Song of the Day, May 16: First We Take Manhattan by Leonard Cohen

CohenManhattanToday’s song kicked off a bold new chapter in an amazing career. Poet and novelist Leonard Cohen began setting his words to music in the late 60s, encouraged by folk legend Judy Collins. He recorded two spare acoustic folk albums filled with amazing songs, then began experimenting — with varied results. In 1988 he released I’m Your Man, reinvigorating his career with a masterpiece.

The opening track, First We Take Manhattan, is a perfect introduction. With urgent synth and a dark, surging beat under Cohen’s dark rumble of a vocal, it declares itself as something familiar but new. It’s a tale of espionage and intrigue, filled with smart observations and Cohen’s trademark cynicism. Powerful and haunting, it remains a standout in an impressive catalog.

Enjoy this wonderful song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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