Clocking in at 72 seconds, "The Goal" is a short, somber, spoken-word piece about the infirmities of old age. It starts off with the frail Leonard Cohen stuck at home due to ill health.
I can't leave my house Or answer the phone
He continues with the poignant self-observation about his frailties of old age, before ending on a note of trusted optimism.
No one to follow And nothing to teach Except that the goal Falls short of the reach
Engineer and musician Michael Chaves told Uncut magazine the song came about after Leonard Cohen said to him, "You guys aren't going to have enough songs for a record. Michael, Michael press record."
Chaves added that he has the recording of Cohen turning pages in his poetry book, "and he says 'page 153, The Goal.' And he just started reading."
At first Cohen is accompanied by a sole piano played by Patrick Leonard before being joined by Javier Mas' Spanish guitar. Leonard, who is best known for co-writing many of Madonna's late '80s hits, co-wrote and co-produced much of Cohen's previous three albums. This was his sole contribution to Thanks for the Dance.