Today’s Music: Oh, all sorts! See below…
Note: I just needed to get this off my chest. It was annoying the hell out of me.
Driving back from a really good noodle place (I had the broad rice noodle soup with beef brisket stew. TMWGITU had the mei fun noodle soup with duck. Delicious!), wfuv (stream here) played a live version of Leonard Cohen singing Tower of Song.
Let’s listen, shall we? (It’s a bit long, but this is the same version that set me off tonight.)
No, not really. The lyrics are pretty good. The sentiment of the song, also pretty good.
Leonard writes a great song, but his performance ain’t worth a damn.
So how can you tell it’s a great song?
Toms live version gives the song depth. He wakes up the sadness, the experience, the pathos,and gives it voice. Leonard? Well. he sounds like he’s performing on buffet night at the I-66 Hilton.
(Even more poignant is this video version by time, which is even stronger. I used this as a “Today’s Music” shortly after I heard it.)
Still think I’m slandering a genius? Try this on – one of his most popular (and best) songs.
This time, we’ll start with the cover.
If you’re familiar with the song, you know it’s very poignant and moving. So moving, even Bon Jovi can’t screw it up. It’s a bit hammy, but still…
Here’s Leonard’s original.
Did you know if you show your ticket stub at the check-in desk, they give you a free continental breakfast?
None of this is meant to knock Leonard’s skill or talent. There’s a story I heard, perhaps apocryphal, that Leonard couldn’t get any traction as a poet, so he began setting his poems to music to get a wider audience. And it worked. Google “Leonard Cohen”,and you get a wealth of information – the artists he’s influenced, the impact his songs have had, the lives he’s touched.
And god bless him for that.
But I doubt it was his singing that did it.
I expect many of you will disagree vociferously in the comments.