Im Your Man by Leonard Cohen Lyrics Meaning – Deciphering the Ballad of Unconditional Devotion

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Leonard Cohen's Im Your Man at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


If you want a lover
I’ll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I’ll wear a mask for you
If you want a partner, take my hand, or
If you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I’m your man

If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I’ll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver, climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
I’m your man

Ah, the moon’s too bright
The chain’s too tight
The beast won’t go to sleep
I’ve been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep
Ah, but a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I’d crawl to you baby and I’d fall at your feet
And I’d howl at your beauty like a dog in heat
And I’d claw at your heart, and I’d tear at your sheet
I’d say please (please)
I’m your man

And if you’ve got to sleep a moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I’ll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while across the sand
I’m your man

If you want a lover
I’ll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I’ll wear a mask for you

Full Lyrics

Leonard Cohen’s ‘I’m Your Man’ reverberates with the sound of unconditional surrender—a ballad that entices, seduces, and yet bears the weight of raw vulnerability. At first listen, it may seem like yet another soft serenade, a pact of endless dedication. However, a deeper dive reveals layers of complexity and a poetic exploration of love’s darker, more desperate dimensions.

Released in 1988, ‘I’m Your Man’ weaves a tapestry that captures the complexities of love, selflessness, and the desire to be anything and everything for another. Cohen’s gravelly timbre delivers an aura of sincerity, but is it pure romanticism or aching codependency? The magic of his songwriting is the ability to craft a narrative ripe for interpretation, allowing listeners to find their own meanings within the chords.

An Anthem of Intimate Offerings

The opening stanza of ‘I’m Your Man’ seems to be an offering of romantic gestures, the traditional pledges of a lover to a beloved. Cohen’s repetition of ‘If you want…’ in various contexts establishes a theme of willingness, highlighting a lover’s readiness to fulfill disparate roles—be it a confidant, a partner in crime, or even a sparring opponent in the throes of conflict.

But as the song progresses, these offerings evolve into more intense and personal sacrifices. The imagery of wearing a mask suggests adaptability to the point of self-effacement. The readiness to embrace all facets of love, even those that harm, speaks to the depth of Cohen’s commitment—or perhaps, obsession.

The Labyrinth of Dependency

The genius of Cohen’s lyrics lies in their quiet reveal of a deeper dependency. The lines pulse with a subtle desperation, reflecting the need to be needed. This dependency isn’t solely about romantic fixation; it’s about the human longing for connection, for meaning through others.

The song’s middle verse confesses to a reality of imperfections and broken promises, resonating with those who’ve experienced the disparity between intention and action. The raw honesty here becomes both endearing and disheartening, as Cohen acknowledges his limitations while still striving to be the proverbial ‘man’.

Harnessing the Moonlit Beast: Passion’s Double-Edged Sword

Cohen’s reference to the moon’s brightness, the tight chains, and the sleepless beast craft a vivid metaphor for unresolved passion. The beast’s inability to rest speaks volumes about the uncontrollable nature of desire and the struggle in taming it. Those chains could have numerous interpretations: are they the constraints of monogamy, societal expectations, or the self-imposed bonds of commitment?

The song’s emotional crescendo occurs as Cohen describes his willingness to degrade himself for love, illustrating the potential to lose oneself in the pursuit of another’s affection. This raw sentiment—delivered by the artist’s haunting cadence—leaves the audience pondering their own romantic entanglements and sacrifices.

A Portrayal of Masculinity and Submission

Much can be said about ‘I’m Your Man’ as a reflection on masculinity. Cohen shatters macho stereotypes by embracing roles that require empathy, care, and emotional intelligence—like that of a father or a chauffeur—and those that convey brute strength, like a boxer. His submission is a progressive narrative, tearing down the facade of male dominance and emotional reticence.

Yet, this exhibition of vulnerability and the willingness to submit complicates the typical power dynamics in romantic relationships. Cohen gives himself away with pleasure and, at times, with a tinge of sorrow—an assertion of masculinity that is liberated from the confines of tough-guy bravado.

Mosaic of Memorable Lines: ‘I’d Howl at Your Beauty…’

Among the memorable moments in ‘I’m Your Man’, the plea, ‘I’d howl at your beauty like a dog in heat,’ stands out. This line draws a parallel between carnal, primal desire and the reverence humans may feel for the divine. It’s a powerful expression of adoration, one that borders on worship but is underscored by an innate, almost feral yearning.

The beguiling intricacies of Cohen’s verses are an alluring invitation to dissect and interpret the subtext of each line. Through this rich lyrical landscape, listeners are compelled to confront the extremities of their love and the shapes they are willing to assume within it. Leonard Cohen masterfully transforms the song into a mirror, one reflecting the listener’s own romance, values, and self-perception.

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