[lit-ideas] Re: [lit-ideas] Culture Desk: Leonard Cohen’s “Going Home” : The New Yorker

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2012 11:55:16 +0000 (GMT)

 From: Ursula Stange <ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
>Listen...and then read the heartfelt comments below the song.   Leonard is 

Yeh. Too-f---g-loved.*

Cohen raises a problem that other artists, like Dylan, also raise: their 
all-too-loving fans. They're enough to put you off (as Dylan observes in 'No 
Direction Home', "You can kill with kindness"). And the abiding suspicion is 
that what they get from the artist is a pale and self-satisfying imitation of 
what the artist is actually offering [Woody Allen sent this up re Dylan in 
"Annie Hall" with the Shelley Duvall character who is awestruck by the 
profundity of  the chorus of "Just Like A Woman" (though one suspects Woody 
might think there is little more to Dylan than what that character 'gets')]; 
and so they do the object of their devotion a disservice. In Cohen's case, his 
schtick might be summarised as offering some of these fans a romantic vision of 
themselves as 'beautiful losers'; but the ironic and perverse and self-mocking 
elements of Cohen's own 'beautiful losers' personae tend to be downplayed, if 
not scrubbed from, these fans' appreciation. It
 makes them rather pathetic and deluded looking - losers maybe, but not so 
beautiful as they care to think. That they might be simply deeply affected, 
rather than at all amused, by Cohen's new "Going Home" is a case in point.

Dylan went through a hideous phase, shown by "Empire Burlesque", of trying for 
some modish production and even singing in a terribly mannered way, but on his 
recent records ("Time Out Of Mind" onwards) his singing, and the playing and 
production, would be worth the price of admission even if those records did not 
also contain some of his best songs. But Cohen has long and consistently opted, 
presumably deliberately, for musical backdrops that tend to 'muzak' (including 
the kindergarten clippety-clop undertow of new song 'Going Home' and its girly 
chorus) - anyone who finds this great and affecting and sophisticated music, 
without bemusement at its MORish schmaltz and very limited musical structures 
and palette, is only one step away from taking Mantovani and Liberace seriously 
as great artists. It can only work as music if taken as some kind of joke. How 
many Cohen fans would head the queue agreeing? There were none in the queue of 
"heartfelt comments".

*see 'Spinal Tap'
Who inwardly cheered when Chris Addison expressed his derisive view of the 
"awful" Shami Chakrabarti  ("She screeches like a spoilt six year old") in 
yesterday's London 'Metro'


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