Leonard Cohen died at age 82

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November 11th, 2016 at 8:03:54 AM permalink
kenarman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: Nareed
Granted. but what is it about? what does it mean?


Think of it as poetry Nareed although you seem to have dismissed that view. It doesn't have to mean anything. If it means something to enough people then it is considered meaningful. The song brings me to a contemplative state every time I hear it when it is well done. Which particularly version of the lyrics are secondary to my enjoyment. I have no idea what Cohen was feeling when he wrote it but he was a very dark man. This lack of knowing does not effect my enjoyment of the song.

Earlier this week we had a short discussion about awe and nature in BC. When I view a scenic mountain I might think in scientific terms about what caused that formation. If I was Father G. I would probably think about the beauty that God created for man. More often then not though I just sit and bask in the beauty which raises my own spirit regardless of how it was created. For me music can create that same feeling without going any deeper into the song.
"There is no sin but ignorance" Christopher Marlow
November 11th, 2016 at 8:34:29 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: kenarman
Think of it as poetry Nareed although you seem to have dismissed that view. It doesn't have to mean anything.


While not a big fan of poetry, I do appreciate some of it. And it definitely means something.

Early fiction, like the story of Gilgamesh and the Iliad, were composed as poems because the rhyme and meter made them easier to memorize. This was in the age of oral tradition, when little or nothing was written down. When these were set down on clay and papyrus, they retained the poetic structure. That's why in older philosophical systems, like Aristotle's, there is an area for Poetics, and why for a long time even playwrights were known as poets.

The point is poetry is a tool intended to convey and preserve meaning. So, yeah, it has to mean something. Like:

There'll be no strings to bind your hands
Not if my love can't bind your heart.
There's no need to take a chance
For it was I who chose to start.


Quote:
If it means something to enough people then it is considered meaningful.


Fair enough. But this still leaves the question: what does it mean?

The song often refers to "a broken hallelujah." What in Earth's name is that supposed to be? I think it's something utterly meaningless like salvation or racial memory. In Hebrew it's a term for kissing god's ass, like countless other such terms.

Music, though, has direct emotional impact without any conceptual content. It affects mood and emotions without communicating anything. This can be felt with works like Beethoven's 5th, Ravel's Bolero, Vivaldi's Spring, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, etc.

Therefore my working hypothesis is that Cohen's song's impact is a function of music, including the singer's emotion and intonation perhaps, rather than meaning.

That's a fair achievement, no question, but to me it remains meaningless. I'm only so affected by music.

Quote:
Earlier this week we had a short discussion about awe and nature in BC.


British Columbia?
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
November 11th, 2016 at 8:42:14 AM permalink
kenarman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: Nareed


British Columbia?


Yes not Baja I should have been more explicit.
"There is no sin but ignorance" Christopher Marlow
November 11th, 2016 at 8:47:58 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah


The story of Samson and Delilah and David and Bathsheeba are kind of jumbled together along with mile images of bondage.
November 11th, 2016 at 9:00:47 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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NSFW!!

Quote: Pacomartin
The story of Samson and Delilah and David and Bathsheeba are kind of jumbled together along with mile images of bondage.


I get that.

But read it without the music and it doesn't seem either moving, emotional, inspiring or anything else. Salacious, maybe. And the last line fails to make sense either as praise to the god or the obvious sexual alternative given the context.

I'm aware people often fail to understand or acknowledge lyrics. Songs like "Angel of the Morning" can be terribly sad, even though highly evocative with pleasant imagery (just look at the title), and people who like it and can even sing the lyrics are clueless about its meaning.

For the record, it's about a one-night stand from a woman's perspective. She tells the man he doesn't need to stay, just "touch my cheek before you leave me, baby/then slowly turn away from me." But the ending tells you how miserable she's feeling. Consider "I won't beg you to stay/through the tears/or the pain/Oh, please, baby."
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
November 11th, 2016 at 9:42:42 AM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Just the term "broken hallelujah" sounds like "sweet misery" or "laughing through the tears". The last might be remembering some fun times with someone even though you are currently at their funeral.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
November 11th, 2016 at 10:18:57 AM permalink
Nareed
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Quote: rxwine
Just the term "broken hallelujah" sounds like "sweet misery" or "laughing through the tears". The last might be remembering some fun times with someone even though you are currently at their funeral.


I'm seriously at a loss here. I can't see how it means that to you.

I'd say it's a Christian thing, but it strikes me that a man named Cohen probably isn't Christian.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
November 11th, 2016 at 10:42:36 AM permalink
Wizard
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My favorite Leonard Cohen song is The Future. You may remember it from the movie Natural Born Killers.



I must admit that I'm not really sure what it is about though.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
November 11th, 2016 at 12:12:24 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: Nareed
I'm seriously at a loss here. I can't see how it means that to you.

I'd say it's a Christian thing, but it strikes me that a man named Cohen probably isn't Christian.


Religious terms and phrases creep into the language almost unnoticed in some cases. Pretty sure godd***t has been used by non-religious people.

You don't have to ever been a Buddhist to refer to the sound of one hand clapping when you want to express something similar.

Your hairdo has suffered from God's wrath. (no I've never used that, but co-opting stuff is not unusual is what i'm saying)
No one has ever proven I am not God.
November 11th, 2016 at 12:56:39 PM permalink
stinkingliberal
Member since: Nov 9, 2016
Threads: 17
Posts: 731
I looked up Cohen when I stumbled across a YouTube video of Tim Minchin covering "Hallelujah." I then looked at other videos of performers who had done the song and I realized just how awful it was :) Minchin did a pretty good job of it, though. He is an avowed atheist, and he said that he loved to perform the song for crowds that presumably agreed with his views (or they wouldn't have paid to see him, as in addition to being very talented and funny, he's highly critical of religion) and hear them singing "Hallelujah" to the chorus just as if it was actually the Moron Tabernacle Choir or something.

The lyrics strike me as very clumsily written, with a lot of forced rhymes. I don't take issue with the fact that the whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense and at best, is derivative and allegorical--poetry, of which song lyrics is a subset, gets to do that--but it reads like the composer had only five minutes to write the whole thing. One line that particularly bugs me for some reason is "how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya." That's an example of distorting the grammar for the sake of a rhyme, which implies that you care more about the rhyme than making sense. (If you don't get what I mean, the singer is talking about a past event, so the proper grammar would be "had outdrawn ya." Aside from that, if someone outdraws you, pretty much by definition, you don't get a CHANCE to shoot or learn to shoot them.)
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