Leonard Cohen's bitterly pessimistic song about the state of the world in the late 1980s. When he first introduced the song, he said, "Here's a terrible new song. Yes, it embodies all my darkest thoughts. Here it comes."

In regards to the verse about the plague, Cohen said in an interview, "The plague in the most physical sense is AIDS. But there's another kind of plague going on too, of which AIDS is one of the symptoms. If indeed disease does have ultimately a psychic origin, then there's a plague of alienation and separation and lassitude and panic; a sense of not being in control."

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