The deep voice of truth speaks for itself. This song from Cohen’s 1988 album I’m Your Man could cover any number of scenarios, from politics to a relationship infidelity, but its lines are as pertinent today as ever. The wealthy are grabbing more power and assets than ever before, and democracy is as much in a crisis as any scandal since the Nixon days. Donald Trump suddenly sacking FBI director James Comey without warning, as it he is in his old reality TV gameshow, The Apprentice, just at a time when Comey was in the middle of investigating alleged Russian interference with the US presidential election and Trump ties to it? At the same time the UK prime minister, Theresa May, has called a general election at a time when many of her own MPs are under investigation for electoral expense scandals. Another coverup, and everybody knows, it but no one seems to be able to do anything to stop it. As Cohen says, "everybody's got this broken feeling".
Cohen’s song, underpinned by synth parts by collaborator Sharon Robinson, chugs along with menace, accompanied by an ongoing oud riff to echo and contrast with Cohen’s voice. The song has also been used for many other context, including an anti-smoking campaign, Atom Egoyan's 1994 film Exotica, and has been covered by many artists including Don Henley, Rufus Wainwright, Bette Midler and even in the Innu language as "Tshissenitenanu", by Florent Vollant, on Katak (2003).
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody's got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
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