Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Leonard Cohen's previous album (January 2012)
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 465
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:23 am
Location: New Jersey USA

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by jerry » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:19 am

LisaLCFan wrote:Full album review from The Edmonton Sun

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/01/20/n ... lid-superb

Good stuff!! I can hardly wait to hear it! :D
That's my kind of review.
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Leonard Cohen
User avatar
John Smith
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:25 pm
Location: Bled,Slovenia

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by John Smith » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:27 pm

Slovenian national radio, Song of the week
Leonard Cohen - Darkness
http://www.val202.si/2012/01/glasujte-z ... i-tedna-2/
Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried.
User avatar
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:21 pm
Location: Ghent, Belgium

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by Antoine » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:02 pm

User avatar
Posts: 2438
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by Goldin » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:11 pm

John Smith wrote:Slovenian national radio, Song of the week
Leonard Cohen - Darkness
http://www.val202.si/2012/01/glasujte-z ... i-tedna-2/
42 % for Darkness
32 % for Sir Paul McCartney's My Valentine
He he. Slovenia, go on!
Roman aka Hermitage Prisoner
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 696
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:05 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by Wybe » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:23 pm

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!
by Antoine » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:02 pm

Belgium newspaper / De Standaard

http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail. ... d=LK3L0URL]
Een mooi artikel Antoine.
A great article.

2008 -- Brugge, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Helsinki, Oberhausen, Rotterdam -- 2008
2009 -- Antwerpen, Venice, Barcelona .-- 2009
2010 -- 2 x Gent, Lille, 2x Las Vegas, -- 2010
2012 -- Gent, 2 x Amsterdam, Dublin, Verona -- 2012
2013 -- Pula, Rotterdam -- 2013
https://www.icantforget.nl -- +++ https://www.LCeventAmsterdam.icantforget.nl +++ --
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:41 am

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by yentek » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:06 am

The reviews are now coming in so fast and furious that it's really not possible to keep track - if you Google LC there are dozens of them, and thus far I have not read a single negative one. What interested me was the fact that Sony's head honcho, Stringer, was at the L.A. conference at the Canadian consul - he typically has little to do with the music end of the Sony empire. It seems that Sony is pulling out all the stops here - Leonard has never released an album with this type of build-up before - not even close.
John Etherington
Posts: 2589
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:17 pm

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by John Etherington » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:23 am


There's almost certainly been more reviews in the last week than in the Sixties and Seventies combined. Complete overkill, with many jumping on the bandwagon probably because they think it's Leonard's last album.The album has almost become the "must-have spiritual commodity"! The great irony is that it would have probably gone quietly to the top of the charts without all of the hype. As I said elsewhere, with all this bombardment Leonard probably sometimes wishes he was back on Hydra in the days before the telephone lines were enabled!

All good things, John E
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:47 pm
Location: Finland

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by silvia » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:31 pm

A small contribution from Italy:
http://qn.quotidiano.net/spettacoli/mus ... ardo.shtml
http://www.repubblica.it/spettacoli-e-c ... -28508999/

And here are the Google translations.

Cohen. The Old Ideas of a 'Lazy Bastard'.
London, January 21, 2012 - as a backdrop to the debate that dragged on winter soul behind those made 77 years last September, Leonard Cohen chooses the frame of the dreary London in late January. Although the stucco and velvet tie the songs including the latest album 'Old ideas', in stores in ten days, are sparkling dell'May Fair Hotel. "When you listen you'll look in the eyes one by one to figure out what you think," says the musician reporters came from all over Europe before sitting down together and listen to these ten new songs as if for the first time. But forty minutes later, the applause that melts the last notes of 'Different sides' frustrates any anxiety, prompting him to thank clutching his hat to the heart. Cohen says he only realized at this age the instructions for use of his voice and one might believe from amplification, while the dense and cavernous baritone voice ("if you did not smoke would probably be a soprano") creeps in painful resignation 'Going home'. "I love to talk with Leonard, he is a sportsman and a pastor, a lazy bastard who lives in an elegant dress," admits the text is not without a touch of complacency. "Maybe I exaggerated with the elegant dress ...", he glosses in the hat pointing to a polite smile. Although to point your finger against the time that slips between your fingers, blackened with ink from an experience hard to wash off, is above all that 'The Darkness' played well on tour, 247 concerts in two years in front of nearly two million fan base that does not mean that this new effort CD format can not add an additional tail. "I have no future, I know that my days are few, but this is not so nice," Cohen sings about being dubbed the 'beautiful loser' in search of a decent sunset. More and more hearing continues the key to the album seems to become one of the blues. The Hammond songs like 'The Darkness' or 'Different Sides', the harmonica of 'Lullaby', the mournful violin of 'Amen', the sensuality of the night 'Anyhow' push in this direction.
BUT there are also songs in the repertoire of different sign as "Crazy to Love You" by Leonard dedicated to art and life partner Anjani Thomas, with whom he had already recorded a popular "Blue Alert". Since the last studio album to his name "Dear Heather" has been more than seven years and perhaps it would have passed if the urge to write off many a tour (monumental) the void left by former cash manager Kelley Lynch, volatilizzatosi with almost 5 million dollars of his savings, had not forced the "lazy bastard" to shake it from its torpor putting in motion the creative process he compares the hive in search of honey from the bear. "Everything can eventually result in an incredible pleasure or unspeakable pain, but you can not do anything about it. And 'life. " Produced by Ed Sanders, "Old ideas" is the twelfth chapter of a discography started by Cohen in the mid-seventies, when collections of poems such as "We compare then our myths" or "land of Spices" had packed a solid literary reputation. "Here in London a few days ago are in tornado alley house in Hampstead, where I took in '59," he recalls. "I was from a lady who rented the first thing he asked me what job I did. The writer said. "And what you write?". About three pages a day, said. "Well, get to work now will check it and know that if you beat the weak there's the door. "The favorite game," my first volume of short stories, was born that way. " Andrea Spinelli

Leonard Cohen: "I still sing but are now discouraged a poet "
Comes out later this month the new album by the great Canadian singer-songwriter, entitled Old ideas. Ten new songs in eight years since the last collection of new songs. "I do not write songs, poems only courting the music. But I always seem to scrape the bottom of the barrel, to be, to quote Yeats, the rag of the heart"
from our correspondent Giuseppe Videtta

LONDON - He has fifteen years, is the 1949. In Montreal the wind is cold, sharp. The boy has not a penny in my pocket to warm up in its place comes a poem, a used book store. He leafs through one. He takes it, then pass to pay. "From that day I have not abandoned Federico Garcia Lorca," says Leonard Cohen.
The baritone voice is magnetic, even ironically. On beautiful women, who spend years on, the vices and virtues of old age. And 'entered at that stage of life where men shrink, returning children. Seems fragile, almost disappears into the double-breasted. The Borsalino takes the eyes in shadow. Must thank that voice still cloudy and sexy when he entered the protagonist in the third age with a record 247 tour dates (2008-10) that produced a couple of live albums and a DVD.
On January 31, eight years from Dear Heather, Public Old ideas, a CD of unreleased, some music by Patrick Leonard, Madonna collaborator town. But they are not tunes. "I do not write songs, poems courting only the music," Cohen makes it clear.
His concerts have attracted an audience worthy of a pop idol. Merit of music or poetry?
"Poetry comes first. Only rarely do the verses become songs. For good will of friends or my girlfriend Anjani (Thomas)."
It was an almost obligatory step, his manager had stolen five million dollars leaving your account dry while she was in the monastery of Mt Baldy.
"Writing is not always a luxury, it is sometimes a necessity. And I assure you that the poet does not live in a comfort zone in this age in which he speaks in slogans. I was that I was on Leonard. They have always said that the My songs are self-indulgent and moved by an instinct suicide? me again repeats Patrick Leonard when he read the text of Going Home. As you blame him? It 'a soliloquy. "
Eight years for ten new songs are so many.
"There were not even that if the recent tour had not restarted energies. The enthusiasm of the audience enlightened me. And rejuvenated. I do not understand why I waited 15 years. I had become like Ronald Reagan in the years of decline. Remembered I had seen a good part, that of president in a movie, and I barely remembered to have been a singer. ... As for the compositions I could tell her that my house is full of manuscripts, which I have so many ideas to have every time spoiled for choice. It is not. I am a poet, discouraged, I always seem to scrape the bottom of the barrel, to be, to quote Yeats, the rag of the heart. Poetry is a mysterious process, inexplicable, uncontrollable , dangerous even, depends on a certain grace, enlightenment of the moment. And if you delay too much, risks paralysis. I have an idea at a time. And on that I can work forever. "
For example?
"Hallelujah, who sang a beautiful song too many. It 'was on the desk for four years. At the end he had eighty verses."
Now that he has rediscovered the life on the road there will be a new tour?
"You see, I have to smoke to keep this entry a lot. What I have done continuously since I left my Zen retreat (in 1999). I'm almost 78 years, could be dangerous. But if I stop the risk of becoming a soprano."
It has a companion 25 years younger, but his reputation is legendary Tombeur de femmes. We are still in their twenties who are waiting after the show.
"At my age it's a relief to have a reputation with women, so you do not have to waste time in endless preliminaries."
How did it end with Federico Garcia after that first "encounter" in Montreal?
"I have maintained an intimate relationship with him - my daughter is called Lorca (in February has become a grandfather, Lorca Cohen, 36, had a daughter, Katherine Viva, by Rufus Wainwright, Ed.) Discover the things that a teenager will remain attacked him. Yeats and Lorca were poets who understand the fly - it took me years to penetrate the sonnets of Shakespeare. "
It was here in London that took shape his first novel.
"Yes, in the district of Hampstead, was 1959. The landlord, a gruff woman, asked me: what do you do? Writer. How many pages per day do you write? Three. Ok, will check every day, but eventually will be three in the street. Thus was born The favorite game (1963) ".
He has in mind for the future?
"I answer with the verses of Darkness: 'I have no future / I know I counted the days / This is not so nice / Only so many things to do / I thought that the past would have been enough / But the darkness has swallowed that too '".
It 's time to awards: the New Yorker has streaming Going Home, Random House has inserted in the Everyman series, in good company with Byron and Keats, and Spain gave the Prince of Asturias, the highest honor the literary; a jury composed by Bono, among others, Salman Rushdie and Paul Simon was awarded the PEN New England as the "Song lyrics of literary excellence" ...
"... Along with Chuck Berry. What satisfaction! I wish I'd written myself into the" Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news "."
(January 21, 2012) © All rights reserved
Lucca 2008, Antwerp e Venezia 2009, Helsinki 2010
User avatar
Posts: 4110
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by sturgess66 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:02 pm

Jesse Kornbluth at the Huffington Post -
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-kor ... 27640.html
Leonard Cohen, At 77, Calls His New CD 'Old Ideas.' It's Anything But.

Posted: 01/24/2012 10:01 am
Jesse Kornbluth
Editor of HeadButler.com

How do you access the important moments in your life?

Not the moments the world sees.

I mean the great personal moments, the ones that matter most.

I'm certain I'm not alone when I say that music has been a direct pathway to my memory of these moments.

Like this: I am not someone who stays up all night, ever, but when my first book was due and I was just 21 and so scared, I sat at the typewriter until dawn, playing Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" over and over as I wrote, and then, as the business day started, I walked the manuscript to my publisher with a confidence I wish I felt every day. Ever since, whenever "Visions of Johanna" shows up....

That memory is the exception. Most connected to music are connected also to women. The happy memories have a varied play list: The Four Tops, Otis Redding, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The heavier memories --- almost all of them --- are linked to the songs of Leonard Cohen.

If you're in the Cohen Cult, you have a list like mine. As someone has said, "You play Leonard after the lovers have left and are in the arms of others." Not always. Sometimes the women were there, and so was a kind of distress you didn't understand and didn't particularly want but couldn't resist --- like a black-and-blue mark you can't help pressing, I used to think. There was something about that pain....

The creator of those songs always knew all about that. He picked up the guitar as a kid because he sensed it could help him with girls. It worked --- Cohen is catnip to many of the women in my life. As Cohen now says, "It was agreeable to have some kind of a reputation or some kind of list of credentials so you didn't have to start from scratch with every woman you walked into." Look around a Cohen concert and even now, when he says it doesn't matter, you'll see women who look at him as their romantic ideal.

Leonard Cohen is now 77. A few years ago, his manager stole most of his money, so he went on a two-year tour, giving long shows that were as close to perfect as anything we're ever likely to see. Everyone who saw Cohen on that tour will hold tight to the image of a thin man in a gray suit, tipping his fedora to his audience in gratitude and humility as he delivered what might euphemistically be called his greatest hits.

I remember we were playing in Ireland and the reception was so warm that tears came to my eyes and I thought, 'I can't be seen weeping at this point,' then I turned around and saw the guitar player weeping."

When the tour was over, he went into the studio with 10 new songs and recorded a CD ironically titled "Old Ideas." That too was bracing --- it's very likely he'll tour again and, perhaps for the last time, we'll see the dapper gent in the gray suit tip his fedora to us in humility and gratitude.

I was not exactly looking forward to this CD. His last, "Dear Heather," was a weak effort, a marker of decline. Worse than decline; it sounded as if he was borderline addled, incapable of realizing that he really shouldn't be releasing this.

But a week before the launch of "Old Ideas" you can hear a free stream of the entire CD. I couldn't resist. [To hear "Old Ideas" now, click here.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicbl ... intcmp=239
To pre-order the CD --- for $9.99 --- from Amazon, click here.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0067LY4WG/?ta ... tlercom-20
For the MP3 download, click here.]
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00702MUYA/?ta ... tlercom-20

So...is this an old man's record? It would be easy to make the case. "I've got no future, I know my days are few," he sings. "I thought the past would last me, but the darkness got that too." As for thinking about death --- he practices Zen, you'd better believe his extinction has come up for him. "I've come to the conclusion, reluctantly, that I am going to die," he told a recent interviewer. "So naturally those questions arise and are addressed. But, you know, I like to do it with a beat."

And yet "Old Ideas" is anything but a valedictory. It's taut, vital music, stripped of the electronic gimmicky that sounded so cool a few records ago and got tiresome when they seemed to be covering for weak songs and a weakening voice. You'll hear bits of JJ Cale here, and an echo of "Old Black Joe," and, in the background, smart homages to his own work. (For the best example, listen to "Darkness.")

That's the music. The lyrics are something else: considered, bone-deep, precise. And smart in a way that looks like his best work --- a reach for what is eternally true. Here's his method:

I don't really like songs with ideas. They tend to become slogans. They tend to be on the right side of things: ecology or vegetarianism or antiwar. All these are wonderful ideas but I like to work on a song until those slogans, as wonderful as they are and as wholesome as the ideas they promote are, dissolve into deeper convictions of the heart. I never set out to write a didactic song. It's just my experience. All I've got to put in a song is my own experience.

"My own experience" is precisely why we put on the headphones, light the candles, make ceremony out of listening. Because Leonard Cohen, for those who love him, is older than time and younger than tomorrow. He insists he has no answers --- "Who's to blame in this catastrophe? I never figured that out" --- but we know he does something even more important: He asks the right questions.

Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian had a terrific conversation with Cohen.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/ja ... NTCMP=SRCH

And here is a speech he gave when he received an award. Notice how, without notes, he's word-perfect.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... IR5ps8usuo

[Cross-posted from HeadButler.com]
User avatar
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by dick » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:39 pm

From the Village Volice
http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-01-25/ ... ard-cohen/

Sing Another Song, Leonard Cohen
Returning with Old Ideas

By Maura Johnston Wednesday, Jan 25 2012

Thursday night at Webster Hall, the Brooklyn act Cults celebrated a homecoming of sorts. The gloom-pop band's set included what frontwoman Madeline Follin claimed was a rare encore (assisted by the Indiana MC Freddie Gibbs) and a heap of songs that danced across the line separating the feeling of being totally crushed out and the feeling of crushing romantic disappointment. Reverb-swaddled guitars filled the room, Follin's hair swinging in the wind as she swayed in time with the music.

Leonard Cohen: Getting deeper and deeper
At one point, the band took a breather from playing songs from its 2011 debut to bring a cover into the mix: "Everybody Knows," Leonard Cohen's stormy track from 1988. "Everybody knows the good guys lost; everybody knows the fight was fixed," Follin sang bleakly while keyboards chimed behind her. The power of the Canadian troubadour's statements about a cruel world caused the room to collapse into something more intimate. Follin's band is as notable for somehow managing to be an enigma in the Internet age as it is for its hummable, glockenspiel-assisted pop jewel "Go Outside." And she had clearly practiced this Cohen tune a lot—at home, alone, feeling the weary sentiment underlying its blackest lyrics.

The next afternoon, a clutch of people—some of whom had traveled from as far as Montreal and Los Angles—were invited to Joe's Pub to hear the latest from Cohen, Old Ideas (Columbia). The album, Cohen's 12th, arrives in record stores Tuesday. Its 10 songs are edited down to only the most necessary musical elements. In contrast to the heavier arrangements of his earlier work, the minimalism is so stark at times that the aftermath of a single string being plucked turns into its own sort of instrumentation, thanks to it having so much room to breathe. Cohen's bottomless voice curls around sardonic phrases and lamentations about loves lost; the voices of his female collaborators, including longtime foils Sharon Robinson and Jennifer Warnes, swoop in and out, serving as airy counterpoints.

Label-mandated listening sessions for important new records can be sterile affairs, often set in conference rooms or disused offices. Setting the first listen to Old Ideas at the smartly renovated Joe's Pub was a savvy move, because as the album played through on Friday, the feeling was not unlike being in church: The mid-winter dusk filtered through the windows of Joe's Pub in such a way as to give the low-lit room an added glow; attendees had their heads bowed in concentration, only looking up to glance around the room or sip from the drinks in front of them; the lyric sheets strewn on each cocktail table served as hymnals, full of Cohen's sly rhymes and self-lacerating observations. (The reference to a stone being rolled away on "Show Me the Place" and the cross-splinter imagery on the hymnlike "Come Healing" only added to that atmosphere.) "I love to speak with Leonard/He's a sportsman and a shepherd," Old Ideas begins, and as if to bring that opening line full circle, the formerly reclusive singer was, in fact, in the building and ready to answer questions.

In 2009, I saw one of Cohen's Beacon Theater shows, his first concerts in the United States after about 15 years. The performance didn't show any signs of rust: He ran through his catalog with aplomb and inspired at least 10 standing ovations, and throughout, he was charming and gracious, going so far as to thank even the woman who took care of his hats. Friday's appearance was no different. Even the most hard-headed journalists in the room seemed to be holding their breath, rapt with attention and asking questions with keen attention paid to each word he uttered in his singular voice. Which actually sounded a bit different than it had in previous years, he noted: "My voice is getting lower and lower because I gave up smoking. I expected it to rise. It went the other way."

Cohen, seated at a table just below the stage, talked about the album, the goings-on in his own world ("My own personal life is as shabby, dismal, and uninteresting as the rest of ours," he said at one point), and memories of his time living at the Chelsea Hotel, when things were so rough that he "believed in these powders . . . and bought a book on candles." The book on candles proved to be a somewhat useful conversation piece with fellow Chelsea Hotel resident Edie Sedgwick. In an attempt to chat her up, he blurted out that the arrangement of candles in her room would probably catch fire one day, and, he claimed, that "one day" wound up being the day after he'd blurted out his warning.

It almost didn't matter if the story were true or apocryphal. The room shook with laughter, the assembled collectively thrilled that they were hearing this tale of The Lost New York That Probably Won't Be Coming Back Anytime Soon from as expert a storyteller as Cohen. Old Ideas, with its blend of lyrics old and new (including "Banjo," a mournful tune about love and instruments lost that, Cohen said, was inspired by the imagery coming out of New Orleans post-Katrina) and its foregrounding of Cohen's basso profundo, is similarly intimate, its 10 songs speaking to the heartache that everybody knows in a way that simultaneously enthralls and causes heartbreak.

User avatar
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:49 am
Location: warrington uk

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by phillip » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:24 pm

Great idea will do
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
User avatar
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:52 am

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by mckennyg » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:25 am

User avatar
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:52 am

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by mckennyg » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:45 am

User avatar
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by dick » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:30 pm

New York Times
Jan 27, 2012

Final Reckonings, a Tuneful Fedora and Forgiveness

LEONARD COHEN generally takes his time. He sings, speaks, writes and records at his own measured pace. Concerts on his recent world tour have stretched to three hours. His new album, “Old Ideas,” is his first studio album since “Dear Heather” in 2004.

But in an interview this month, when a journalist mentioned writing on deadline, he said: “You’ve got a deadline. Well, I do too: death.” He smiled. “It tends to insert itself into our considerations.”

Mr. Cohen, 77, was making promotional rounds for “Old Ideas” (Columbia), hosting a listening party at Joe’s Pub in the East Village. Slender and urbane in a gray suit and a fedora, with impeccable posture, he urged the guests to keep drinking as they listened, excused himself while the album played — “I’ve heard it,” he deadpanned — and returned to field a few questions.

Where was he when the album’s opening song, “Going Home,” was written? “In trouble,” he replied.

Asked to analyze the album, he said, “It’s probably not a good idea to do an autopsy on a living thing.”

Afterward, in a dressing room, Mr. Cohen said mortality was very much on his mind and in his songs. “I think it’s in all of them now,” he said. “I think it manifests itself as an unwillingness to screw around, and an unwillingness to be heavy-handed. You don’t want to do that, because I think there’s something about cheerfulness and dignity that are indicated.”

“Old Ideas” is an autumnal album, musing on memories and final reckonings, but it also has a gleam in its eye. It grapples once again with topics Mr. Cohen has pondered throughout his career: love, desire, faith, betrayal, redemption. Some of the diction is biblical; some is drily sardonic. “They’re old ideas in the sense that they’re old unresolved ideas, old moral questions,” he said backstage. “They’re ideas that have been rattling around in the mind of the culture for a long time.”

In many of the songs, true to ancient traditions of mystical poetry, the singer could be speaking to a lover or to God. The lyrics often build associations around a repeated phrase. In “Amen” — a slow shuffle with a banjo tickling at its fringes — Mr. Cohen sings, “Tell me again/When I’ve been to the river/And I’ve taken the edge off my thirst/Tell me again/We’re alone and I’m listening/I’m listening so hard that it hurts.”

He wrote and recorded part of “Old Ideas” with an unexpected partner: Patrick Leonard, best known as Madonna’s producer on albums including “Like a Prayer” and “Ray of Light.” He met Mr. Cohen while producing an album for his son, Adam Cohen; they got to talking about music, and Mr. Leonard spotted potential in a poem that would become “Going Home,” easing into further collaboration. “Going Home” starts the album with a hymnlike melody and a droll twist; it’s sung by an unnamed narrator — a manager? God? Satan? — using someone named Leonard as a mouthpiece: “He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit.”

Unlike “Dear Heather,” an underproduced album full of dinky-sounding keyboard, “Old Ideas” features acoustic instruments: violin, slide guitar, trumpet, lightly brushed drums. The music is a slow-motion take on blues, hymns and waltzes, played with a hushed, almost surreptitious touch. For one song, “Anyhow” — which pleads, “I know you can’t forgive me/But forgive me anyhow” — a rhythm was tapped on a fedora, a sound Mr. Cohen and Mr. Leonard pondered.

Many of the songs are more spoken than sung, their melodies supplied by phantom female choirs. Mr. Cohen’s voice, always sepulchral, has dipped even deeper. “My voice is getting lower and lower because I gave up smoking,” he said. “I expected it to rise but it’s gone the other way. I would like to take up smoking again when I’m 80. I may be on the road then, and it’s one of the things that invites me to tour again — smoking on the road.”

There’s a camaraderie in the music that Mr. Cohen credits to his recent years of touring, an unexpected consequence of what he had thought was financial ruin. In 1996 and 2001, preparing for retirement, Mr. Cohen sold his copyrights and songwriting royalties to Sony Music, netting about $10 million to place in investment trusts. But by 2004 he learned that those proceeds, controlled by his personal manager at the time, were nearly gone; a 2006 lawsuit awarded him $9 million that he was unable to collect. His solution was to return to the road; on his 75th birthday, in 2009, he was onstage in Barcelona. Tax refunds, insurance, a renegotiated contract with Sony and a CD and DVD, “Live in London,” from his tour, have helped restore his assets, but returning to the road transformed him.

“I was living a kind of hermit’s life, which was not altogether disagreeable, for 10 or 15 years,” he said. “I didn’t know whether or not I’d ever go back on the road. And a certain distance had developed between me and my work, although I never stopped working, I never stopped writing. But I think the writing took a certain more theological, more philosophical bent. It became somewhat more distant from the beating pulse.

“And for some financial reasons I was forced to go back on the road to repair the fortunes of my family and myself. And this was a most fortunate happenstance because I was able to connect, for one thing, with living musicians. I was working at home with just keyboards and my own guitar. Suddenly I was dealing with living musicians and then with living audiences and, yes, it did have a great effect. And I think it warmed some part of my heart that had taken on a chill.”

Mr. Cohen didn’t mention retirement. He said he had written, but not recorded, enough songs for another album. As some songs on “Old Ideas” clearly suggest, he has been listening extensively to the blues: music that grapples, tersely and eloquently, with “loss and death,” he said. Reflecting on his deadline, he summoned a Memphis Slim song: “When it all comes down,” he said. “You’ve got to go back to Mother Earth.”
Posts: 761
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:22 am
Location: France

Re: Let's Help Make Old Ideas #1 Worldwide!!

Post by Judy » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:23 pm

Post Reply

Return to “OLD IDEAS”