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Song Stories

“The Past Is a Grotesque Animal”

Of Montreal | 2007

During the recording of Of Montreal’s eighth album, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, Kevin Barnes was going through a difficult time. "On a creative level, my life was going great," the songwriter told Rolling Stone, "but on a personal level, it was totally falling apart." Epic 12-minute track "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" is the centerpiece and turning point of the album, on which Barnes embodies his alter ego, Georgie Fruit. "I'm not suffering from split personality or anything," he said, of the muliple personae on the record. "This just gives me an opportunity to write from a different perspective."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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