My Brain is Mostly Song Lyrics

Leonard Cohen

November 19, 2016 | 2 comments


David Bowie. Paul Kanter. Glenn Frey. Prince. And now Leonard Cohen. 2016, you are turning out to be one depressing year (in so many, many ways). A while ago, I wrote about the problem I have with Bob Dylan. I have the same issue with Leonard Cohen. I think he was a brilliant songwriter (and poet), but I do not like listening to him singing.


This week I have been rediscovering some of Cohen’s gems. Some of my favourite lyrics are:

1. Anthem
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”

2. Bird on the Wire
“I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee”

3. Dance Me to the End of Love
“Dance me to the children
Who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains
That our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now
Though every thread is torn
And dance me to the end of love”

4. Hallelujah
“There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah”

“Love is not some kind of victory march
No it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah”

5. Come Healing
“Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace
O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart
O troubled dust concealing
An undivided love
The Heart beneath is teaching
To the broken Heart above”

6. If I Didn’t Have Your Love
“That’s how broken it would be
What the world would seem to me
If I didn’t have your love to make it real”

7. First We Take Manhattan
“They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within”

8. Suzanne
“And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love”

9. Everybody Knows
“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost”

10. A Street
“It wasn’t all that easy
When you up and walked away
But I’ll save that little story
For another rainy day
I know the burden’s heavy
As you wheel it through the night
Some people say it’s empty
But that don’t mean it’s light

The party’s over
But I’ve landed on my feet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street”