catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Sunday night YouTube

with 5 comments

Below the fold you’ll find a great live performance by Leonard Cohen of ‘The Future’. The CD studio version is more melodic but this has a nice jagged edge to it. This is a dark and gloomy song (lyrically) but quite powerful as poetry can be though you may not agree with the sentiments. Of course one must be careful not to confuse the opinions of the ‘narrator’ of the song with the songwriter (though this assumption is usually made, for instance in rap). The song is from the point of view of a narrator who is obviously uncomfortable with modernity and in expressing his lament he exposes some commonalities between millenarians of all kinds, religious and secular. And at the same time he may have just as well taken a leaf from Pat Buchanan’s book with lyrics such as these:

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby:
it is murder.

However I’ve noticed that the reference to ‘anal sex’ in the early part of the original studio version has been replaced in this performance with ‘careless sex’. Anyway, hear and watch it for yourself rather than let me ruin it with too much analysis.


Written by Admin

December 3, 2006 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. The studio version was used to good effect in the soundtrack to Natural Born Killlers.


    December 3, 2006 at 8:52 pm

  2. this one is pretty powerful too

    “Ah you loved me as a loser, but now you’re worried that I just might win
    You know the way to stop me, but you don’t have the discipline
    How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begin
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

    I don’t like your fashion business mister
    And I don’t like these drugs that keep you thin
    I don’t like what happened to my sister
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin”

    Both these songs have a sort of post 9/11 quality about them and they were written well before it happened.

    Jason Soon

    December 3, 2006 at 9:10 pm

  3. I saw him in a concert years ago. Good stuff, but man you need an upper after listening to him


    December 3, 2006 at 9:51 pm

  4. Grim song. Hey, Len, that’s no way to say goodbye.


    December 3, 2006 at 11:58 pm

  5. according to this wiki entry, Cohen volunteered for the 1973 Israeli war

    In 1973, Cohen, who had traveled to Jerusalem to sign up on the Israeli side in the 1973 war with Egypt, had instead been assigned to a USO-style entertainer tour of front-line tank emplacements in the Sinai Desert, at one of which he both came under fire and reportedly shared cognac with an unlikely self-professed fan, then-General Ariel Sharon. Disillusioned by encounters with captured and wounded enemy troops, and having expressed ambivalence from the start about the causes of the conflict, he eventually left, but not before beginning to write his song “Lover Lover Lover,” as he later claimed, “for the soldiers of both sides.”

    Jason Soon

    December 4, 2006 at 7:45 am

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