Chelsea Hotel #2 (3:05)

Cover of New Skin for the Old Ceremony

From New Skin for the Old Ceremony and 26 other releases

“Chelsea Hotel” is an intimate eulogy. Cohen bids farewell to “fallen robin” Janis Joplin. The tone is somewhat ironic (in the way of “I Get Along Without You Very Well” and the lyrics suggest a shared vulnerability. It’s a haunting melody, and the language is explicit: “.

The song is not maudlin or sentimental. There is no reference to Joplin’s death (heroin overdose) per se, rather, the lyric imbues a measure of strength and self-affirmation rather than the despair her death suggests.


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