Leonard Cohen

(JiHAE, by Paola Kudacki)

Flavorwire Premiere: JiHAE’s “Brave Ones” Gives Voice to Her Father’s Vietnam PTSD

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The Vietnam War inspired some of the most powerful songs of its era, but it’s rare to hear it discussed by younger artists in the 21st century. This generation’s got its own political battles to fight, but from where New York rocker and multimedia artist JiHAE stands, our present is more connected to our wartime past than we want to acknowledge. It’s why she wrote “Brave Ones,” off her forthcoming album Illusion of You, after watching her father struggle with PTSD in the decades following his service in Vietnam.
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10 Sad Songs That Will Make You Surprisingly Happy

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The UN, which apparently doesn’t have anything better to do, has released what it’s calling a list of the world’s happiest songs, in support of something called the International Day of Happiness. If you’re of a certain persuasion, though, you probably regard “happy” songs with the sort of creeping dread you otherwise reserve for “bubbly” shop assistants and “uplifting” motivational homilies. And you’re not the only one — there’s been plenty of research into why sad songs can leave us feeling happy (and, conversely, hearing Pharrell’s “Happy” one more time can leave one with the urge to kill). Scientific evidence aside, there are certain songs that, while undoubtedly sad, are somehow also uplifting — happy/sad songs, for want of a better term. Here are ten of our favorites.
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The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: All Kendrick Everything

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With our intrepid music editor Jillian Mapes braving SXSW this week, it’s fallen to those of us still left at snowy Flavorwire central to keep you updated on the best songs of the last seven days. Happily, it’s been a hell of a good seven days for music, largely thanks to one K. Lamar, who released a flat-out masterpiece over the weekend. As well as Kendrick, though, there’s new Leonard Cohen, along with a bunch of other interesting stuff. Click though to listen.
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7 Musicians Who Should Guest Star on ‘Empire’ Season 2

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Along with the addictive soap-opera storylines and the utter perfection that is Cookie Lyon, Empire is a great show because it never stops surprising us with its lineup of guest stars — many of whom are very famous musicians. Last night’s finale brought Patti LaBelle and Snoop Dogg (along with Rita Ora), topping off a season where Mary J. Blige, Courtney Love, and Gladys Knight also made appearances. Now that Empire is the biggest hit of the 2014-15 TV season, it should have access to just about any name on the Billboard charts for Season 2. With that in mind, here are a few ambitious suggestions.
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A Selection of Hitherto Unseen Responses to Famous Songs

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The idea of writing a song lyric as a letter is one that’s as old as music itself, but if you’re like Flavorwire, you may have occasionally found yourself wondering: what if the recipient of the song in question wrote back? What might they have to say? Wonder no longer, dear readers, because through the magic of a program that grants access to the the hitherto undiscovered secret archives of rock (aka Photoshop CS5), here are the unseen responses to a bunch of our favorite “letter” songs.
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50 Great Songs Based on Literary Characters

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Songwriters take their inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, and since many of them are also voracious readers, it’s no surprise that there have been many great songs written over the years about literary characters. As these songs unite two of our great loves here at Flavorwire — books and music — we’ve compiled a bumper list of 50 of the… Read More

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen and the Art of the Love Song

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Fifteen years ago this week, Nick Cave gave a lecture to the Vienna Poetry Festival called “The Secret Life of the Love Song.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, because it’s a fascinating insight into the process of songwriting, but I’m bringing it up today because over the course of the lecture, Cave mentions Leonard Cohen precisely once. He does so in the context of discussing the concept of duende: “All love songs must contain duende,” he says, “because the love song is never simply happy… Contemporary rock music seems less inclined to have at its soul, restless and quivering, the sadness that [Federico García] Lorca talks about. Excitement, often, anger, sometimes — but true sadness, rarely. Bob Dylan has always had it. Leonard Cohen deals specifically with it.”
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