-- Listen For The Laugh --
27 October 1992. Charlottesville, VA.

Found on:

Dart To The Heart (1994)

Anything Anytime Anywhere, Singles 1979-2002 (2002) [compilation album]

Rumours of Glory - box set Disc 5 (2014) [compilation album]

Greatest Hits (1970-2020) (2021) [compilation album]

It's not the laughter of rain in the drain
It's not the laughter of a man in pain
It's not the laughter you can hide behind
It's not the laughter of a frightened mind
Balanced on the brink only waiting for a shove
You better listen for the laugh of love

It's not the laughter of the gloating rich
It's not the laughter of the sacred bitch
It's not the laughter of the macho fool
It's not the laughter that obeys the rules
More of a chain saw in a velvet glove
You better listen for the laugh of love

It's not the laughter of a child with toys
It's not the laughter of the president's boys
It's not the laughter of the media king
This laughter doesn't sell you anything
It's the wind in the wings of a diving dove
You better listen for the laugh of love
Whatever else you might be thinking of
You better listen for the laugh of love

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • September-October 1994 -

    [Wearing the persona of an English professor, Bruce turns to an example off the new album]:

    "You wouldn't believe how many people do not see the difference between 'listen to the laugh' and 'listen for the laugh.' They are totally different things. When I am doing a radio interview these days, people often say, 'Hey, I really liked your song, 'Listen to the Laugh.'' But what laugh is he listening to? If you're listening for it you haven't heard it yet!"

    [As he talks, I am sure that he is spinning off Herbert Marcuse's 1960s classic, One Dimensional Man. Mass culture has impaired our capacity to interpret life on a series of levels.]

    "No," he responds, "I've never read the book, but I am aware that our reality changed drastically with the introduction of mass communication. That is why distilling the truth of your experience into a song is such an act of subversion."

    -- from "Straight to the Heart: Bruce Cockburn's songs of subversion", by David Batstone. Sojourners Magazine, September-October 1994, Anonymous submission.

  • 29 June 2002 -

    Sedge Thompson: - What memeory does Listen For The Laugh bring back?

    "Man, being in love with somebody I wasn't supposed to be in love with and reflecting on what that meant, ya know? The love, the feeling of love was totally real and seemed kind of God given, but the object of that particular feeling was married to somebody else and there was nothing I could do about it. [laughs] So there's a kind of ironic sense of God laughing and love being a significant part of that laughter."

    -- from Sedge Thompson's interview on West Coast Live, 29 June 2002, at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival in Laytonville, California. Transcribed and submitted to the project by Bobbi Wisby.

  • 2021 -

    "Ah, Love..."

    ~ from the liner notes of Greatest Hits (1970-2020)

  • Help out! To add material to this section, see this page first.

    Song Index | Alphabetical Song Index | Chronological Song Index

    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.