10. “Love Calls You By Your Name” : The smooth, carefully-plucked guitar chords heard at the beginning of this song draw listeners into its heavy and emotionally-charged lyrics. Calm and poetic, Cohen’s lines are sung like a narrative; each verse jumping from one allegorical image to the next.
9. “Coming Back To You” : A song of regret and longing, Cohen’s voice and lyrics make this song the ultimate breakup anthem for all romantics.
8. “Take This Waltz” : Romantic and elegant, this song invites listeners to dream of Vienna in the 1920s. “Take This Waltz” is actually a loose translation of a poem by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who is reportedly one of Cohen’s favorite writers.
7. “Joan of Arc” : In the final song of his third album, Songs of Love and Hate, Cohen retells the melancholic story of one of history’s greatest heroines, Joan of Arc. Cohen’s poetic story telling techniques shine through and captivate listeners with lines like “I long for love and light / but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?”
6. “So Long, Marianne” : Known as one of his most romantic songs, “So Long, Marianne” is laced with nostalgia and romanticism. The song was written for his lover Marianne, whom he describes as the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
5. “Famous Blue Raincoat” : From the start of the song, Cohen draws you in with his raw and honest confessions. Listeners cannot resist this soft-spoken, guitar-accompanied beauty.
4. “I’m Your Man” : Layered with soothing and dark synths, “I’m Your Man” features Cohen’s signature deep vocals and brooding lyrics. The lyrics read like a love poem, where Cohen croons and seduces listeners with lines like “I’d fall at your feet / and I’d howl at your beauty / like a dog in heat”.
3. “Everybody Knows” : Fun music and dark lyrics make “Everybody Knows” the perfect song to sing and sway to when things just aren’t going your way. It is filled with social commentary, like “the poor stay poor, the rich get rich”. Cohen sardonically calls out to his unfaithful lover, telling her that everyone knows she loves him, but is also cheating on him.
2. “Hallelujah” : Cohen’s most famous song, “Hallelujah” is filled with biblical imagery — like the stories of King David and Bathsheba and the betrayal between Samson and Delilah. Many musicians, including Rufus Wainwright and K.D. Lang, have covered this little gem.
1. “Suzanne” : Cohen’s ultimate love song. Accompanied by female backup vocals, Cohen sings of the mystique and beauty of a young woman named Suzanne, who he later revealed was the former wife of Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt. With lyrics like “you want to travel with him / and you want to travel blind / and you think maybe you’ll trust him / for he’s touched your perfect body with his mind”, it’s easy to see how this song captivates listeners of any generation.