Who By Fire is one of Leonard Cohen’s most lyrically intense songs, but the original musical production was relatively light. Cohen let his voice, how he performed the song, and the lyrics turn the song into a dark one.
In this new cover, the instruments and vocal performance are turned up a few levels to make the song even more dark and intense. Listen here to experience it for yourself.
Magic Of The Original Who By Fire
I was first drawn to the original version of this song by how ominous it felt. The string instruments were eerie and foreboding while Cohen’s voice felt like it was digging into one’s very soul. But surprisingly, that was done with relatively light instrumental production, and no screaming by the vocalist.
In many intense modern songs, you hear heavy instruments and the vocalist is yelling. That made me wonder about the heights of intensity this song could reach if you turned up the vocal and instrumental vigor.
Here is the original Who By Fire by Leonard Cohen:
Turning Up The Vocal Performance And Instrumentals
In this cover song, I did my best impression of a rock singer, and really screamed many of the lines, trying to get every bit of emotion out of them. If you listen closely, you might notice an attempt to voice-act every line of the song to squeeze more emotion out of the already-emotional and image-rich lyrics.
The Story Behind Who By Fire
This song was written while Leonard Cohen was in Israel during the Yom Kippur war, supporting soldiers fighting on the front line. Here is a video about the history and the creation of this song.
Leonard Cohen was singing for soldiers who were going off to battle, with many of them about to die. That’s how this song was born – out of the uncertainty of how and when each of us was going to die.
Other Who By Fire Cover Songs I Love
There have been thousands of covers of this song over the years, but here are two that I especially like that add their own unique sound and energy: