Chelsea Hotel No. 2 vs. Fireworks
Drake’s Fireworks and Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel No.2; songs that are both inspired by what appears to be fleeting affairs with famous women. Cohen writes an entire song about his with Janis Joplin, Drake sets aside verse two for Rihanna. Chelsea Hotel No. 2 like all Leonard Cohen’s work is beautiful and while there is humour he is also, at times, cruel. There’s the sex, ‘giving me head on the unmade bed,’ the drugs, ‘you fixed yourself, you said well never mind,’ and the rock and roll, ‘we are ugly, but we have the music.’ It’s evident there is admiration there for Joplin but the wry ending, to me, overpowers the rest of the song, ‘I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.’
That last sentence of Chelsea Hotel No. 2 is what I’m reminded of when I hear Drake rap, ‘You could have been the one, but it wasn’t that serious.’ I can’t exactly place why one line evokes the other in my mind, but I think it’s because both begin tenderly and end flippantly. But while Cohen seems jaded, Drake feels slightly more eager and a little wounded. Leonard Cohen later said he regretted revealing Joplin as his muse, describing it as ‘the sole indiscretion in my professional life’. I had wondered if Drake would experience the same regret, but it looks like he and his fallen Robyn are doing just fine now..