I have always loved a story. I'm aware that this probably doesn't make me a special little budding-novelist snowflake. Still, it did mean that as a small child I was fascinated by this song. Lest that makes me sound like too much of a hipster kid at the age of seven, I should also note here that I felt similarly about 'Hazard' by Richard Marx. "I swear I left her by the river/I swear I left her safe and sound." BUT MUMMY, DID HE KILL HER? IS HE LYING OR NOT?! I REALLY NEED TO KNOW!
I think at expressly epistolary form is pretty rare in popular songs. I mean, there are probably loads out there but I can't think of any offhand. Let me know if there are any good ones.
The story still fascinates me. Who is Jane? And 'my brother, my killer'? Why did he disappear deep in the desert, living for nothing now?
I now have my theories, but this is still an opaque song, for all its straightforward format. All I know for sure is the same as what I knew back then. Something terribly bad has happened. Lives were ruined, friendships lost. Maybe it's all his fault. He wants you to know that your enemy's sleeping and his woman is free, but I'm not sure the addressee will see it like that, ever.
"Sincerely, L. Cohen" - there's a finality to it. I don't think there will be a reply to this letter. Maybe it will never even be sent. It marks the end of something.