Today’s Song: It’s Just One of Those Days to Emet’s ‘Chelsea Hotel is Closed Until Further Notice’
A song about how all the little things in life gradually add up, Emet’s “The Chelsea Hotel Is Closed Until Further Notice” is as much a tribute to Leonard Cohen as it is an example of a ballad. intimate and painful folk.
“The Chelsea Hotel is closed until further notice” – Emet
I’ve listened to enough of Leonard Cohen to think about pretty much everything he wrote, so I wanted to explore the idea of the little annoyances and mercies that can arise throughout an average day.
A a song about how all the little things in life gradually add up, Emet’s debut single of the year is as much a tribute to Leonard Cohen as it is its own example of an intimate and painful folk ballad. Tender and sincere, acoustic and raw, “The Chelsea Hotel is closed until further noticeis a melancholic and poignant reflection on our daily slump: from the morning we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, to those fleeting moments that wear down our weary hearts and tear our souls to tears. It’s moving, dramatic and a great way to spend three minutes.
One of those days when the hat doesn’t help,
And the love you feel for someone else
is replaced by the sting of a single-word text.
Your patience is thin, but of course what did you expect
when it’s one of those days and the bell never rings?
You try not to feel but you feel everything
and your thoughts turn gray, like a varicose vein.
Looking for the words but it’s really quite hard to explain.
Released on February 4, 2022, “The Chelsea Hotel Is Closed Until Further Notice” is the second single and second track from Emet’s recently released debut album, Carlin’s Farm (released April 8, 2022 via AntiFragile Music). The nickname of Emmet McGonagle, singer-songwriter of Irish descent and based in Calgary, Alberta, Emet (pronounced “Em-it”) showcased their folk-laden artistry with the song “JJ Johnston” in late October, and later released their debut EP Well done and all the best in March 2021.
Making music primarily centered around vocals and acoustic guitar, Emet’s folk sound is honest and straightforward, familiar and refreshing: reminiscent of early records by Hozier and Vance Joy, Carlin’s Farm carries the folk torch while honoring those who came before. This sense of homage and pursuit is particularly present in “The Chelsea Hotel Is Closed Until Further Notice”, whose name and lyrics refer to the late Leonard Cohen.
One of those days when you’re stuck with yourself
and you come face to face with your own sanity,
shouting, “I had a purpose when I was weaned.”
It’s gone for the winter, it will come back one day
at the midnight hour and come back to bed,
and I will pay on time for the things I have said.
I was a coward and I was afraid.
I was a white-collar, middle-class wage slave.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Leonard Cohen, both as a musician and as an artist,” says Emet Atwood magazine. “It was the first vinyl my mother had ever bought at the time, and I quickly resonated with its strange perspective on life, mortality, and morality. One day I came across a self-portrait of Cohen, donning his trademark hat, alongside the caption ‘one of those days the hat doesn’t help.’At this point in my life, I’ve listened to enough Leonard Cohen to think about pretty much everything that he wrote, so I wanted to explore the idea of the little annoyances and mercies that can occur throughout an average day.
“’The Chelsea Hotel is closed until further notice’ covers issues like one-word texts and broken church bells, but quickly descends into existentialism because I spend too much time alone – a problem I’m usually solved by talking too much, I’ve been told. The song climaxes with the lines ‘And where is Commander Cohen when you need him? ‘Cause I passed the Chelsea Hotel and it’s closed.’ Believe it or not, I actually visited the Chelsea Hotel a few years ago – Cohen’s former home and the inspiration behind many of his songs, including “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” – and I didn’t think to check if it was still an active hotel during my brief trips to New York. Thinking back to the script, I felt like an appropriate approximation to a song built on the foundations of Mr. Cohen’s work.
“I recorded this track early last year at Half Bap studios in Belfast. It was slap bang in the middle of an eight-day recording session for my debut album Carlin’s Farm, and by this point we (producer George Sloan and I) were in a pretty solid flow of work, coffee and no more work. However, it took a while for this song to reach its final release – the energy was a bit different, and so (as someone who writes all his songs on guitar) it just seemed right to add some different elements. George is the mastermind behind the piano, as well as the melodica which gives the melody a bit of a bohemian vibe. I really wanted to look at the notion of “the artist as a vocation”, which Cohen talks about a lot in his poetry, but which makes me want to boke a little as a concept. Overall the track is sad and dramatic, but it also has a sincerity to the composition that I love. It’s sad and camp, that’s all I strive to be at this point as a person.
And where is Commander Cohen when you need him?
I walked past the Chelsea Hotel and it’s closed.
I need a dream but I will wake up scared.
Maybe tomorrow I will “clear”.
Well you asked for the end, now the sky has collapsed.
There’s a man in the clouds and he’s pointing at you.
But if I bought a hazmat suit…
Soft piano and plaintive harmonica can be heard mingling with Emet’s accompanying acoustic guitar, but it’s ultimately the artist’s voice that shines brightest on this tempered, evocative dose of brooding melancholy.
From moving poetic lines like “The love you feel for someone else is replaced by the prick of a single word text” for, “Well you asked for the end, now the sky has collapsed. There’s a man in the clouds and he’s pointing at you,“Emet creates in this song an insular, inviting world that we can’t just imagine, but truly identify with. We all go through hard times to some degree, and we’ve all had days when we just wanted to go back read and try again tomorrow. That this universal experience has been brought to life so elegantly and intimately in song is a testament to Emet’s exceptional talents as a songwriter and folk storyteller. Wherever you are today, this song is sure to find a way into your heart.
Listen to “The Chelsea Hotel is Closed Until Further Notice” and the rest of Emet’s debut album wherever you find your music. Carlin’s Farm is out now!
:: flow/purchase Emet here ::
“The Chelsea Hotel is closed until further notice” – Emet
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📸 © Charlie Hart