Friday Jukebox: Leonard Cohen’s Anthem


Michelle Togut

Michelle Togut resides in North Carolina with her husband and pets. She has worked as an adjunct professor of history, contributor and writer, and small-firm attorney, among other things. These days, she's trying to sell real estate. For fun, she reads political blogs of all persuasions, practices yoga, drinks wine, hikes, reads, and volunteers for a local animal rescue.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Maribou says:

    This is my favorite song. I love your essay about it, too. Brava!Report

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    Minor quibble – Cohen is a Canuck (you’re welcome, Jonathan, Maribou, and all the rest…)

    Otherwise, great piece. Commenter NewDealer is the one who introduced me to the concept of Tikkun Olam, a concept I have since spent some time pondering.

    I saw this tour, and the man still had it. Mesmerizing, funny, even had stage moves that were surprising at his age.

    Cohen was extremely influential on 80’s musicians; maybe only Lou Reed had the kind of cachet Cohen did. Rather than gum up the works with all the links, I’ll just list some of my favorite Cohen covers.

    Pixies “I Can’t Forget”
    Ian McCulloch “Lover Lover Lover” and “Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”
    REM “First We Take Manhattan”
    Concrete Blonde “Everybody Knows”

    And my favorite of the bunch: Lloyd Cole’s “Chelsea Hotel” is *maybe* better than Leonard’s.Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    Great song, great read. Thank you.Report

  4. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I am not too familiar with Lenoard Cohen’s work and this is my first time hearing Anthem.

    So when I first saw the headline, I thought this would be about the myriad of covers of Hallelujah*.

    Of course, my favorite Leonard Cohen song is Who By Fire but I think Jews have a special relationship with this song. At least any Jew who has been to their fair share of High Holiday services.

    *I swear that every would be street bard needs to cover this song to show their “sensitive soul (TM)”. Interestingly they cover the elegiac Jeff Buckley version more than the Cohen original. The Cohen original is much more sardonic. I’ve had people react really negatively to the Cohen version. Viscerally so. The Buckley version made them feel “sexy”, the Cohen version something at the opposite end of the spectrum.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The council said
    At the break of day
    Sweep again
    We heard them say
    Don’t dwell on what
    Has passed away
    Nothing is yet to be

    Ah two five two one
    Found light again
    And three thousand
    Called him “un-con-quer-ed”
    Castle corrective detention
    The forest we’ll be free

    Light the bulbs that still can light
    Forget the scholar’s oversight
    There is a rock, a rock in uncharted
    And “EGO”‘s what it saysReport