Just out is the 14th studio album by Leonard Cohen and we decided that it was too important to pass up without a review. So, what’s this album like? Does it come close to the last fourteen?
Remember his first studio recordings? How he perfectly captured sunsets, pleas of an older lover, the escapades of a gleeful but confused youth? He always had a penchant for portraying real life events often drawing conclusions and inspiration from his own life and those around him. Take for instance his relationship with then 18-year-old Suzanne, portrayed in his music.
Always known for placidity and realism, his followers though are not so in sync with him. Some of it has got to do with his aging body but a lot comes down to what the papers and magazines publish about him. Just because he is a physically frail composer with slightly dwindling mental acumen does not mean he is done or ready to be done. Cohen proves them and his moaning followers wrong though with yet another excellent studio album, which one does have to agree is a bit glum than usual.
Cohen never failed us when it comes to abstractness and feelings in his compositions. Be it the carnal type or the enlightened type, he always found ways to intricately weave together spirituality, feelings and a whole lot of astronomical messages into his writings. This was probably one of the key reasons why so many of his followers got hooked in the first place. The recent creation though migrates away from such happy and thought provoking topics. Off the bat, the title really does say a lot about what you can expect from the album. It is a bit glum at times and his wordplay does reflect his 82 years with a little sadness as he too feels the end nearing him now.
Coming to his voice and the music, what do you expect. When the composition is dark and slightly on the depressing side, the music and especially his baritone too has to be. He is not helped by the fact that his age naturally gives a darker appearance to his voice. No longer are they rough around the edges, and smooth with a nasal tinge but rather a straight defiance of his end moments.
Trying out new things is always a good thing but with Cohen, he was forced to modify his voice and naturally his age meant his lyrics changed but as a song writer, he does not fail us again. He manages to weave lyrics together, string sentences that provoke deep thoughts.