Lyrics We Love

Started by Chris L, Jul 11, 2017, 01:13 pm

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Chris L

Jul 11, 2017, 01:13 pm Last Edit: Jul 11, 2017, 01:41 pm by Chris L
This was one of the topics on the old board, where we could post lyrics we found particularly moving, witty or clever. I realize that there are possible copyright issues involved here and any requests by rights holders to take down specific lyrics will be honored immediately. On that note...

@AmyG mentioned Leonard Cohen's "You Want It Darker" over on Facebook and now I can't get it out of my head. As the title implies, it's one of Cohen's darkest lyrics, made even darker by his death shortly after the song was released. Cohen was not a deeply religious man, but in one of his last interviews he mentioned how he had been steeped in the Hebrew tradition in his youth to a much greater extent than younger Jews have been and that this was the tradition he drew the song from. He repeatedly uses the term "Hineni" throughout the song, which roughly translates as, "Here I am, Lord."

If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker...
We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker...
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

There's a lover in the story
But the story's still the same
There's a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it's written in the scriptures
And it's not some idle claim
You want it darker...
We kill the flame

They're lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker...
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the love that never came
You want it darker...
We kill the flame

If you are the dealer, let me out of the game
If you are the healer, I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame
You want it darker...
Hineni, hineni
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord


Here's the song itself on YouTube.

And here's an interview where Cohen talks, among other things, about the spiritual nature of his songs (at 7:30 in the video). Cohen appears frail and weak, but at the same time it's clear that he was as sharp, witty and as deep a thinker as he'd ever been.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?