Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Ask and answer questions about Leonard Cohen, his work, this forum and the websites!
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:08 am

Just happened to see your post and thought I would respond.

Better to arrive late to a party than to miss it entirely! Just think, you have many albums worth of great music to discover, and you do not need to endure the long waits between albums that those who followed LC all along had to endure.

Given this opportunity--and this is only my opinion of course--I think you should try to go through his music in a slow, methodical manner and in roughly the order it was released. From reading Sylvie Simmons excellent biography, you already know that LC's lyrics have many interpretations and elicit a spectrum of emotions, so why not approach this gradually and see where your thoughts stray? A benefit (i think) of becoming acquainted with LC's songs in chronological order is that you will better appreciate the way that LC allowed his music to evolve over time without ever really changing the intensity his lyrics. Because LC was such a brilliant writer his lyrics were always praised, but his talent for creating the accompanying music was seldom discussed; I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find that he almost always wedded his lyrics to interesting tunes.

In conclusion, my prescription is to buy "Songs of Leonard Cohen" and "Songs from a Room" and listen to them once or twice a day for several weeks. If you find yourself craving more, you just might be ready for "Songs of Love and Hate."

Good listening, and please post again after completing this induction therapy.

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
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:00 am

Thank you "its4inthemorning". First of all for your prescription and your sincere response to my post, and second of all for not accusing me of only caring about him because he is gone. As a librarian (at a public school in Idaho), my instinct was to go chronologically, but I wasn't sure.
Again, thanks for the sincere response. I will keep in touch after following your lead.
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sundragon
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby sundragon » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:22 am

Hello good people. I stumbled across your fine forum today and thought I'd sign up. I'm James, a singer-songwriter from Tasmania and Beijing, and have been a big fan of Leonard for a lot of years now. I think my life has been directed in many ways by the sounds I heard growing up, including George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and of course Leonard Cohen. The idea that a song has to mean something has always stuck with me, and thus I have struggled to find career opportunities in an industry that is nowadays primarily concerned with entertainment.

I think that Leonard's passing has had a strange effect on my psyche because, ever since I started writing my own poetry and songs, I dreamed of opening a show for him. Now he is gone and I feel more isolated as a musician and as a human. His obvious disillusionment with the world, as expressed in his final album, really leaves me wondering about our future. Leonard was always an embodiment of hope, at least to me. His words, made magic by their musical form, seemed to suggest a grand structure to the nature of existence, as if all that we perceive as chaos is actually a manifestation of a divine will that desires to create higher states of order.

I don't think he came to doubt this underlying metaphysical assertion on his deathbed, however I do believe that he had thought he would have seen more obvious signs of positive change before he was ready to leave his body.
Possibly (if not probably), the whole Donald Trump running for president phenomenon served as a fascist panic alarm to a Jew, but the cultural motif of people wanting it darker when it comes to art is hardly a new thing. I'm no different; I had that allure towards the darkness for a long time, believing the realms of sorrow, solitude, occultism, grief and madness were the only meaningful motivators of creative inspiration. Do we just like to have it confirmed that suffering is a part of life? That's probably part of it, but I fear that we may have come to use this as an excuse to avoid the effort that is necessary to rise above the mess that we have made during the brief evolutionary foray we call history.

Anyhow, nice to be here, and I look forward to some great Leonard related discussions.

James.
James

Sun Dragon Records

You can listen to and buy my latest album, Green Star Over China, from https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/james32.
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:44 am

its4inthemorning wrote:go through his music in a slow, methodical manner and in roughly the order it was released. ....In conclusion, my prescription is to buy "Songs of Leonard Cohen" and "Songs from a Room" and listen to them once or twice a day for several weeks. If you find yourself craving more, you just might be ready for "Songs of Love and Hate." Good listening, and please post again after completing this induction therapy. 4
You asked me to post after completing the induction therapy but I think it may take a little while. I am still on "Songs of Leonard Cohen" and haven't even opened "Songs from a Room". I am stuck particularly on "The Stranger Song" which I can't seem to move past and don't want to. It hits me right between the shoulder blades. Once I am over my crush on this song, I will be able to give the other songs on the album a chance and can carry on with my induction. Right now, whenever I put on the CD, I just want to listen to it again.
Thanks!
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:14 pm

vlcoats,

Very happy to see you have started your immersion therapy.

Yes, the "Stranger Song," this captivating song has captured you! The lyrics are pure poetry, every word and phrase always seemed perfect to me. And the guitar work. I am not a musician, but I understand that the style on this song is rather difficult to master (perhaps that is why he did not play it in his final tours, maybe too hard with 70+ year old fingers).

Another favorite of mine from this album is "Stories of the Street," which for some reason is seldom commented on. After all these listens I still could not tell you what it means exactly. We all develop our own mental images and see where they take us. Favorite lyrics are, "Take me to the slaughterhouse, I will wait there with the lambs."

The original version of Marianne is quite stark and bare compared to the way the song evolved on LC's final tours. Compare the original with the live performance in Dublin in 2013. Albert Noonan recorded this version, he has put many, many excellent LC videos on youtube. (Hope this link works, I am not very proficient with computers.)

https://youtu.be/TC5xv3JKy8E?t=318

I find it interesting to vicariously experience rediscovering LC through you, keep us informed! By the way, where are you from?

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
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:25 pm

vlcoats, for some reason when I click on the video link, it starts at the very end of the song. To view it all, use the curser to move to the beginning on the time bar as soon as the video opens.

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
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:46 pm

4,

The link worked for me the 2nd try. Thank you. I like the starkness of the recorded version of Marianne, but watching his face while he sang was a treat. You wonder what he was thinking about onstage that night when he closed his eyes. I wish I could watch more of the videos, but will have to take them in over time. I live in an isolated spot with only satellite internet.

I am not from Idaho, but I live here now on a few acres along the Clearwater River, and we have donkeys. Which makes my favorite part of "Songs of the Street" when he sings of the farm. That song is coming in snippets, but like the other songs on the album, I will get more into each of them I know.

What I find hardest to believe is that among all of the people in my life that I have shared my love of music and poetry with through the years, not one of them ever urged me to listen to him. To me that is just amazing. (Is who I am that hard hard to see?) Somebody somewhere in all these years should have said, "Oh, you need to listen to Leonard Cohen. He is just what you are looking for." But here I am. And like you said, better late than to miss it entirely.

I see there is a section for each album in the index, so I will post there next time. Thanks again for sharing him so graciously.

Vickie
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:13 am

vlcoats wrote:...What I find hardest to believe is that among all of the people in my life that I have shared my love of music and poetry with through the years, not one of them ever urged me to listen to him. To me that is just amazing...
Hi new person!

I think it is best that you have found Leonard Cohen in your own way and in your own time. I do not think that he is the kind of artist that a person can be "urged" to listen to -- it is almost as if his music finds you when you are ready for it. Music affects us in different ways at different times, and perhaps had someone recommended Leonard Cohen to you years ago, he may not have resonated with you then (despite what you may think now!). Of course, since we cannot change the past anyway nor do we truly understand how the universe works, this is all just an hypothesis, but in my own experiences with music, it seems to me the sort of thing that cannot be forced, and we must simply be thankful when we do stumble upon life-changing music, and then enjoy it as fully as we can. It sounds to me as if you are definitely doing the latter with Leonard Cohen's music. Welcome to his world!

Lisa
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:02 pm

Lisa,

Thank you for another gracious welcome to your site. You are right of course-- there is no way of knowing if I would have listened to anyone's advice. I didn't even listen to my own thoughts on the matter. I knew he was there, I had a feeling I should listen, things kept reminding me... and still I didn't listen until now. But here I am, and although forcing the issue has helped me squeeze more out of life, your are again right that this is probably the sort of thing that cannot be forced.

It is comforting to know that I don't have to try to explain how I feel about him because everybody here already knows. I am still lost in his first album. One reason I haven't opened the second is because the cynic in me can't imagine it will be as good. Thankfully she is often wrong.

Thanks again Lisa (and 4). I am rarely late for anything, and you have made me feel better, like maybe I'm not so late after all.

Vickie
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lizzytysh
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby lizzytysh » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:15 pm

Glad to see all of you new people on this thread. Will greet each of you later when I can be at a regular computer. 💕
Thanks for posting!!
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:57 pm

Vickie,

Re fear of opening second c/d, I understand what you mean. But, these albums are like ordering dessert: just because you love ice cream, you still have to try others, otherwise you would never experience cheesecake!

I hear Idaho is beautiful, it is someplace we've always wanted to see (but not in the winter). Your farm sounds idyllic, keep all the animals warm.

BTW, you said you would post elsewhere in the forum in the sections for each album. I looked for those sections, but do not see them.

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
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:47 pm

its4inthemorning wrote:BTW, you said you would post elsewhere in the forum in the sections for each album. I looked for those sections, but do not see them.
Yes, I found out there wasn’t a section for each album after all. I was hoping that as I go through them, I could see what others have said and share my own thoughts too. I am especially curious how everyone felt when they first heard his voice and his music.

I am simply overwhelmed. First of all, there is his voice itself. There is nothing I can say about it that hasn't already been said. I can only add my love for it to yours… goosebumps and all. I have read that he didn’t share much in the way of explanation of his lyrics, but why should he have? I for one don’t care so much what he really meant. Every phrase can stand alone for the image it creates. (“curling up like smoke above his shoulder”), and just the sound of how he put them together is enough. Sometimes I feel that even if they were in another language (which at times it seems they are) I might love them all the same. His voice when he sings “blueprint” (“Songs of the Street”) has nothing to do with the word itself. But it’s true also that I love the lyrics for what they say to me, or more how they make me feel. Every so often (not often enough) you will read a particular book or even just a passage from an author or an old poem or watch a movie or a certain light hits you over some hills and it just gets you, like it is a bridge to that thing that fills you with such an emotion you can’t describe, but you know you are so happy and sad to feel it all at once and you just think, “there it is again” and you're glad it’s still there and you can hold it in your hand for a moment. That is how listening to Leonard Cohen makes me feel.

As for “The Songs of Leonard Cohen”, my favorite track remains “The Stranger Song” but I have come to love them all nearly as much, especially “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” which had me from “sleepy golden storm”. I also love “Songs of the Street” not only for “blueprint” but “one hand on my suicide one hand on the rose”. Who comes up with that kind of stuff? I have never been so proud of a fellow Canadian and Jew. I love the guitar in “Teachers”. Basically, I just love every word of that album. I am going to listen to it for the remainder of the weekend and will take the leap into “Songs From a Room” on Monday.

One last thing. I have read that his music has been called, “music to slit your wrists to” and worse and that it has a following of depressed, melancholy people. I have been called a lot of things, but never depressed and any bouts of something like melancholy have always been enjoyable for me, so I can’t even say for sure if I have suffered from it at all. Even my husband said Leonard Cohen’s music was “depressing sounding”, although he hasn’t really heard it beyond once when I forced him to listen to “The Stranger Song”. So tell me, is it true? I prefer to think that his fans are thoughtful and maybe just easily hypnotized by the right combination of lyrics and music like me.

Thank you again for being so kind.
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:37 pm

Vickie, I told my wife that I had posted several times on the forum with a new LC fan from Idaho, and her reply was, "She probably thinks you are a stalker." Please know that's not the case! I usually check out the forum a few times a week, but since LC's death I have done so more often, maybe for comfort, like leaving flowers at a loved one's grave.

Had to respond to your last post, because it begs for an answer. In my personal life, I have only "turned" two people to Leonard Cohen (one, thank the Lord, is my wife Joann, who to be honest needed no convincing). Most friends or relatives said "He's just not my cup of tea," and a few did express the feeling that his music is too depressing. In 2010 or so, after I had totally forgotten about LC for more than twenty years, I discovered he was not only alive, but was still recording and performing! This led (through this very forum) to our having the good fortune of seeing him perform live six times in Europe, Canada, and the US. Before, during, and after these concerts we met hundreds of his fans from all over the world, and let me tell you, NONE OF THEM appeared in any way to suffer from depression; to the contrary, we will always remember those concerts as festive and happy events. I do not know how anyone (even if he favored different music genres) could fail to make a place for LCs music and lyrics, but that is just the way it is. Maybe it is related to the fact that almost no one today is into poetry.

You mentioned the lyric "blueprint" from "Songs of the Street." For another "blueprint" reference, consider the following sentence:

"And the corners of the blueprint are ruined since they rolled far past the stems of thumbtacks that still throw shadows on the wood."

No one but Leonard could have composed this sentence, and no one but Leonard would have included it in the lyrics of a song. ("last Year's Man" from "Songs of Love and Hate," his third album and my favorite.)

Curt (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
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:57 am

Curt,
I have never been so interesting as to have a stalker, but if I did, I would be flattered to think it would be a Leonard Cohen fan! How lucky are you to have a wife who shares this with you. I did just today ask my husband to listen to the album with me again, and he actually said he liked it better the second time, so I won't give up hope. You are equally lucky to have been able to see him live. I know if it were not too late for me to do the same, I would be begging my husband to indulge me, no matter where we had to go. As it is, I am already eyeing a trip to Hydra if we ever make it to Europe... telling my husband, but they have donkeys on Hydra!
Thank you for the assurance that everyone who listens to Leonard Cohen isn't dark and suicidal. I knew it just couldn't be true. I was also encouraged to hear that his third album is your favorite. Everything I have heard about his second album makes me hope I will love it as much as the first, but I have been holding my breath about the rest. Part of me wants to get all of his music and listen to it NOW, but I want to take each song a piece at a time and make it last.
As for poetry, I have never known many people besides myself who were into it, but that might be my blue collar upbringing. I hope you are wrong about no one being into it any more. I am a librarian at a high school and I know they are very into their music, and to them even the worst of it is poetry I think. Not that I don't listen to new artists. Our son has introduced me to some great ones. But one thing for sure, although I have only started to listen to Leonard Cohen, already I feel that there will never be another poet like him, no matter how bad the world needs one.
Thank you again and I will write again after listening to "Songs From a Room".
Vickie
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:16 pm

its4inthemorning wrote:No one but Leonard could have composed this sentence, and no one but Leonard would have included it in the lyrics of a song. ("last Year's Man" from "Songs of Love and Hate," his third album and my favorite.)
Hello Curt, I have to quickly write to say I have just started on "Songs of Love and Hate" (I posted with my impression of "Songs from a Room" on another thread) and I can see already why you say it is your favorite! I have only heard 5 songs on it so far, but I am so overwhelmed by it that I had to stop listening to write you! It had me from the first minute like a runaway train! I just had to tell you how much I love it. Vickie
PS- I don't think I will every get "The Stranger Song" out of my head/heart no matter what. Also, I got the DVD, "I'm Your Man". Would you recommend I watch it after I have heard more of his music? (if I can wait...)

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