i know a lot of people whose taste in music and knowledge about music were influenced a great deal by their parents’ record collections. i can’t remember my parents having records or even a record player, and they never seemed to care much about the music that was popular when they were young. the one thing that i knew were a handful of songs that my mother would play on the guitar and sing, and for a long time i didn’t know that i grew up with leonard cohen songs. they were always just those songs my mom sang, out of a big songbook with a brown cover. i only started listening to leonard cohen some years ago, and it completely blew me away when i realized how deep those melodies were hidden away somewhere in my brain. i knew them so well without knowing that i knew them at all, they just lived there, somewhere in the back of my mind, and they had lived there all along. in the last two years, they have accompanied really wonderful times in my life, from summer sunday conversations on my couch by the window to walking past the chelsea hotel every morning in new york for two weeks and spending the rest of the day getting cohen songs stuck in my ear. there is an intensity to how i hear songs like this that puzzles me, again and again.