Leonard Cohen’s work is so good it tends to lift up those who write about him.
Today it has generated the following thoughts from me.
His newest album, Old Ideas, is perfect example of what I fear I am losing as I indulge myself with more singles and move away from the concept of albums.
The first time I heard the album, the only song I liked, or even understood for that matter, was Different Sides.
The second time I listened to it, I also came to have a deep and profound experience with Banjo.
If you could hear what I hear when I listen to Banjo…
That would be something… that really would be something.
I would love to know what you hear as well.
Then I put the album away for a while. But I came back now and again, and now I count Going Home and parts of Amen among the songs I feel like I understand.
Going Home alone is worth the price of the album for me.
But more importantly I look forward to coming back to the album over the next few years to see what other surprises it has in store for me.
I tend to be dense when it comes to art so my particular experience is likely tinged by this. That is part of the attraction for me. But I suspect the thrill of coming back to a large complicated piece and finding new nuances is a more universal experience.
I don’t begrudge the evolution of how we consume music (although I worry about mp3 sound quality). The form has always been dominated by its limitations, and our current distribution model has many advantages.
But the experience I am having with Old Ideas is one that I have to work harder to find.
“For a Zen monk who started his career as a poet, Leonard Cohen has used a lot of synth horns.”
I’ve come to the conclusion, reluctantly, that I am going to die. So naturally those questions arise and are addressed. But, you know, I like to do it with a beat.
Leonard Cohen, when asked at a recent press conference whether he had “come to terms with death”.
Has there ever been a musician with as consistently good album titles? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen_discography …
And because it cannot be avoided: