imagination. The way the words and spellings circle back on each other in their spellings, all to music, evokes that same playfulness. It sounds like they must have had a blast recording it... whether it was done with their actual singing technique or accomplished electronically [I don't recall].

The 'imagination' sense that I feel in it, which would account for the sexual tension that you mention, would be that the girl's/woman's legs are all white from the winter and seeing her legs in the sense that he wants her to walk by him, again, would logically summon thoughts of sexuality.

Once we figured out that the drawn picture on the front of this album looks to be Anjani, we may or may not deduct that she is the one walking by him with a drink in her hand; or, it could also be a waitress or someone else. Of course, there's that sexual element, no matter what.

In that adults can be playful, too... [see the video of, was it "Because Of"?, the girls/women jumping on the bed, as seen through a porthole-like 'window' ~ it seems like the song was jauntier than "Because Of," but the jumping may also have simply been a visual contrast to the music]... as you know, without even considering anything Leonard's done, I think the connection can be made, without the song itself relating to childhood in a direct way... simply a fun presentation of a very brief 'lyric'/verse.


~ Lizzy
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Postby Steven » Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:46 am

Hi Manna,

Both the music and the spelling led me there (to the state of mind).

I can understand the sexual tension you spoke of. For me, though,
the song painted a sensual picture, without any tension.
Last edited by Steven on Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Steven » Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:00 am

"I think the connection can be made, without the song itself relating to childhood in a direct way... simply a fun presentation of a very brief 'lyric'/verse." -- Lizzy

Lizzy,

A well spoken response. The song elicits a state in adults
more typically associated with childhood and I believe it does so
without "relating to childhood in a direct way."
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david birkett
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TITLE TRACK

Postby david birkett » Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:31 pm

To me the song simply fails on all levels. I think of it, "On that day" and "Undertow" as the cracks in an otherwise perfect offering. I think, however, to expect every track on every album to be a wonderful song is unrealistic. I was delighted to hear the experimentation on "Dear Heather", and I am intrigued by where the next batch of songs will lead Cohen and his singers and musicians.

Best wishes, and welcome all new boys and girls.


David
The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:15 pm

Hi David ~

You have an issue with "Undertow" :shock: ? What is it? This one, for me, would carry only the 'complaint' that it didn't go on long enough... when I listen, I keep wanting to hear more and have only the choice of replaying it.

Some have had political issues with "On That Day," with a few complaining about the 'intrusive,' 'shocking,' or whatever sound of the jews harp. I like the sound of the jews harp and, for me, it was an aural depiction of the craziness of the planes crashing into the towers, and the craziness of that day. It could have some symbolic "jews" significance, on a politcal level, as well, but I've never 'heard' it in that fashion. Some felt the song didn't go far enough as a kind of protest to the events of that day and the damage to New York/the U.S.

We've already spoken about "Dear Heather," which for me succeeds at the level it seems to have intended... experimental and fun, "in a state in adults more typically associated with childhood," as Steven said.

I'm interested in hearing the specifics of your complaint[s] on these other two.

Thanks, if you share them.


~ Lizzy
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Postby Red Poppy » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:37 am

I too have mixed feelings about Dear Heather (the track) and On THis Day but I feelUndertow (lyrically & musically) is one of the outstanding tracks on the collection - or indeed in te canon of Cohen songs.
Like Lizzy, will be interested to hear your qualms.
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Underimpressed with undertow

Postby david birkett » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:28 am

I just find the tune and arrangement of this song incredibly dreary and the lyrics too mired in pretentiousness and vagueness to offer any compensation.

De gustibus non disputandum, however.

It's not the Jew's harp - a perfectly acceptable instrument - that defines my reaction to On That Day. Again, I think it's just a sloppy piece of writing about an event so apalling and significant that it demands the highest calibre of artistic and other reponse.

Nothing on earth will ever persuade me that Dear Heather (the track) should not have been stamped out of existence in its earliest stages by a producer with anything approaching a modicum of taste and judgement.

The rest of the album, I love, and Letters is a song of genius, I think.

Oh, apart from There for You.


David
The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.

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