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The Importance of Balance – Mr.Cohen –

July 8, 2008

Recently I have had few minor epiphanies.

Most of them have to do with the ways to present my own band to the world.

Although Hoover and I are on the cutting edge of what bands need to do to get their music heard, there must be a balance to all that bands do online.

You must have quality music and a quality online presence.

You must have a compelling personality but you must keep it honest.

You must please your fans but you must stay true to yourself.

You must have melody and you must have lyrics.

So this brings me to Leonard Cohen.

I was late to the Leonard Cohen party. Before I was a music lover I was a poetry lover. I remember reading Leonard Cohen’s poetry and thinking that it was good, but it wasn’t me. It didn’t speak to the teenager that I was.

William Carlos Williams did that.

When I finally found Leonard Cohen I came in strictly through the melody.

‘Suzanne’ then ‘So Long Marianne’ and finally ‘Bird on a Wire.’

They all had disarmingly simple melodies mixed with multilayer complex, yet instantly accessible, lyrics.

Those songs had Balance. Those songs were his total, carved in stone classics.

When i listened to the rest of his catalog I found that many songs were painfully beautiful.

Love, Light, Darkness, Death and flawed characters litter his music. But they were not always paired with a great melody. They were songs for himself and his truest of fans. They lacked the fragile balance that his ‘Hits’ have. Now there is nothing wrong with songs that are not ‘Hits’ but they always are imbalanced.

Balance, or Equality, or Ying and Yang, or Light and Dark is central to making a great record. When artists find that balance the world is richer.

Look for that balance. It’s inside you. Its the wise old part of you that always knows what you should do. We sometimes drown it out with things that occupy our time but ultimately those time wasters are false and fruitless.

and so I’ll bring it back home. My band has been recording a ‘Hit’ song for sometime now. Every time we got a mix something has been wrong. We’ve tried to add more guitars, more distortion, more words, more keys, but we are just adding to the imbalance. We must, and we will, find that balance.

So with that I’ll leave you with my favorite Leonard Cohen song. His most balanced song. At least to me. Sung by another balanced artist. Johnny Cash

Balance baby, Balance.


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