Another Kind Of Love

This post came about after yet another listen of a Leonard Cohen song, a personal favourite of both my wife and me. It is really an extension of an earlier post of mine featuring a couple of superb pieces of music exemplifying two very different facets of love. Perhaps this would have been more befitting last Thursday but we were not listening to Cohen then, busy as we were with something else.

Much has been written about Leonard Cohen, that brilliant songwriter and owner of a most unusual voice. “I’m Your Man” was the first album of his that I heard and I was thrilled with the sound and for a change, I actually paid attention to the lyrics. The title song from that album was the prompt for this post. In turns tender and lascivious and funny but always passionate, this is no expression of puppy love. This is an unrepentant, unrelenting, desperate, completely focused declaration.

If you want a lover 
I’ll do anything you ask me to 
And if you want another kind of love 
I’ll wear a mask for you
And I’d howl at your beauty 
Like a dog in heat 
And I’d claw at your heart 
And I’d tear at your sheet
And if you want to work the street alone 
I’ll disappear for you 
If you want a father for your child 
Or only want to walk with me a while 
Across the sand 
I’m your man

And quite different from the diffused, diffident love of another clever songwriter. On “Seven Days” Sting’s hassled protagonist is forced into a primeval mating dance by his girlfriend serving him “you or him” notice. It doesn’t help that his rival for the prized hand is built rather like a prize fighter.

Ask if I am mouse or man
The mirror squeaked, away I ran
He’ll murder me in time for his tea
Does it bother me at all
My rival is Neanderthal, it makes me think
Perhaps I need a drink
IQ is no problem here
We won’t be playing Scrabble for her hand I fear
I need that beer

It’s one of popular music’s numerous travesties that Scottish band Orange Juice never quite made it. Their music independent pop music with its streak of romanticism was the antithesis to the brashness of punk that was riding strong on the airwaves then. Lead singer and guitarist, Edwyn Collins however finally did get his dues on the superb “Gorgeous George” released in 1994. There are a number of great songs on it but the one that’s best known is “A Girl Like You”. The music, especially the guitar that teeters on the edge of coming unhinged and the seemingly innocuous yet somehow eerie xylophone (or something similar), layers in a stronger tone of menace to the lyrics, a feeling that this might be more than just another exhibition of undying love.

I’ve never known a girl like you before
Now just like in a song from days of yore
Here you come a-knockin’, knockin’ on my door
And I’ve never met a girl like you before

You give me just a taste, so I want more
Now my hands are bleeding and my knees are raw
‘Cause now you’ve got me
Crawlin’ crawlin’ on the floor
And I’ve never known a girl like you before