Saturday, August 29, 2015

Leonard & Bob

I am reading a biography on Leonard Cohen.

It is delicious.

I am a word guy. I might have mentioned that once or twice within these walls.

I worship words. I need to see words connected in ways they have never been connected before. I need to see things expressed originally. Creatively. Provocatively.

I need to read or hear words that zap my emotions into overdrive, words that make me exclaim in my mind or out loud "Jesus Christ what a stimulating perspective."

I worship music. Can't live without it. Music is emotion to me. The music I love makes me cry, it brings laughter, it makes me think and learn and realize.

But the lyrics, baby - the lyrics make the whole thing resonate at the frequency of my soul.

I focus on song lyrics and I rejoice when the quality of the lyric matches the quality of the music.

It can be simple, like "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers.

"I've been run down and I've been lied to. And I don't know why, I let that mean woman make me a fool. She took all my money, wrecked my new car. Now she's with one of my good time buddies, they're drinking in some cross town bar.

My friends tell me that I've been such a fool. But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin' you. Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you've done. But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same, and I can't run."

Simple. Direct. Precisely why I love them. You can feel the emotion. You know how beat down this dude is because his words are so real.

However, I worship two lyric Gods above all others.

Bob Dylan. Leonard Cohen.

These guys put words together in ways that make you smarter. The images, the references so intellectual and emotional and literate and historical and human and religious and vulgar.

Nobody else writes lyrics like Dylan and Cohen.

They challenge you, which is good. What was that reference? I gotta look that up. Or..........what an interesting perspective - I never thought of it that way; let me think about it. Or.................Jesus Christ I never heard it put quite like that before and it is absolutely perfect.

Just read this morning of a time when Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen were sitting together in a cafe in Paris, "trading lyrics."

Can you imagine?

They were reciting favorite Dylan/Cohen lyrics to each other and asking "How long did it take you to write that? What was the inspiration? What were the changes the lyrics went through?"

That had to be the ultimate summit of elevated minds in the entire recorded history of the human race.

I entertain a fantasy of being a fly on the wall for happenings like this. To witness creative people creating, listening to the people I respect being human while their unstoppable creativity inevitably bleeds through the mundane reality of being human.

The list of creative people Leonard Cohen has spent time with is endless. Some I knew about, others were a revelation to me.

The list includes poets, writers, rock artists, folk artists, dance artists; people involved with movies and plays, beat artists and writers, and more.

To me, though, the most stunning connection had to be between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

A connection that should have changed the world but didn't.

Unless maybe it did.

(Editor's note: As I read this book I become re-connected with all of Leonard Cohen's songs. If you have not already done so, dial up "If It Be Your Will" and "Hallelujah". If these songs do not spark an emotional reaction in your heart, you are dead.)

(Editor's note #2: Every single time I write the word hallelujah I have to look up the spelling. Every single time. This drives me crazy.)

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