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Quote of the week: Leonard Cohen

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"Songs have a very specific purpose. They must be measured by their utility. Any jaunty little tune that can get you from one point to another as you drive, or get you through the dishes, or that can illuminate or dignify your courting, I always appreciate. And to console yourself when you're lonely, and to rejoice with another when you're happy. That's all we really do in human life.

Music is like bread. It is one of the fundamental nourishments that we have available, and there are many different varieties and degrees and grades. A song that is useful, that touches somebody, must be measured by that utility alone. 'Cheap music' is an uncharitable description. If it touches you, it's not cheap. From a certain point of view, all our emotions are cheap, but those are the only ones we've got. It's loneliness and longing and desire and celebration."

- Leonard Cohen, a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, and personal relationships. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest lyricists of all time. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize. He died November 7, 2016, aged 82, at his home in Los Angeles, California, U.S.


Quoted in the New York Times, "AT LUNCH WITH Leonard Cohen; Philosophical Songwriter on a Wire," October 11, 1995, by JON PARELES.


Photography by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.

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