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Music / The Future

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"It's coming through a hole in the air..."

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St. Paul
I've seen the future, brother
It is murder
— "The Future"

The Future is the ninth studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1992. All of its songs were written by Cohen—including one, "Waiting for the Miracle", co-written with frequent collaborator Sharon Robinson—apart from "Be for Real" and "Always", which were written by Frederick Knight and Irving Berlin respectively.


  1. "The Future" (6:41)
  2. "Waiting for the Miracle" (7:42)
  3. "Be for Real" (4:32)
  4. "Closing Time" (6:00)
  5. "Anthem" (6:09)
  6. "Democracy" (7:13)
  7. "Light as the Breeze" (7:14)
  8. "Always" (8:04)
  9. "Tacoma Trailer" (5:57)


Tropes associated with this album:

  • Alliterative Title: "Tacoma Trailer"
  • Cover Version:
    • "Be for Real", written by Frederick Knight and first recorded in 1978 by Marlena Shaw.
    • "Always", written by Irving Berlin in 1925 as a wedding present for his wife, Ellin Mackay, and recorded many times since as a standard. Cohen replaces Berlin's introduction with one of his own, then sings the song through three times.
  • Epic Rocking: Seven tracks are at least six minutes long; three are longer than seven; "Always", the longest, surpasses eight. An eighth track, "Tacoma Trailer", just barely misses the six-minute mark; "Be for Real", the sole outlier, is a mere 4:32.
  • Hell of a Heaven: "Closing Time"
    The place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night
  • Instrumentals: "Tacoma Trailer" is a piano piece, the first instrumental to appear on a Cohen album.
  • Advertisement:
  • Isn't It Ironic?: Cohen was reportedly greatly amused by the non-ironic use of "Democracy" (a scathing, wry little statement about American society) as a patriotic ballad. With lyrics like these, it's easy to see why:
    I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
    I love the country, but I can't stand the scene
    And I'm neither left nor right; I'm just staying home tonight
    Getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
    But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags that time cannot decay,
    I'm junk, but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet.
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
  • One-Word Title
    • "Anthem"
    • "Democracy"
    • "Always"

  • Title Track: "The Future".


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