Anthem

Album: The Future (1992)

Songfacts®:

  • The actress Rebecca De Mornay dated Cohen in the early 1990s. She recalled to Uncut in 2014 how she ended up producing this track. "Leonard was at my house, and I had a synthesizer," she said. "He was off in a room, playing a song that I'd heard him play over and over for a couple of years, that he just wasn't sure what to do with. I went in and said, 'That's it! Exactly like that!' I think he'd moved the lyrics around, because they'd never had that effect on me before. I said, 'It's universal, I'm telling you, like "Silent Night," or "Auld Lang Syne," so why don't we bring in a gospel choir?' And he turned and looked at me very strangely. And he said, 'I want you to produce this song."
  • De Mornay explained what the song means to her. "To me, 'Anthem' was the pinnacle of his deep understanding of human defeat. 'I can't run no more with that lawless crowd, while the killers say their prayers out loud... And they've summoned up a thundercloud, and they're going to hear from me,'" she said. "That 'I' – that's the soul of Leonard Cohen. He doesn't suffer fools. He's deeply kind and generous-spirited, but he's not a sweet little monk."
  • This was prominently used on the soundtrack for Oliver Stone's 1994 film Natural Born Killers along with two other Leonard Cohen songs "Waiting for the Miracle" and "The Future."

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