Alexandra

Album: Song for Our Daughter (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • In 2001, Leonard Cohen recorded "Alexandra Leaving," based on Constantine P. Cavafy's 1911 poem "The God Abandons Antony." Whereas Cavafy's work is based around the Roman general Antony being besieged in the city of Alexandria by Octavian, Cohen's version is centered on a woman named Alexandra.

    Marling wrote this song about her fascination with Cohen's attitudes towards women. "As much as I love him, I'm obsessed with his idea of women and how they become these facades," Marling explained to Mojo magazine. "I wanted to imagine what it's like to survive that passionate projection."
  • The song starts off with a riposte to Leonard Cohen's "Alexandra Leaving," as Marling wonders where Cohen's lover went after she left.

    What became of Alexandra
    Did she make it through
    What kind of woman gets to love you?


    Marling explained to the BBC that there's no mention in Cohen's song of Alexandria's interior life that's anything more than being alluring. "That's interesting to me as an autonomous young songwriter who has an interior life, and who has been projected on and survived, what can be quite an overwhelming passionate experience," she explained. "So I wanted to give Alexandra a voice of her own, or to find out what happened to Alexandra and the consequences of surviving that relationship."

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