120 years from now

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
Steven
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120 years from now

Postby Steven » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:59 am

Hi,

120 years from now, if humankind has managed to avoid extinguishing itself, what do you think music historians
are likely to get right and wrong about the work of Leonard Cohen and how it affected musicians and fans?
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B4real
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Re: 120 years from now

Postby B4real » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:55 am

Hi Steven,
Steven wrote:Hi,
120 years from now, if humankind has managed to avoid extinguishing itself, what do you think music historians
are likely to get right and wrong about the work of Leonard Cohen and how it affected musicians and fans?
You always seem to find another angle :) .... and there are too many angles to view to answer that straight up, but your first 12 words have instantly affected me to do this :razz: "In the year 2525, if man is still alive ....."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izQB2-Kmiic

I promise I'll think deeply about your question!
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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Cheshire gal
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Re: 120 years from now

Postby Cheshire gal » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:30 am

I think his work will be highly appreciated. Just think how lucky we are to have witnessed these marvelous songs and seen Leonard actually performing them.
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
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HelenOE
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Re: 120 years from now

Postby HelenOE » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:34 am

I really hope that in 120 years the "music to slit your wrists by" canard will finally have faded away.
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B4real
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Re: 120 years from now

Postby B4real » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:20 am

Good points Marie and Helen!

Quick summary – it would take a great deal more words and pages to expand upon this.

First point: The main thing historians should get right is that here was a man telling his life as it was – the good, the bad, and the ugly; albeit modified in some ways. If they’ve get that basic premise wrong, well they’ve missed the whole point. He is someone who just simply could not be pigeon holed, a one-off, unique person who saw things from his own personal corner of the room. They could say he was a unique individual just doing ordinary things, or an ordinary man doing extra-ordinary things! One aspect I hope they don’t overlook is his wonderful dry sense of humour. Plus he has no problem “taking the Mickey” out of himself, so to speak! Personally, I love the way he laughs at his own jokes!

Second point: It has affected musicians and fans because here was someone willing, no, actually had no choice but to tell it as it was. He’s always played to the sound of his own inner tune and has that innate ability to relate it to us. We recognize that basic human melody which is in all of us and that’s why musicians cover his songs and fans go to great lengths to attend his concerts. Many of his songs ask us to go with the flow, acceptance - if you will and faith; some make you reflect on past loves and times and yet others make us take another look at ourselves, sometimes not as we would like and sometimes with humour. We are all looking for something and Leonard’s songs have shown us there are many paths and sometimes just one long and winding road to take on our journey in an attempt to find it. As far as the musicality of his songs, I am always reminded of the story of C. Short explanation – just tell it as simply as you can while still retaining the truth and full meaning of what you want to say and that will be more than enough.

You know, if I was to sum up in a few words as to what attracted me to Leonard in the first place, it would be his compulsion to B4real. :)
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
AlexandraLaughing
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Re: 120 years from now

Postby AlexandraLaughing » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:14 pm

I don't think the question of the history of his impact on musicians and fans is particularly hard to answer- it just comes down to what sources survive and are preferred. They'll presumably use newspaper/magazine reviews of albums, maybe record sales in some format or other, the major biographies, and the tribute programmes that will inevitably be made after his death. They'll get it as right as those do. And as he is very much loved and considered cool by people a lot younger than he is as well as his contemporaries, I would think the tributes would be warm, enthusiastic and detailed. They'll also have to work hard to balance his appeals in Canada, the US, Europe, Oceania and to the different subgroups who love him, so would think that would prevent his being hijacked by just one group of his lovers or another.

More interesting, I would have thought, is what his status and that of his songs will be. I would think his music will last. It's evolutionarily very well placed to do so. He has lots of passionate subgroups of fans, which is what you need to keep the flame alive and then reignite it for a new generation, as we have seen, but also a handful of his songs have real popular appeal. He'll be a hero to the new generation of young intellectual Jews, and to Zen Buddhists. One or two of his songs will appeal strongly to Christians (no prizes for guessing which ones). He'll also always be a 'famous Canadian', and a cultural prize in all the thinking cultures of Europe. Will the Chinese, the Arabs and the Russians get into him? Who knows? But my guess is that at least the last two of those cultures will, eventually.

He's so multi-facetted, musically as well as in his themes. Religion, sex and longing are not going to go away (pace the Lady in Death of a Ladies' Man).
Steven
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Re: 120 years from now

Postby Steven » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:58 am

Hi,

Thanks for the replies. The growth in acceptance and appreciation for Leonard Cohen's songs has
taken place despite the dumbing down of much of current popular culture. As a songwriter, he's
swam against this tide. Who is to say what fundamental shift in the capacity of people to think about
and respond to art of substance will take place over 120 years? In accelerating fashion, a decline
is taking place now with much of today's popular music reflecting and encouraging it. Could be,
as I seek to put a positive spin on this, that the next couple of generations will find a way
to build upon the best that current culture produces, Leonard Cohen's music included, and society
will advance. If so, music historians will likely credit Leonard Cohen for the large impact he made.
People will understand and appreciate the significance. However, if not, historians won't be able
to properly "get" what the music means to us; there'd be too much of a disconnect with the humanities
(as we know them) and themselves to do otherwise.

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