“Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it’s lonely here,
there’s no one left to torture.”
Leonard Cohen is Canada’s Bob Dylan. His velvety voice has sung of depression, suicide, war, religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships- often all as one in the same, with these themes overlapped and cannibalizing one another in his songs. A common Leonard Cohen track will give the illusion of a love ballad, but actually be referencing the Holocaust.
His songs are bittersweet; they are melancholy. Dark and dramatic. They are soft and sad and twisted and full of life’s hard truths, as experienced by a highly depressed and highly intelligent Jewish man. Cohen’s music spans generations, beginning on the cusp of Warhol’s “Factory” crowd and acquiring international acclaim to the present day.
His lyrics boast of sin, specifically “The Future”: smoking crack, anal sex, and killing fetuses- oh my.
The song I chose to feature for this week’s Throwback Thursday is “The Future,” the title track off of “The Future” album, released in 1992 as Cohen’s ninth studio album. You may recognize the song from the soundtrack for Oliver Stone’s twisted and brutal movie, “Natural Born Killers.”
“And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil’s riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder.”
Among his laundry list of literary and musical achievements, Cohen is an honored novelist and poet and has been admitted into both the American and Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“We’re in a world where there’s famine and hunger and people are dodging bullets and having their nails pulled out in dungeons so it’s very hard for me to place any high value on the work that I do to write a song. Yeah, I work hard but compared to what?” says Cohen, of his work.