Song of the Day #2,246: ‘Almost Like the Blues’ – Leonard Cohen

cohenLeonard Cohen has a new album, titled Popular Problems, due out next week. He’ll turn 80 the day before its release.

You have to admire that sort of longevity, whatever you think of the man’s music. Not that I imagine many people find much fault with the music.

I’m not as much of a Cohen connoisseur as I’d like to be. The only album of his that I know well is 1992’s The Future, on which the ubiquitous ‘Hallelujah’ appeared. Funny that he already sounded 80 on that album, 22 years ago.

I know Cohen’s work more through the admiration of others, such as Rufus Wainwright and R.E.M., but I’ve always wanted to sample his earlier albums.

I like this new single. He’s never had much of a voice, and he mostly talk-sings this track in his voice-of-God baritone. But what great lyrics!

I saw some people starving
There was murder, there was rape
Their villages were burning
They were trying to escape
I couldn’t meet their glances
I was staring at my shoes
It was acid, it was tragic
It was almost like the blues

I have to die a little
Between each murderous thought
And when I’m finished thinking
I have to die a lot
There’s torture and there’s killing
And there’s all my bad reviews
The war, the children missing
Lord, it’s almost like the blues

So I let my heart get frozen
To keep away the rot
My father said I’m chosen
My mother said I’m not
I listened to their story
Of the Gypsies and the Jews
It was good, it wasn’t boring
It was almost like the blues

There is no G-d in Heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I’ve had the invitation
That a sinner can’t refuse
And it’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,246: ‘Almost Like the Blues’ – Leonard Cohen

  1. Dana says:

    I too would like to become more familiar with Cohen’s work given how lauded he is by musicians I admire.

    I can’t believe the man is cranking out an album at 80! Is he like Dylan in that, years ago, he had vocal range or has he always sounded like this?

  2. Clay says:

    Here he is almost 45 years ago.

  3. Dana says:

    Oh, he had a voice once upon a time. Perhaps not a big range, but he could carry a tune.

  4. pegclifton says:

    He looks just like Al Pacino in Godfather 1 and 2

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