The Darker Album and the Songs

Leonard Ciohen's last studio album (2016)
Bennyboy
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Bennyboy » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:36 am

My favourite part of 'Leaving The Table' is the way he sings the 'oh no no no' parts. In a song about the death of desire, that bit sounds ironically like he is having sex...
JudasPriest
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby JudasPriest » Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:33 pm

The "cutting the cord" line kills me every time. His delivery is exquisite.
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blonde madonna
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby blonde madonna » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:25 am

Like everyone else on this thread I am enjoying playing this album over and over again until the words are absorbed in my psyche along with the rest of his work.

I have enjoyed reading all the different view points but feel conflicted with both agreement and disagreement with everyone. However, that is Leonard Cohen. I can't agree with teresa that this is unfamiliar Cohen or that he has lost his sense of humour or faith. For me these songs are laced with irony. Cohen's irony has been increasing as he has got older, along with his self-deprecation. It had to. The rejection of reason in his fusion of the erotic and the spiritual over the years means he can no longer take himself seriously. I think it only adds to his authenticity and I see more vulnerability.

I also don't think he's ever been or is as spiritually focussed as Joe and DB seem to think. Didn't he say to Roshi that he'd met a woman? He also said that a man never gets over his first sight of a naked woman and that all his sad adventures in pornography, love and song are just steps on the path towards that 'holy vision'. Where DB sees god I almost always see a woman, unless he actually states "I'm ready my Lord".

We can take his lyrics too literally and over analyse them. He is a poet/writer who may use genuine experience but also constructs for artistic effect, borrowing a lot from familiar stories, using a lot of metaphors and generalising like heck to make his songs so universal.

I love every song on this album and I think they sit together and follow each other perfectly. So many wonderful phrases jump out and linger that I don't know where to start. I've had favourite songs on other albums but I can't pick one for this one yet, I just play the whole thing, like one long song. Although 'Hineni' is my new favourite word (and as an aside I found it interesting that Jonathan Safran Foer's new novel is called 'Here I Am', it's a phrase that's in the zeitgeist) I love the more personal lines about his sorrow and that 'bloody hill'.

I've written more than I intended and I hope no one is offended by my highly subjective thoughts. I am such a geek about LC and really like reading the thoughts of fellow enthusiasts.

BM
tularosa
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby tularosa » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:51 am

Well said blonde madonna! you said exactly what I think, thank you !
Bennyboy
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Bennyboy » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:33 pm

We got it darker folks. The flame got killed.
hadley
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby hadley » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:14 pm

Bennyboy wrote:We got it darker folks. The flame got killed.
Funny (in a very unfunny way) how life can follow art sometimes. I thought of those lines too.

Also these which one could say fit the situation almost perfectly, skip to 5:11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPUlVUWrv9E
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Joe Way
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Joe Way » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:22 am

Blond Madonna, you are always one of my favorite posters and analyser of Leonard's poems and songs.

Speaking strictly as a man, I would say that a naked women would greatly improve (or trump as I'm seeing as a possibility today), the whole spiritual nature to which Leonard speaks.

I vote Naked Woman over Spiritual Man. I think Leonard would agree!
Last edited by Joe Way on Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
Bennyboy
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Bennyboy » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:05 pm

Joe Way wrote:Blond Madonna, you are always one of my favorite posters and analyser of Leonard's poem's and song's.

Speaking strictly as a man, I would say that a naked women would greatly improve (or trump as I'm seeing as a possibility today), the whole spiritual nature to which Leonard speaks.

I vote Naked Woman over Spiritual Man. I think Leonard would agree!
In the spirit of which, does anyone else agree with me that the lines

They whisper still the ancient stones, the blunted mountains weep

could refer to his 'gentleman parts' still yearning for a bit of action?
JudasPriest
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby JudasPriest » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:45 am

Steer Your Way indeed...
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby JudasPriest » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:29 am

The man is a genius and the work reflects that.
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Kush
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Kush » Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:14 am

They whisper still the ancient stones, the blunted mountains weep

Beautiful evocative words. I was backpacking in Yellowstone couple of months ago and these words describe exactly the feelings I experienced. Ancient stones and blunted mountains. I tend to read or hear words at face value and not dig too deep, maybe just a little bit.

Have been listening to this album mostly in my car and have a few other thoughts I will share later on.
Keep on talkin' Mama, I like the sound
It goes so good with that rain falling down.. - Rodney Crowell
JudasPriest
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby JudasPriest » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:15 am

Thank you Leonard - for everything. What a beautiful album to sign off with.
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blonde madonna
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby blonde madonna » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:04 am

Joe Way wrote:Blond Madonna, you are always one of my favorite posters and analyser of Leonard's poems and songs.
Joe, you are way too generous, as usual. I have that 'broken feeling' today but so grateful that I met you and Anne in Hamilton (or is my memory crap and it was Toronto?) and that I made what seemed a crazy decision to fly to Auckland to see the last performance of his tour.

DB, please start another BoM type thread on his other poetry!

Hadly, thank you for posting the interview. I had seen it years ago but so lovely to again see him enjoying the company of a beautiful woman and wine.

I think I will need to visit this wonderful place more often right now.

BM
1980 -- Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
1985 -- State Theatre, Melbourne
2008 -- Hamilton, Toronto, Cardiff
2009 -- Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley
2010 -- Melbourne
2013 -- Melbourne, The Hill Winery, Geelong, Auckland
HermioneDanger
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby HermioneDanger » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:18 am

Long-time lurker, you know the rest.

I see the song (and by extension the album) You Want It Darker as a maturation of If It Be Your Will. The latter is a gentle acceptance of life's unfolding, especially with the live arrangement sung by the angelic Webb sisters:

"I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will."

You Want It Darker on the other hand is angry, sullen acceptance, which makes perfect sense for someone experiencing directly the betrayal of a body that is unable to keep up with the mind and soul after a lifetime of suffering.

In Treaty, LC talks about having transcendent experiences (watching water turn to wine) and periods of disillusionment (wine turning back to water) and admits that though he sits at God's table every night, he cannot reach that transcendent state. IMHO, the ghost is the idea of God that he built in his head.

He says his goodbyes over the course of the album - goodbyes to the man he was and the experiences he had.

And we close the album with some beautiful strings, a silencing of the golden voice, and finally the lines:

I wish there was a treaty we could sign
It's over now, the water and the wine
We were broken then but now we're borderline
And I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty between your love and mine.

This to me is our friend finding peace with God, where illusion is stripped away and he's resigned but accepting that the Great Mystery remains a Great Mystery. The devotion is there.

I woke up to the really bad news this morning, during a glorious pink sunrise. For a moment, there was a sense of peace knowing that our friend accomplished the great work he needed to do in this lifetime. I'm a Buddhist, thanks largely to LC, and in this album I hear a man who is reconciling himself with the unknowable God / the Universe / the nature of existence as he has done all his life, and we are all tasked to do (over many lifetimes, if you are Buddhist). A fitting conclusion for a man who held the mirror to our deepest longings.

Finally, some words that gave me comfort today:
"On a day
when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a day.”
-Rumi
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Joe Way
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Joe Way » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:26 am

Yes, Blonde Madonna, it was in Hamilton, Ontario that we met and had the great pleasure of traveling with you and Jim to Niagra Falls and we met Sharon Robinson in the elevator that night. Such great memories and such a good connection-and it was great to see you in Dublin a couple of years ago.

I was torn how to proceed here after the deep sadness of Leonard's passing. I hope that Doron will forgive me for moving on to the next song on the album, "If I Didn't Have Your Love." But this helps me deal with my grief and I think it gives all of us a little comfort.

Back around 2006, Leonard was interviewed on "Fresh Air" by Terry Gross and he expressed a surprising admiration for Louis Armstrong's song, "What a Wonderful World." He said that he would love to leave a love song like that as a legacy. And he admitted, that he was a bit too cynical to write something quite in that same style.

In his song, "Going Home" he writes,
He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat
I think that "If I didn't Have Your Love" is that song.

The songs imagery is like a reversal of creation. "the sun would lose its light... we lived an endless night...and no water in the sea, and the break of day had nothing to reveal."

And in a week that has me contemplating living with defeat, it is even more touching.

The narrator statement,
That's how broken I would be
How my life would seem to me
If I didn't have your love
To make it real.
The final verse is so beautiful with its nod to forgiveness.
If the sun would lose its light
And we lived an endless night
And there's nothing left
That you could feel.
If the sea were sand alone
And the flowers made of stone
And no one that you hurt
Could ever heal.
That's how broken I would be
What my life would seem to me
If I didn't have your love
To make it real.
We are left with the question-whose love is it-who makes it real?

I think he is addressing all of us-all of those who love his words and songs. I've heard from so many people who are receiving messages of condolences because they are known to be Leonard's dear fans and friends. I think this was the final love song that he wrote to all of us.

Rest in Peace, Dear Leonard. The love is returned from all of your dear friends.
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."

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