Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

Leonard Cohen, “Avalanche” (1971)

Songs of Love and Hate might be Leonard Cohen’s most depraved album, which is saying a lot. Accounts of suicide (“Dress Rehearsal Rag”) and infidelity (“Famous Blue Raincoat”) leave an undeniable sting, but the 1971 LP’s creepiest moments come on opener “Avalanche,” which finds Cohen playing his classic role of stygian bard to perfection. Over rolling flamenco guitar and swelling strings, he portrays a hunchback living at the bottom of a gold mine: “Your laws do not compel me/To kneel grotesque and bare,” he sneers. Even as the song edges into dark obsession and, eventually, pure horror (“It is your turn, beloved/It is your flesh that I wear”), Cohen’s voice maintains a trancelike composure. No wonder gloom-rock poet laureate Nick Cave has been covering the song for more than 30 years.

The lyrics are based on a poem he had previously written. He acknowledged in a 1992 interview with Paul Zollo that his “chop”, his unique pattern of playing classical guitar, is behind many of his early songs, and this one features Cohen’s trademark fast, syncopated classical guitar pattern as the accompaniment on the recording of the song.

Leonard Cohen: Avalanche Song Of Love And Hate Released March 19, is included 1971

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