Friday, September 5, 2008

Sad Songs Are Nature’s Onions (Pt. 2)

(This is part of a long series about sad songs and how they are nature’s onions.)

Leonard Cohen-”Everybody Knows”

No one does sad songs quite like Leonard Cohen. He’s also one of those guys who, like Bob Dylan, gets covered more than the pancakes at IHOP. Some people say he can’t sing. I’m not one of those people. I appreciate the emotive notes in his voice, even if he can’t really hit any musical notes. “Everybody Knows” is a song about resignation. No matter how much you cry and complain, you won’t change anyone’s mind. Because “Everybody Knows” already. It’s a very pessimistic world view, but it’s also a brilliant song.

And, with one of the trillion cover versions, Concrete Blonde:


  1. in a round about way, Christian Slater introduced me to Leonard Cohen. Two of his songs are in the movie "Pump Up the Volume" and I fell in love with them, becoming sorely disappointed that the concrete blonde cover was the only version featured on the soundtrack. i think i was 12? wow.i was a weird kid

  2. Everybody Knows is one of my favorites as well. Two specific uses of this song have struck me as interesting enough to warrant a post: (1) In Atom Egoyan’s Exotica, Mia Kirshner dances to Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows at a Toronto gentleman’s club (Women Disrobe While Leonard Cohen Music Plays - Yet, Something Feels Wrong) and (2) Everybody Knows, a Leonard Cohen-Sharon Robinson song delivered in Cohen's famously deep, raspy voice, the final result, according to Cohen himself, of “about 500 tons of whiskey and millions of cigarettes,” was used as the music for a major anti-smoking ad in Australia during the Olympics (Leonard Cohen - From Marlboro Man To Anti-smoking Troubador).