First we take Berlin

This post is about a song, written by Leonard Cohen, and released in 1988. I guess everybody knows it. But, have you listened or read the lyrics?

Leonard Cohen, Edinburgh Castle
Leonard Cohen, Edinburgh Castle, photo by jonl1973 on flickr

I’ve always found lyrics quite intriguing, and there are different interpretations about it, as you can read here. You can read lyrics below, or listen it. Is it about terrorism? About revolution? Is Manhattan related to atomic bomb or Wall Street? And Berlin? What do the monkey and the plywood violin mean? Leonard has clarified it in several occasions, not the details but the general matter. Summarizing in his own words, “It means exactly what it says”.

I can’t help thinking that nowdays, 24 years later, it seems a prophetical song. Leonard has apparently abandoned his plan, but maybe we should activate it. First I would take Berlin though, because Germany is destroying Europe again, third time in a century (Any way you slice it, Germany wins, an interesting post in Fortune).

Anyway, it’s a great song. Enjoy it.

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I’m guided by a signal in the heavens
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I’d really like to live beside you, baby
I love your body and your spirit and your clothes
But you see that line there moving through the station?
I told you I told you I told you I was one of those

You loved me as a loser
But now you’re worried that I just might win
You know the way to stop me
But you don’t have the discipline
How many nights I prayed for this:
to let my work begin
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I don’t like your fashion business, mister
And I don’t like these drugs
that keep you thin
I don’t like what happened to your sister
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

And thank you for those items that you sent me
The monkey and the plywood violin
I practiced every night and now I’m ready
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

Remember me, I used to live for music
Remember me,
I brought your groceries in
It’s Father’s Day and everybody’s wounded
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

Advertisements

Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s