Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are two of my favourite artists because of their songwriting abilities. I wrote this blog to show appreciation and describe the effects of their beautiful lyrics on me.
Darkness at the break of noon; shadows even the silver spoon; the handmade blade, the child’s balloon…It’s All Right Ma – Bob Dylan
At first glance, these words might seem random; lacking a backbone, having a vague meaning. But under close inspection, these directionless words all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Bob Dylan’s It’s All Right Ma is a raindrop in the ocean of his songwriting ingenuity. Bob isn’t the average good songwriter that will take you to the moon with his lyrics, he will instead take you to another ‘moon’ right next to the one we see. Bob through his words will give you things unobtainable, make you imagine things unimaginable, take you places you never knew existed. Bob won’t breathe fresh air into your lungs, Bob will give you a new atmosphere of ‘pink oxygen’ altogether. Bob won’t give you the best of this world, he will open the door to another dimension where pigs fly and fish have feathers. Every time I listen to the song “Every Grain of Sand”— “Like criminals, they have chocked the breath of conscience and good cheer”—I ask myself: “how can he tie together pleasure, discomfort, knowledge, ignorance, wisdom, and curiosity all I one song?” On top of being a beyond exceptional songwriter, Bob has a voice of ‘change’, or ‘longing’ and ‘desire’. If rebellion had a voice, it would sound like Bob. If Bob and I both declared that shoes of any kind a re of no use to mankind and should be discarded from our civilization; you would be more inclined to listen to Bob because his voice conveys deeper wisdom. In his song “Hurricane”, his captivating voice played a significant role in delivering a harsh but true message about the racial prejudice in handling Rubin Carter’s case. Bob is a blessing to the musical community and human civilization in general. He is and will always be my favorite musician of all time.
From bitter searching of the heart, quickened with passion and with pain we rise, to play a greater part…Villanelle for Our Time – Leonard Cohen
Most songs are basically lines of thought stretching from one point to another. But Leonard Cohen’s songs, on the other hand, are circular: they stretch your imagination from one point to another then bring you back to the starting point. His songs all have a sense of fulfilment, a sort of joyous feeling. In Villanelle for Our Time, Leonard shows his poetic skills tied alongside his impressive wordplay while delivering a satisfyingly powerful message. Leonard with his poetic justice won’t just simply take you on a trip to wonderland, Leonard will lay down a red carpet for you from your hallway into his Limousine. Leonard will drive you to wonderland and laugh and joke with you all the way. Leonard will serve you food and dine with you, and at the end of it all, he will drive you back home. Of the many songs I have heard, no one quite embraces two opposite qualities as Leonard does. He has the audacity of a gang leader, the humility of a monk, the patience of a vulture, the energy of a cheetah and finally the contrast of a silence night and volume of a bustling New York. He shows his audacity in the song Memories, humility in The Traitor, patience in Show Me the Place, energy in There Is a War, gentleness in Lullaby, and loudness in Dance Me to The End of Love. He writes with a characteristic spiritual symbolism that makes his music more tangible and real, which is very evident in his song Hallelujah which has been engraved on many hearts including mine. One of my personal favourites is Joan of Arc, where he depicts a conversation between fire and Joan of Arc. It is a sad song so delicately and passionately written that it sends chills down your spine and to your core. A conversation about great songwriters would be incomplete without mentioning Leonard Cohen. Whether I’m sad or low, happy or excited, Leonard is still one of my top choices when I’m in the mood for some music.