New & Improved Leonard Cohen Lyrics

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Leonard Cohen Consultation Proposal

To: Leonard Cohen Business Management Team
From: DrHGuy, Ghost Lyricist
Re: Improving Leonard Cohen’s Lyrics To  Increase Gross Revenues and Enhance Return On Investment

___________________

First, I want to clarify that  it’s not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with Mr. Cohen’s lyrics.

I’ve gone through all of his songs in the past two weeks and some are, in fact, quiet -uh, well, … remarkable. Yes, that’s what they are, remarkable.

But, with all respect, we have to ask, “Are these songs reaching their full potential ROI-wise?”

After all, I’m told, that Mr. Cohen is known for working on his  lyrics for long periods, sometimes revising a song over a period of years. Surely, he and his business representatives want to make the most of those efforts.

That’s where I come in. As a Lyrics Revisions Consultant,1 I show songwriters – discreetly, of course – variations on their lyrics that can extend their utility which, in turn, increases the earning power of those works.

And if those revisions also happen to aesthetically improve the originals, then everybody wins, don’t we?

The Demonstration

Mr. Cohen has, I understand, experienced a financial setback because of a failed business relationship so I wouldn’t expect him to sign on without a demonstration of my skills. Consequently, as a sort of audition, I’ve taken a handful of his more well-known lines and reworked them to enhance their income potential.

In this exercise, the rewritten lines may not precisely match the original  rhyme schemes and meter, but from the work I might or might not have done with Bob Dylan but  cannot disclose because of privacy restrictions, I can assure Mr. Cohen that it is possible to fit almost any number of syllables and sound sequences into any tune.

Revisions That Enhance Commercial Potential

Mr. Cohen’s work, I’m informed, is rarely used in commercials. Thankfully, this tragedy can be rectified by executing a few minor changes. Consider the following:

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Revised:
There is a crack in everything
That’s why one should consider buying the extended warranty package.

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Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
I ache in the places where I used to play

Revised:
I ache in the places where I neglected to apply Ben-Gay

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
Whither thou goest, I will go

Revised:
Whither thou goest, the Leonard Cohen-endorsed GPS can calculate your location and list every restaurant and ATM within 5 miles

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder

Revised:
See “There is a crack in everything”

Revisions That Enhance Accessibility By Wider Audience By Increasing Resonance With Everyday Life

Accessibility is the most significant problem in selling Mr. Cohen’s songs. While his music  has a devoted following, there are many more potential buyers who “just don’t get it.”  My analysis shows that the problem lies in the difficulty many people have in relating to the scenes, ideas, and feelings described.  By connecting the compositions with day-to-day life and current events and by rephrasing them to use the vernacular, the songs become something the “ordinary Joe” can understand and relate to. Done carefully, this can be accomplished with minimal loss in the quality of the conceptual content or musicology of the songs.

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

Revised:
First, we take Route 14 to McHenry Boulevard and turn right.  Then  we take McHenry all the way to  Randall …2

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.

Revised:
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but we could still, you know, be friends.

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
And there are no letters in the mailbox
and there are no grapes upon the vine,
and there are no chocolates in the boxes anymore,
and there are no diamonds in the mine.

Revised:
And there are no letters in the mailbox
and there are no grapes upon the vine,
and there are no chocolates in the boxes anymore,

and there are no diamonds in the mine.

Does the name “Bernie Madoff” mean anything to you?

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
I’m back on Boogie Street.

Revised:
If you lived on Boogie Street, you would be home now.

end3

LC Original:
Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river

Revised:
Now Suzanne takes your hand
and tells you if you touch her there again, …

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
And I can’t forget, I can’t forget
I can’t forget but I don’t remember what

Revised:
And I can’t forget, I  uh … what were we talking about?
end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
I remember you
well in the Chelsea Hotel,

Revised:
I have no memory of you
and I’ve ever been to the Chelsea Hotel
I’m a happily married man.

Revisions That Enhance Humor

I can see that some of Mr. Cohen’s music is quite droll, but Joe Six-pack, Mrs. Six-pack, and all the little Six-packs don’t respond to droll. They want something a bit more obvious to give with the giggles. For example,

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
Now in Vienna there’s ten pretty women

Revised:
Now in Vienna there’s ten pretty women, but apparently none of them are here tonight [rim shot]

Revisions That Enhance Image By Providing Public Service

Public Service Announcements that use Mr. Cohen’s music could introduce an entirely new portion of the population to his work. Besides, it’s an opportunity to give a little back to the community, not to mention clean up Mr. Cohen’s reputation.

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
There ain’t no cure for love

Revised:
There ain’t no cure for genital herpes but there is evidence that daily oral antiviral medication in conjunction with safer sex practices can reduce the risk of transmitting the disease among heterosexual monogamous partners.

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
If you want a lover
I’ll do anything you ask me to

Revised:
If you want a lover I’ll do anything – within reason, of course – you ask me to
- as long as it doesn’t involve any unsafe sexual practices
and it’s not illegal, doesn’t perpetuate sexual stereotypes
and doesn’t conflict with current, local social mores.
Also, it would be good if no animals are harmed.
You know, we should probably meet beforehand with our lawyers present to work out the details.

end3

Revisions That Enhance Interaction With Other Stars

Singing duets with other stars, even dead ones, is all the rage. A slight alteration in the lyrics of some pieces would encourage these events. For example,

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
And who by fire

Revised:
And who started the fire [Cue Billy Joel - We Didn't Start The Fire]

Revisions That Enhance Didactic Usage

The educational market is one that deserves exploration.

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

Revised:
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.
In a business letter, you’ll do better to use formal valedictions such as “Yours truly” or “Very truly yours.”
For example, “Sincerely, L. Cohen”

Revisions That Enhance Use In A TV Or Movie Soundtrack

For this example, I’m thinking a Law & Order sort of series would be the right setting.

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
I’ve seen the future, brother:
it is murder.

Revised:
I’ve seen the future, brother:
it is murder – unless you turn state’s evidence and plea down to manslaughter

end3

An Aside To Mr. Cohen: I found something while searching for potential passages for soundtrack use that compels me to interrupt this demo to address Mr. Cohen directly. I think there are parts of your song, “Hallelujah,” that could fit in one or even more soundtracks – if a few changes are made. For example, this part where you sing “But you don’t really care for music, do you?” is a problem. Ya see, first of all, you’re insulting the people you want to buy your song. Lennie, baby (is it OK if I call you Lennie, baby?), you gotta act nice and suck up to the folks who might buy your stuff. Besides, how can you tell the same people who are listening to your song that they don’t really like music?  It doesn’t make sense, does it? Look, I understand. You’re just a kid with a crazy dream and you’re thinking about structural integrity of the song, refusing to condescend to the audience, bla bla bla, that sort of stuff, right? But, I’m telling you for your own good – you gotta grow up. Do you want to be playing concerts in Glace Bay or at a Yarra Valley winery when you’re 74? I love ya, kid, but you’re killing me. Anyway, if we fix that “don’t really care for music” thing and a couple of other glitches, I bet we can get this sucker on two or maybe even three soundtracks.

end3

Original Leonard Cohen Lyrics:
Oh the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots

These lines are fine; I just put them here at the end as a reminder to myself. I heard Mr. Cohen has a gig in New York later in a week or two. I thought maybe I’d stop by, catch the show, and afterwards we could get together to have a few drinks, tell some lies, and talk over this deal at a joint I know where women tearing their blouses off is a definite possibility, if you know what I mean.

You’ll be hearing from me, baby,

dguysig1

  1. Lyrics Revisions Consultant is the preferred name these days for Ghost Lyricist, which I still have on my business card because I’m old school. []
  2. Note possible tie-in with the Leonard Cohen-endorsed GPS []

0 Responses to New & Improved Leonard Cohen Lyrics

  1. You’ve crossed the line this time DrH! You’ve gone too far. It’s like our visit to the moon or to that other star I guess you go for… scaring the crap out of me with these revisions that round up the herd… if you’re really gonna go that far. What’s next? Be for Real-ality TV! grrrrrr