How to Explain Leonard Cohen to Justin Bieber Fans
NOTE: This article originally appeared in April 2013, shortly after Leonard Cohen beat out Justin Bieber for the 2013 Artist of the Year Juno. It didn’t sit well with Beliebers, so I wrote this as a public service to both help soothe their sorrows as well as enlighten them as to who this old dude who beat out their hero actually is.
Some guy named Leonard Cohen won the Artist of the Year honour at a 2013 Juno Awards gala, prompting vocal Justin Bieber fans (“Beliebers”) to lose it on Twitter. A sampling:
“I CAN’T BELIEVE JUSTIN LOSE ARTIST OF THE YEAR TO LEONARD COHEN (who dat) WE WERE SUPPOSED TO VOTE YOU KNOW,” @ollkidrauhl lamented, her grief emphasized by the use of all CAP LOCKS lettering.
Meanwhile, @BieberzBrunette on this travesty of justice: “ok what the flying f**k? WHO THE F**K IS THIS LEONARD COHEN GUY!??!?! how the f**k did he win the JUNO like wtf is happening us?!?!?!!?”
Well Beliebers, there’s no reason to be too outraged. Leonard Cohen is basically the Justin Bieber of his time. Sure, that time was, you know, like, the olden days, but you might like him if you realized how similar the two are.
Leonard Cohen didn’t date anyone who was a TV and music star like Selena Gomez, but he did have a fling with one singer from when your parents were young called Janis Joplin (See our related, upcoming article: Who the F**k is This Janis Joplin!?!?!?). Janis never had her own TV show like Selena but then Janis also never made her man cry like Selena, so we’ll call that one even.
True, Leonard doesn’t quite have the dance moves that the Biebs has, nor the hair. He’s never had a monkey confiscated by German authorities and we’re not certain whether he hopes Anne Frank would have liked his music. But that’s all just superficial.
Both are singers and they both have passions they’d love to pursue. Leonard likes to write: “I didn’t want to write for pay. I wanted to be paid for what I write.” And Justin dreams of “building” a legacy in other ways: “I’d like to be an architect. That would be cool. I like drawing.”