The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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Kush
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby Kush » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:02 am

I think it is okay for a song to be very depressing or dark or whatever. It is okay for a few minutes to plunge into the levels of depression of another real or fictional character or simply a level of abstraction that a truly emotional song can bring for 3 minutes or 5 minutes or 8 minutes. A really good song IMHO should be able to carry you through its words and/or music into whatever emotion it is attempting to convey, whether it makes you feel depressed or happy or makes you wanna dance. I know a song about a homeless person which is truly depressing and absolutely hopeless but it is so great precisely because it makes it very real. Only for the duration of the song and then maybe a little bit more for reflection. And thankfulness that that is not your life. After that I can get back to the football or Simpsons or whatever it was I was watching ....

p.s. Oh I never actually answered Steven's question. I find Songs from a Room to be rather melancholic as an album. Seems so Long ago Nancy particularly so. Maybe not dark but melancholic is a more accurate term I think. But the songs that come to mind off the topo of my head as particularly disturbing/dark/depressing I'd say are Avalanche, and Dress Rehearsal Rag and The Future. If I had to pick one I'd probably pick The Future as the darkest or most disturbing and consequently depressing song.
imaginary friend
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby imaginary friend » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:05 pm

I was reading this thread and just thinking 'How come nobody's mentioned The Future?', then I saw Kush's post.

For me, The Future is the darkest. I dearly love Night Comes On, and agree with Stamatina that is more hopeful than dark, reflecting the struggle against giving in to helplessness and despair.
John Etherington
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby John Etherington » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:53 pm

Personally, I never think of "The Future" as dark...more as a fairly accurate excercise in prophecy and black humour. As we know, the song was originally called "If You Could See What's Coming Next", thus "if you could see what's coming next, you'd say 'give me back the Berlin wall...' etc. The images are so exaggerated that it's hard to take them seriously as literal statements (though Dylan misunderstood it when he called it an evil song). Actually the song has quite a danceable tune, and the memories of the Webb Sisters doing cartwheels offset any dark elements for me. I've never thought of "The Night Comes On" as depressing. I've always loved the whole of the "Various Positions" album, even though it's release was concurrent with the end of a major relationship for me (my last night out with the lady in question was when I took her to see Leonard at Hammersmith Odeon in February 1985). I like stamatina's quote "All things have a light and a dark side and in songs like Night Comes On, the light and the dark are perfectly balanced, which makes them more..complete. And whole.".

All good things, John E
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phillip
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby phillip » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:43 pm

Avalanche and The Future
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
AlexandraLaughing
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby AlexandraLaughing » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:28 pm

Samson in New Orleans. What makes it so particularly dark is that a thousand people did die, and they really were dishonoured by their country, which didn't even take the trouble to pick up their corpses in some cases.

I am guessing that that's a gentler version than the one he originally wrote, too, since he took 9 years to release it.
John Etherington
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby John Etherington » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:31 pm

For anyone who's missed it, this version of "Diamonds In the Mine" takes some beating!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmwCgQw3gDM
Styxcreek
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby Styxcreek » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:23 pm

Teachers and The Butcher
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Goldin
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby Goldin » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:56 pm

Nevermind is a damn dark song, isn't it?
Roman aka Hermitage Prisoner
John Etherington
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby John Etherington » Sat May 09, 2015 1:47 am

If you live in the U.K., you may find it cathartic to listen to the version of "Diamonds In the Mine", which currently a few posts up, today (May 8th 2015)!
cohenadmirer
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby cohenadmirer » Tue May 12, 2015 1:31 am

John Etherington wrote:If you live in the U.K., you may find it cathartic to listen to the version of "Diamonds In the Mine", which currently a few posts up, today (May 8th 2015)!
Eveybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor
The Rich get Rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Leonard's work resonates
Brighton 1979; Dublin , Manchester june 2008; glasgow, manchester Nov 2008; Liverpool july 2009 ; Barcelona Sept 2009 ;marseille, lille september2010: Ghent August 2012;Barcelona October 2012;Montreal x2 November 2012: 2013; Saint John NB April 2013; Brussels June 2013;Manchester August 2013; Leeds , Birmingham September 2013; Amsterdam September 2013
John Etherington
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby John Etherington » Thu May 14, 2015 2:19 am

Cohenadmirer - That's exactly it! Those few lines say it all.
CohenAfterworld
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Re: The Darkest Leonard Cohen Song

Postby CohenAfterworld » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:01 am

Right off the top of my head, The Future. How can it get any darker than that?

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
And stuff it up the hole
In your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St. Paul
I've seen the future, brother
It is murder



Also, "It Seems so Long Ago, Nancy." The general impression I get from this song is it is about a woman Leonard knew who committed suicide or died of a drug overdose, whom he and others tried to help but couldn't.


I am not sure, "Everybody Knows" is truly a dark song. It's a true song, without illusions. It's one of my favorites.

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