Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:09 am

its4inthemorning wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:07 pm
Why did he change the words of Hallelujah to rhyme with "you" instead of the original "ya"?
B4real wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:04 am
..... and as I now see I forgot to think about Hallelujah
4, I’m not quite sure what you mean because the “you” I’m thinking of is the original word.
If it helps, check out the official Hallelujah lyrics on Various Positions and Cohen Live here at the Files – https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/ in the Song Index.
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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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:25 am

Live in Dublin Redux

We decided to view Live in Dublin a few evenings ago. I read my original review beforehand and gave it to Joann to read. When she did, her first comment was, "you didn't send this yet, did you, I found some errors?" (Joann used to work as a copy editor, so fortunately her errors were confined to spelling and grammar rather than content--not that the content did not warrant criticism.)

My initial review covered the songs one-by-one, that is not something to be re-done here. Instead I am just going to relate some general thoughts and impressions that crept into my brain as I watched and listened.

"The Future" jarred me as I listened to the words, and I thought about its relevance when it was written (early 1990s) and today. Cohen could always paint vivid images with his words, and the images one gets from lyrics like these are terrifying: "no one left to torture...absolute control...slide in all directions...noting you can measure anymore...overturned the order of the soul...it ain't going any further..it is murder"! "The Future" was written at a time when, for the first time in a long time, good seemed to be defeating evil; communism, at least the Russian variety, was in decline, technology was starting to benefit the masses, and swords were being beaten into plowshares (quite literally--the US defense budget was slashed to provide what was termed a "peace dividend.") Yet this is when Cohen threw all those scary lyrics out to us. He was right, of course, but how could he know then just how bad things might become 20 to 30 years hence? Now, in 2019, those same scary lyrics seem more like a news report than a dire prediction. I surmise that it does not necessarily matter whether (to quote from "Democracy") you are left or right, both sides can find ways to use the frightening lyrics as justification for their own views and causes.

When "Bird on the Wire" played, I told Joann (what I hope was) the genesis of the song, seeing the birds quickly acclimate to the first electric lines on Hydra and using them for perches as only birds can do. Hope the birds are still there in June.

About midway through the first set I began to pay attention to Neil Larsen. Because of his position on stage (and maybe his nature) he does not usually stand out. After concentrating on him awhile, I started to really appreciate his contributions--some pronounced and some subtle. His solo on "The Darkness" reminded me of Ray Manzarek of the Doors; Manzarek was hardly the virtuoso that Larsen is, but he did manage to turn a seven-year stint with the Doors into a lifetime career.

If one is into extreme self-deprecation, "Lover Lover Lover" offers the ultimate self-loathing line: "the one (name) I'm using now it's covered up with fear and filth and cowardice and shame." Talk about being hard on oneself.

Now, after having been depressed by "The Future," "Anthem" is saying there's still hope. Both songs appeared on the same album, which may (but not necessarily) mean they were written around the same time. I wonder which was written first. Maybe "Anthem" was meant as a continuation of "The Future," yeah it will be murder, but we can still try to make good triumph over evil. "Anthem" on the album "The Future" plays the role of "You Got Me Singing" on "Popular Problems."

I began to nod off occasionally as the second set began, so have nothing worthwhile to add. According to Google this DVD was recorded at the September 12, 2013 concert at O2 Arena in Dublin. The concert began at 7:40 pm and ended at 11:20 pm, so Cohen and the band played thirty songs over about 3 hours and 20 minutes (allowing for a 20-minute break). There is no explanation for the length of this, and of all the concerts after he went back on the road, other than that Leonard and the band wanted to--for themselves, for the audiences, or both. What gifts those concerts were (sorry you were late to the game Vickie).

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:57 am

Ah 4, it’s interesting how things appear after a second look ;-)
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!
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:45 pm

B4, re "ya" vs "you" in Hallelujah, I erred by commenting about Leonard changing the word "you" when what I meant was him changing the way he pronounced it. On the original album the "yous" are pronounced to rhyme with "Hallelujah," that is what changed at some point. I especially liked the colloquial "what's it to ya?" when I first heard the song thinking, this great poet and turner of phrases can also speak the language of the street.

So many books have been published about Leonard since his death that it's hard to keep up, and I admit that I have not yet read any. The recent release, "Matters of Vital Interest," seems like a must read based on what I see elsewhere in the Forum, I think I will start there.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:25 am

4, I really used economy of words with my last post – it was meant as the same reply for both of yours :)
And the tyranny of distance strikes again! Thanks for clearing up that you meant sung and not written words. I should have twigged to that! But interestingly, it made me remember something LC said about “ya”.

Irony can be conveyed with the voice alone whereas on the page you generally have to have a larger construction around the irony for it to come through. You can't just write, “What’s it to ya?” If you sing, “What’s it to ya?” to some nice chords it really does sound like, “Well, what's it to yah, baby?” But just to see it written, it would need a location.

And yes, I've been considering buying that book too. It does sound different but something is nagging at me that maybe private things should be exactly that - private. Or maybe I'm 'reading' more into it than is actually revealed :razz:
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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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:05 pm

B4, I am astounded that you found a quote from Leonard himself on the subject. What sort or Cohen library do you maintain to be able to do that so quickly? Unfortunately, after hearing what he said, I am still puzzled about the reason for the change in the sung "you." (Sounds like something on an Asian menu, we'll have the sung-you please.) I guess, extrapolating from your quote, that Leonard wanted to transform the line "what's it to you?" from a confrontational jab into merely a question.

Re the book, it never occurred to me that "Matters of Vital Interest" would reveal things that Leonard would really want kept private since the author says he is speaking based on a forty-year friendship. We shall see.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:08 am

4, For what it’s worth, my take on LC’s quote is that he’s just stating an example of how he would have to ‘further set the scene’ by adding more words in print around a particular line or word to obtain a similar scenario in song using chiefly emphasis and the inflection in his voice. We know he has done this repeatedly with many songs in concerts over the years when he wished to express verbally an enhanced or altered feeling of that written line or word at that particular time. I have found many such examples and still have more to discover :) So in this case, I reckon the formal written “you” is a sarcastic quarrelsome question but the sung “ya” or “yah” is more confrontational with its added provoking ‘right in ya face’ nuance.

Actually, I’ve just remembered what I consider (I have no proof) where the original source and definitely most provocatively explicit example of this line which found its way into Hallelujah originated from – The News You Really Hate in Death of a Lady’s Man. Absolutely no possibility with misunderstanding the intention of it and nothing would be needed to be added or subtracted from it in print or song to get the full intended meaning! Look up it and you’ll see what I mean :razz:

And it was a kismet moment with finding that quote. I was trying to verify some days ago what I remembered Leonard saying about Book of Mercy for Vickie and it found me for you! My source from years ago was the ever informative LC Files, thank you Jarkko!
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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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:22 am

Hello!
I haven't posted much here, but I am definitely following.

Bev, regardiing kismet, I have always struggled with that word. Does it mean 'fate' like wikipedia says? I am not so sure. Is it more like serendipity?

I haven't started Matters of Vital Interest yet either. I am not sure when I will but probably after my Lorca book and maybe after Half the Perfect World too. I am glad to hear you guys are maybe going to read it too.

As I am listening to the albums in order again for the fun of it, I also recently happened to look up one if our earlier posts because I wanted to quote it regarding Book of Mercy. Anyway, the post I was looking up happened to correspond with the album I was on, Recent Songs. As I was reading, I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of the songs that I was lukewarm about before, I really love now (Le Canadian Errant for instance). So...There is hope for me yet!

Curt, I love "What's it to ya?"

Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:07 am

vlcoats wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:22 am
Bev, regardiing kismet, I have always struggled with that word. Does it mean 'fate' like wikipedia says? I am not so sure. Is it more like serendipity?
Vickie, I usually use the word "happenstance" as a generic one for coincidence, serendipity, luck, fate etc because I like it! But this time I thought I would change it up a bit and technically Wikipedia is right. Another source being Word says among other interpretations, "kismet" is also "luck" :)

And now welcome to the ever changing thoughts we all have from time to time about Leonard's songs! I found that reading the poems published around the same time as the albums can change how you feel about both the written and the sung word.
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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