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Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan lyrics

(Radio announcer's voice)
Was die Attentäter betrifft, die in Berlin den Anschlag auf die Deutsch-Arabische Gesellschaft verübt haben, ist die Polizei einen Schritt weiter gekommen. Die jetzt nach dem Anschlag...

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I'm guided by a signal in the heavens
I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I'd really like to live beside you, baby
I love your body and your spirit and your clothes
But you see that line there moving through the station?
I told you, I told you, told you, I was one of those

Ah you loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win
You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline
How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begin
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I don't like your fashion business mister
And I don't like these drugs that keep you thin
I don't like what happened to my sister
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I'd really like to live beside you, baby ...

And I thank you for those items that you sent me
The monkey and the plywood violin
I practiced every night, now I'm ready
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I am guided

Ah remember me, I used to live for music
Remember me, I brought your groceries in
Well it's Father's Day and everybody's wounded
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

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Music Facts about Leonard Cohen and "First We Take Manhattan" song

First We Take Manhattan meanings

  • u
    Even though a piece of art exists due to its polyvalence, it is important to contextualize the genesis of the text. The beginning - the radio news - should lead into the right direction - the investigation report on red army fraction's terror act on the german-arab society. Post-war germany, systemic antagonism of the cold war and the youth protest movements of the late sixties form the focus of the song. Take it from here.
    By no means the above said is supposed to prove somebody's wrong. But as umberto eco said, there s no right interpretation, but there s a bunch of wrong ones. Taking things out of the context makes them prone to be instrumentalized even more than is already inevitable anyways, it lies in the nature of things of us who approach phenomena only by interpretation.
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