The Goal

Album: Thanks for the Dance (2019)
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Songfacts®:

  • 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.

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