That I speak no more: Remembering Leonard Cohen

To commemorate the work of Leonard Cohen, The Singles Jukebox commissioned blurbs for his greatest songs. Below is mine.

“If It Be Your Will”

I hear three things in 1984’s “If It Be Your Will” — a ballad of courtly love; a prayer to Yahweh too; also, Jennifer Warnes offering atonement for “Up Where We Belong.” The breakthrough is each time the chorus comes around, in which Cohen’s not yet dessicated burr is a whisper of humility, and Warnes answers him syllable for syllable while an electric piano recalls a bygone era of studio rock. This 151st Psalm hasn’t inspired many covers. A song that reduces “Hallelujah” to rubble won’t get covered.

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