There Is A War

“There is a war between the ones who say there is a war/ And the ones who say that there isn’t”

This is the most acerbic that Leonard Cohen has ever gotten. Whatever he was going through in 1974, his songs from the time show disgruntlement. Perhaps he was simply discomfited to have to trade the anonymity of a working poet for the bright lights rock stardom. Cohen never shed the sense that he belonged in the literary world rather than the on the stage or the road. It may be no coincidence that his bleakest songs came out of the years when his status was most rock star-adjacent. Perhaps, in this case, the poet had a vision of a future culture so divided and threadbare that every foolhardy public word becomes a skirmish and ends with a firing squad.

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