22 March 2012

Sad-Sounding Love Songs

In my grand collection of love songs that sound sad, I have finally found the one song to trump all others. Behold! I give you Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the End of Love, as performed by The Civil Wars:

Now, I know what you're thinking. Why not just use good o'l Leonard's version...well, that was a little too 80s, if you know what I mean.

What makes this such a tragic love song is that it is based on the string quartets who were forced to play at the death camps while their fellow prisoners were marched into the crematoria. According to Cohen the line

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
where 'beauty' means "the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation." Further, "it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved."

He believed that it is unnecessary for anyone to know the origin story of the song, because "if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity."

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_Me_to_the_End_of_Love