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He is almost your audience
December 10, 2011 5:15 PM   Subscribe

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there

And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.
posted by Apropos of Something (30 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
And you want to out Friday
posted by davebush at 5:20 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is great! Suzanne is one of my favorite songs. I♥LC
posted by phunniemee at 5:21 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of my favorites
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 5:56 PM on December 10, 2011


Man, nobody wants to cover Randy Newman's Suzanne.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:05 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


No Flying Lizards? For shame.

Of course, there's no live video, so maybe that's it.
posted by sonascope at 6:11 PM on December 10, 2011


Isn't Suzanne a boat?
posted by jan murray at 6:11 PM on December 10, 2011


For the last time, Canadians DON'T say "a boat" instead of "about".
posted by maudlin at 6:14 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's more " abeut".
posted by brujita at 6:22 PM on December 10, 2011


I'm not normally a fan of Leonard Cohen, but it's nice at the gym.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:45 PM on December 10, 2011


Thanks for the work in putting this together--it is much appreciated. The test of time is an excellent test. Also, The story of Suzanne is intriguing--unknown to me. Enjoyed a bit more searching and updating the story.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:53 PM on December 10, 2011


The Geoffrey Oryema cover from I'm Your Fan.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:54 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


It took me ages to realize this was a cover.
posted by HFSH at 6:56 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nina Simone wins, as usual.
posted by hermitosis at 7:39 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was named after this song. The other name in the running was "joy". My parents are weird.
posted by capnsue at 8:01 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I had an English teacher in high school who thought this song was really amazing, and we spent several classes going through it. I was a nerd even then and it didn't do anything for me. I'm not sure which version of it we were forced to listen to (about 1970), but the only thing I really remember thinking was, "He's singing flat."

It still doesn't do anything for me. I guess different people like different things.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:16 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


this post is the best thing i've seen here in months. like stepping onto an island full of strange and familiar wonders.
posted by kitchenrat at 8:37 PM on December 10, 2011


Hey, I didn't see this version. I think Tom Rapp cuts to the very soul of the song on his cover.
posted by birdhaus at 9:04 PM on December 10, 2011


You almost can't ruin this song. Well, except . . . .
posted by birdhaus at 9:12 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


It still doesn't do anything for me.

I love this song, and I'll try to explain why, from an analysis standpoint.

First, the music. Here's the chord structure, two bars per line.

Verse: E E | F#m F#m | E E | G#m A | E F#m | E F#m | E

Chorus: G#m A | E F#m | E

The verse and chorus well crafted. The first two chords (E and F#m) are both two bars each. And then it goes back for two bars of E, so you expect two of F#m, but NO, it ascends and plays one bar each of G#m and A, which gives it an emotional kick. Then it goes back and does only one bar of E and F#m, not once but twice. This causes some tension for resolution.

Then in the chorus it brings back the G#m and A which were foreshadowed in the verse, and because of the tension scratch your brain like it had an itch. It's also like an old friend, and it totally lifts things up.

As for the words, the most meaningful verse to me is the last, and I think this verse is probably the core of the song with the rest as padding. There's the woman-as-ocean comparison in the second verse (using Jesus is always kind of a cheap shot), and the first gives Suzanne a really mysterious gypsy quality. But in the third: This is where we realize that Leonard Cohen is in love with a manic pixie dream girl, and we just feel sorry for him, because we've been there too, man. We've been there too.
posted by hanoixan at 9:17 PM on December 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Damnit. Unordered lists look different between the preview and the actual post. Where's the 1min edit window when I need it? :)
posted by hanoixan at 9:17 PM on December 10, 2011


And the sun pours down like honey On our lady of the harbour

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is an old church in downtown Montreal. Outside facing the river is a statue of the Virgin Mary. Inside the chapel are various detailed model ships. Models of ships whose crews did not survive.
posted by ovvl at 10:29 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the last time, Canadians DON'T say "a boat" instead of "about".

They most certainly do- native, English-speaking Canadians do. What they don't say is "aboot."

But the real Canadian shibboleth is "sorry," pronounced like "sooory." Coast to coast to coast and no place else in North America (vs "a boat," which is also how they pronounce in some parts of the US, like in parts of Arkansas).
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:19 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Once upon a time...
posted by y2karl at 11:27 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am drunk and I am in Montreal and I just closed a bar here talking to a guy from France about how amazing this city is and I just want to say that Leonard Cohen RULES.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:42 AM on December 11, 2011


Maybe that lyric wasn't inspired by Wallace Steven's Sunday Morning.

OTOH, I wouldn't dare to try to set the Stevens to music. So it's his own fault.
posted by Twang at 3:16 AM on December 11, 2011


I'm your Fan.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 5:29 AM on December 11, 2011


I'm not a fan, but I am a grudging admirer.

The 'not a fan' part comes from his mostly dreadful recordings. A droning,often flat - in both senses -'60s folkie juxtaposed with cheesy disco-pop accompaniment. Yuck. His recording of Suzanne is listenable because it wasn't popped up. And because it is good musically as well as fine poetry. (Excellent breakdown, hanoixan)

But mainly I'm jealous that this gaunt, sensitive ghoul is a chick-magnet and it took me forever to understand why, and to accept that romantically he occupies a plane that I will never ever comprehend, let alone envy. They didn't teach that stuff in engineering...

Jennifer Warne helped make his music more accessible to me, but Cohen's place in Heaven is assured by Suzanne, and especially Hallelujah, when covered by other people. k. d. lang ftw.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:33 AM on December 11, 2011


I wore out my Colors of the Day album as a teenage girl and Suzanne was a huge mystery to me-- it was haunting and oblique and I had no idea, yet, who Leonard Cohen was. Then I discovered Him. Oh My God.

I have too many favorite Cohen songs for me to list, but the one (sung by him) that I loved first: Famous Blue Raincoat Just the opening bars can cause me to fall into a schoolgirl-crush swoon.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:28 AM on December 11, 2011


Memories of one of the best jukeboxes in Cambridge, MA and one of the very few places ( at the time) where Guinness was served on draught. But why no mention of Peter Gabriel's sublime cover?
posted by Gungho at 7:48 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


What happened to Suzanne? [Concrete has no bounce, no mercy; it's completely unforgiving.]
posted by unliteral at 4:05 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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