Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Have I found something?

It occurs to me that the way Cohen uses 'the' and the nouns that follow requires a lot of work on the part of the listener/reader. He talks about 'your hair upon the pillow' but he hasn't explained who he is with or where they are, so the reader has to start to work it out. And he uses a lot of metaphor, like 'sleepy golden storm'. Now these are not hard to work out but when he says 'the monkey and the violin', the reader is left to wonder what it means (and I don't think that one is even a metaphor).And 'the gates of mercy in arbitrary space' needs a bit of thinking about. So we like his lyrics because they make us think. And work at meaning.

I have spent the afternoon drawing up a spreadsheet of Cohen's use of nouns and verbs compared with other pop songs. He uses nouns to a level that is more typical of fiction and verbs to a level more typical of conversation. Far more than the other lyrics do.

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