Okay, so two Canadians walk into the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. They're both great songwriters, and in particular great lyricists. In fact, they both seriously vie for the title of best lyricist ever. Remarkably, they are both staying in the Chelsea Hotel at the same time, are lovers, and they both, at about the same time, write a song expressing their experience of the place.
So who's the greatest? Leonard Cohen?
Or Joni Mitchell?
Personally, although Joni Mitchell's lyrics are wonderful, I have to go with Leonard Cohen. While brilliantly evocative, her words are mostly ornamental. Nice picture. Cohen's strike through, as they always seem to do, to touch the central mystery of life.
As a bonus, here's the never-officially-recorded original version of Cohen's song: Chelsea Hotel #1: