Friday, October 21, 2016

Leonard Cohen : "You Want it Darker"

Aside from his 1967 album “Songs of Leonard Cohen” the only other album with Cohen on it that I have owned is the “Natural Born Killers “ soundtrack. I bought his ’67 album because it has the song “ Sisters of Mercy” on it which for a goth in 1997 seemed like something I needed to own. His influence on darker music goes well beyond that. When you hear his new album “You Want it Darker” his influence on some like Nick Cave is obvious. He is storyteller first and foremost. His gravelly baritone is weathered, but recites the lyrics with conviction that makes up for what age does to one’s voice. There is a bitter sweet tenderness to his delivery on "Treaty". Palm muted guitar opens on the level. Before the songs rises into a more gospel place.

These songs of heartbreak are a little hard to hear at where I am at right now, but the lyrics are pretty powerful. "Leaving the Table" is another solemn song that feels like country. The mix of this album is weird. His voice is close up on the mic almost whispered. The guitar is giving him at times almost too much room, stepping up into the spot light for a solo. It's very tasteful and well layered, but I could use more instrumentation getting more up close and personal with him.

While it's a well written song "If I Didn't Have Your Love" is your blue print love song that barrows from many of the conventions of country music. "Traveling Light" might remind you of the weary road he walked upon on the song "the Future" from the previously mentioned soundtrack. This song has a little more movement. "Steer Your Way" finds the lingering pace of this album picking up a little.  The strings lighten things where they have been darkening them. It's very pleasant and good change but doesn't blow my socks off. The stringed reprise of "Treaty" is more of an outro than a free standing song. I'll give this album a 9.5, because he is such a masterful song writer and has a power over his words. With that said I am not sure this is an album I will get a helluva a lot of play out of as it is not something I would put on my iPod, but I don't have any classical music on my iPod either.


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