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Josh Hurst

Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

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A new album is in the works!

According to Cohen, it will have "ten or eleven songs," and will sound like "something good." Boy, I'm excited already!

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Maybe it'll have "The Darkness" on it. Great song.

Edited by Overstreet

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Please, and I'm dead serious, enlighten me as to what the appeal is with Leonard Cohen?

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Please, and I'm dead serious, enlighten me as to what the appeal is with Leonard Cohen?

He's a great songwriter; witty and sardonic and infinitely sad, able to cut through the usual Hollywood and D.C. Newspeak and shiny images with incredibly incisive lines. "Everybody Knows" is the truthtelling song I've been playing for the last few weeks as I watch the increasingly ludicrous and deeply sad updates from the Gulf of Mexico on why nobody can stop technology from ruining the planet. Whether those gifts are enough to overcome the indifferent vocals[1] and frequently dismal production is an individual call. But that's why people listen to him.

[1] Unlike Bob Dylan, who can't sing in thrilling and unexpected ways, Leonard is merely boring, kind of like Uncle Sol singing with a head cold at his nephew's Bar Mitzvah.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded

Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

Everybody knows that the war is over

Everybody knows the good guys lost

Everybody knows the fight was fixed

The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

That's how it goes

Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking

Everybody knows that the captain lied

Everybody got this broken feeling

Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets

Everybody wants a box of chocolates

And a long stem rose

Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby

Everybody knows that you really do

Everybody knows that you've been faithful

Ah give or take a night or two

Everybody knows you've been discreet

But there were so many people you just had to meet

Without your clothes

And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows

That's how it goes

Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows

That's how it goes

Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never

Everybody knows that it's me or you

And everybody knows that you live forever

Ah when you've done a line or two

Everybody knows the deal is rotten

Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton

For your ribbons and bows

And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming

Everybody knows that it's moving fast

Everybody knows that the naked man and woman

Are just a shining artifact of the past

Everybody knows the scene is dead

But there's gonna be a meter on your bed

That will disclose

What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble

Everybody knows what you've been through

From the bloody cross on top of Calvary

To the beach of Malibu

Everybody knows it's coming apart

Take one last look at this Sacred Heart

Before it blows

And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows

That's how it goes

Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows

That's how it goes

Everybody knows

Everybody knows

-- Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"

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Listening to Leonard Cohen is like listening to a melodic poetry reading. I'm there for the words, the delivery, and the way the melodies sew themselves into my everyday. But no, Andy's right, he doesn't seem too terribly concerned about musicianship and production, and he sings one particular way that you either enjoy or you don't.

I know he's a superhero to some of my favorite musicians. Linford Detweiler says the two most inspiring concerts he's ever attended are recent shows by Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

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I guess I must admit his singing style puts me off, especially since, being in Canada and all, occasionally a song of his becomes a radio single and... yeah. He's just not a radio single kind of guy. Having said that, the Jennifer Warnes album of Cohen covers still didn't do much for me, so I guess it's just my problem. :)

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Try Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," if the movies haven't ruined that song for you. Or Concrete Blonde's take on "Everybody Knows." Or Tower of Song, the various artists tribute album (which is very much a hit and miss affair).

Suzanne Vega - another songwriter for whom Cohen is the muse.

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Finally coming out next year, it would seem.

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January 31 is the day.

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January 31 is the day.

I think most of you will be delighted with it.

By the way, have any of you taken the 11 minutes out of your day to watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIR5ps8usuo? It took a few minutes to get moving, but once he began spinning this tale, I was hooked; by the end I was nearly weeping.

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I take it you've heard it, Thom? How does it sound? Are we still in full-on Casio territory?

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In the meantime:

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Try Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," if the movies haven't ruined that song for you. Or Concrete Blonde's take on "Everybody Knows." Or Tower of Song, the various artists tribute album (which is very much a hit and miss affair).

Suzanne Vega - another songwriter for whom Cohen is the muse.

Also check out Willie Nelson's version of Hallelujah. Very cool.

I guess I must admit his singing style puts me off

I've heard the saying that he only really sings in one note, but for those that like it, it's one beautiful note.

Hallelujah is a beautiful song, that always moves me.

Edited by Attica

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I'm excited for the new album. I saw him perform a few years ago at GM Place. It was a tremendous show.

I think my favourite Leonard Cohen song is "Ain't No Cure For Love". I also wish he would take his son's advice and make an album similar to his earlier folk offerings ("Suzanne", "Last Year's Man", etc...).

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And here's a song.

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It's probably unfair to state that Old Ideas is the album to beat in 2012. We're only two weeks into the year. But it is.

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Does Cohen sound kind of like Tom Waits on some of these songs, or is that just me?

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To find an album that fetishizes death quite the way this one does, you'd have to go back to... some of the Johnny Cash American recordings, maybe?

Or, I guess, last year's Glenn Campbell farewell.

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To find an album that fetishizes death quite the way this one does, you'd have to go back to... some of the Johnny Cash American recordings, maybe?

Or, I guess, last year's Glenn Campbell farewell.

Well, Leonard is 77 years old. At a certain point, "I wanna rock 'n roll all night and party every day" just doesn't cut it anymore. It's what's on his mind.

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I did not necessarily mean it as a criticism-- and if, once I've spent more time with the album, I were to have a criticism, it would be with the way the topic is addressed, not with the fact that the topic is so central. The "it's on his mind" argument is perfectly convincing to me. :)

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Andy Whitman wrote:

: Well, Leonard is 77 years old. At a certain point, "I wanna rock 'n roll all night and party every day" just doesn't cut it anymore.

Hmmm. Gene Simmons turns 63 this year. What songs does HE sing these days, I wonder. :)

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To find an album that fetishizes death quite the way this one does, you'd have to go back to... some of the Johnny Cash American recordings, maybe?

Or, I guess, last year's Glenn Campbell farewell.

Warren Zevon's The Wind (recorded after he learned he had terminal cancer) is about death, though I'm not sure it fetishizes it.

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