Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen released his fourth studio album, New Skin for the Old Ceremony, in 1974. It was a continuation of the spare, elegiac style of his first three releases, though he did introduce new instruments to the mix.
I’m familiar with Cohen more through his reputation than his music. The only full album of his I’ve owned is 1992’s The Future, a gloriously dark and apocalyptic record. Of course I know ‘Hallelujah,’ his most beloved (and at this point, overexposed) song, and a smattering of other singles (‘Suzanne,’ ‘Everybody Knows’).
The seventh best single of 2016, according to Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll, is the title track to Leonard Cohen’s final album, You Want It Darker.
As with David Bowie’s #1 spot on the album list, you have to figure Cohen shows up this high because he shook off this mortal coil. He’s a critical favorite anyway, but nothing invites praise like dying.
Today’s Random iTunes Selection is a track from Leonard Cohen’s 1967 debut album, The Songs of Leonard Cohen. The album, and this song, showcases Cohen’s literary bent — he was an author and poet before he started recording music — and many keyboards have been worn out dissecting the meaning of these lyrics.
Leonard 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.
OK, enough of the light stuff, it’s time for something meaty.
Here’s a song I haven’t thought about in years by an artist with whom I should be far more familiar. Leonard Cohen is one of those unheralded geniuses who more popular artists always mention as an influence. And the one song of his that absolutely everybody has heard — ‘Hallelujah’ — they undoubtedly heard sung by somebody else.
His impossibly deep and gravelly voice makes him something of a tough listen, but other times it suits his songs just perfectly. This one is an excellent example. The second track on his 1992 album The Future, ‘Waiting for the Miracle’ is a moody epic about wasted opportunities that eats right into your soul.