What does Crazy to Love You mean?

Leonard Cohen: Crazy to Love You Meaning

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Album cover for Crazy to Love You album cover

Crazy to Love You Lyrics

Had to go crazy to love you
Had to go down to the pit
Had to do time in the tower
Begging my crazy to quit

Had to go crazy to love you
You who were never the one
Whom I chased through the souvenir heartache
Her braids and her blouse all...

  1. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 20th 2017 !⃝

    Had to go crazy to love you
    Had to go down to the pit
    Had to do time in the tower
    Begging my crazy to quit

    ---“Crazy” is a poetic exaggeration. Essentially, this means that he had to make himself see her, not as the woman she is, but as the woman he wanted her to be. His illusion about who she is is the “crazy” that haunts him. He had to get lost in the depths of that illusion [the pit], where he’s totally lost in the falsity, and a prisoner to it. But, he also had moments in the relationship where he saw through this illusion/delusion [the tower]. Where he knew he wasn’t seeing the real woman. Still, these “moments of clarity” are like stints in prison – doing time – he always gets paroled and let’s himself give in to the delusion once more.

    Had to go crazy to love you
    You who were never the one
    Whom I chased through the souvenir heartache
    Her braids and her blouse all undone

    ---Here he owns up to what his “crazy” is. The “souvenir heartache” says that he’s really seeking to recapture a woman he’s lost, and he’s imagining this woman he’s with now to be that woman he already lost. That’s the essence of his illusion. The sadness in the song is from him acknowledging how unfair this relationship is to her – to say he loves her, but all the while really pretending she is someone else’ someone like his former lover. The image of braids and blouse seems to indicate a love from his youth; a young girl; a time of both innocence and passion; or, perhaps it is even him admitting that he even realizes that the woman he lost wasn’t really as amazing as he now imagines her after having lost her.

    Sometimes I'd head for the highway
    I'm old and the mirrors don't lie
    But crazy has places to hide in
    Deeper than saying goodbye

    --- Occasionally, he’d convince himself to leave the relationship [probably after seeing the truth while “doing time in the tower”]. However, the mirrors – i.e. looking in rear-view mirrors while driving away; this is his nostalgia for the woman he lost – would always bring him back. Because even though he’d see through the “crazy” it would find someplace to hide. Someplace so deep that he never fully escapes it. He could never quite rid himself of the illusion, even after telling her goodbye.

    Had to go crazy to love you
    Had to let everything fall
    Had to be people I hated
    Had to be no one at all

    --- He had to “let everything fall;” he had to break all the rules he’d made for himself about loving someone. He was loving her falsely, which made him someone he hated. And eventually made him feel like he wasn’t even a person…just a thing mindlessly chasing its desire and even using someone else as a thing to replicate that desire when it went unfulfilled.

    I'm tired of choosing desire
    Been saved by a sweet fatigue
    The gates of commitment unwired
    And nobody trying to leave

    --- But now he’s going to stop doing that. Yet, in even more self-condemnation, he admits it’s not because he has found the courage to finally do what’s right. No; it’s actually just more weakness. He became so weak that it finally “saved” him from this relationship. All the emotional conflict inside simply exhausted him. He just lost the strength to continue on lying to her and to himself.

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 13th 2012 !⃝

    Maybe it´s about marianne ihlen maybe not, maybe it´s just a metaphorical speaking of oldness ans maybe saying i´m not a young man anymore and i´m not getting younger so I don´t really have any courage for another round, actually that´s the taste of the whole album, wich is a really great album, maybe he´s is preparing for a deep rest, I really enjoy and i´m glad that he gave us one more album, and I hope no, but, maybe the last album.

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