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Sat Nov 01 03:01:29 SAST 2014

NEW CD: Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas

Andrea Nagel | 03 February, 2012 01:20

A new album of poetic and pared-down musical genius


DURING his 44-year career, Leonard Cohen has worn his heart on his sleeve.

Suzanne and Marianne broke it, Alexandra left with it and it was holed up in the Tower of Song.

Now, inGoing Home, the first song on his latest album, Old Ideas, he speaks to himself, writing in the third person about his struggles.

"I love to speak with Leonard / He's a sportsman and a shepherd / He's a lazy bastard / Living in a suit."

Cohen acknowledges an unforeseen force pulling the strings of his life and ultimately, though not depressingly, he seems, in this elegiac act of surrender, to face the fact that he is "Going home / Without my burden / Going home/ Behind the curtain".

A similar theme is dealt with in Show Me the Place, a gentle piano-led song buoyed up by the lush chorus (of women's voices) that colours each refrain: "Show me the place / For my head is bending low / Show me the place / Where you want your slave to go."

The subject matter may seem to be a little morbid, but Old Ideas is anything but.

Cohen is having fun with his fans, taking the mickey out of his impending mortality.

He knows how much we love him. He doesn't seem to be bothered by it.

His reverberating baritone gets inside your bones, behind your eyes and into your soul as he's singing to his muse: "I know you have to hate me / but could you hate me less?"

Old Ideas is an album of poetic and pared-down musical genius.

And the world is a better place because Cohen, at 77, is still able to offer such brilliance .


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