The Darker Album and the Songs

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

Postby gretabertella » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:12 am

yopietro wrote:
gretabertella wrote:
yopietro wrote:From the title track to this last verse, the question of faith on this album seems to be conveyed from quite a different place than that from which Leonard sang on If It Be Your Will or Hallelujah.
That's exactly what I meant.
I'm not quite sure that's a faith issue. I don't think he lost his faith [in God, Life, Love, whatever: I have no name for it, as Faust says]. I think Leonard is just looking at God from a different point of view now. Like he could finally forgive himself and find God within himself.
That's why - I think, there are so many references to Christ throughout the album. LC has always liked Jesus, but this time, well, he likes him more...
I also think that in It Seemed The Better Way, Christ himself is talking (or, better, thinking), while praying with the Apostles during the last supper. And who's Christ? A man; who has the divine within himself but, at the same time, who has to die. Such as to say a man who believes but who's still a man and doesn't want to die. But to believe means to accept the truth of your own death. So, Christ is a contradiction [a paradox]. We all are.
Yes, we all are paradoxes indeed. But I don't hear him evolving closer to Jesus. More moving away from the promise of divine salvation in any form.
I'm not claiming Leonard is becoming Christian. Nor that he now seeks salvation in Jesus instead of God.
I'm just underlining that in this album he makes a lot of references to Jesus.
And what is Jesus' last sentence, while one the cross, just before he died?
Matthew and Mark tell us: «At three, he uttered a loud cry, “Elohi! Elohi! L’mah sh’vaktani?” ("My God! My God! Why have you deserted me?)». Then he died. He doesn't say, God is great, God is gonna save me, this is fair, that's the better way. He says instead, God is betraying me, it seemed the better way but it's not the truth today.
Leonard is not asking Jesus to save him. He IS Jesus.
Every human being is, in fact, the paradox Jesus was. Christ is nothing more than a good metaphor here.
When I said I don't think there's a faith issue in this album, I was pointing out that Leonard is still believing in God. He talks to him! But, as you say, God is no more the God of salvation. He is almost an enemy, the Great Killer.
Leonard has to seek his own salvation, has to find a God within himself, has to steer his way on his own.
He is the Great Believer struggling and fighting with the God he believed in. And this new shape of the divine, still very present, makes the album more alive and powerful than ever.

[It's weird to say, Leonard thinks, Leonard is, Leonard wants to say. Of course, that's my image of Leonard. So, I have to say that my Leonard thinks, is, wants to say. Everyone of us has his own Leonard. The real Leonard probably doesn't exist - joking, joking, joking!]
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FOXWOOD
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby FOXWOOD » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:07 am

I listened to this album for the first time 36 mins and 15 seconds ago.
I am now listening to this album for the second time.
I love it.
(I am not known for my insightful music reviews)
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Bird off the Wire
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Bird off the Wire » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:33 am

yopietro wrote:String Reprise is one absolutely beautiful piece of music. Hats off to Patrick Leonard for this arrangement and for producing such a moving track.

And this album is a just a masterwork. It's hitting all the spots.
Don't really agree this should be on the album, although I agree it's a beautiful piece of music. I would have far preferred another song! Having said that, this is a great album. I agree with other reviewers that it's a more satisfying album than his last 2, although these were great albums.
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gretabertella
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby gretabertella » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:01 am

FOXWOOD wrote:I love it.
(I am not known for my insightful music reviews)
This is the most insightful review, actually.
I love it too.
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Susy
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Susy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:14 am

... Thank you Leonard and Adam
for sharing all this beautiful Lyrics with us !
By now I most love * Leaving the Table * ,
and he Music to this is so intense !
Thank you Jarkko xxx
Susy
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abby
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby abby » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:22 am

My favorite line from Popular Problems is 'I was alone on the road & your love was so confusing.' When I can't see how what's real is right & perfect that's my prayer.

Today I heard
'They ought to give my heart a medal
For letting go of you'
I have that medal. It is inside a little tin in a lockbox on my bookshelf. I'm not kidding.

Early this morning I was sitting in a coffee shop before work, eating my toast & drinking my coffee alone with headphones on, smiling like a crazy person with a heart close to exploding from fullness.

Is there anything in the world better than a new Leonard Cohen album?
ProfNowlin
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby ProfNowlin » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:38 am

The invigoratingly painful jubilee of "Treaty" has completely stopped me in my tracks, so much so that my engagement with the rest of the album has thus far been casual at best. I don't have any real interest in offering an exhaustive "reading" of the song, or in trying to unpack particular lines, but I feel compelled to try and say a few things.

Like so much of L. Cohen's work, "Treaty" blurs prayer and love song, spiritual meditation and erotic lament -- or rather, it doesn't so much blur them as speak from that deep place where the agonies of love and the insoluble questions of the spirit are inherently one and the same. As I hear it, it's a song that voices the simultaneous miracle and impossibility of a particular relationship, the aching truth that sometimes our deepest attachments simply cannot survive the falsifying mechanisms and the mysterious torments that the specific context of a human encounter often carries with it. I also hear, in and through the particular drama I try to describe above, a broader engagement with the inevitable disappointment and pain operative in life as a whole. This is both a personal kind of love song and an impersonal dialogue with the universe. Really what the song so powerfully conveys for me is the inseparability of love and loss -- that perennial occupation of lyric poetry. The song ineffably touches something in me, a naked vulnerability, that in the midst of life's most difficult situations longs for an impossible "treaty," a solution, a respite from suffering, even while knowing full well that such a compromise is not forthcoming, and that in fact its very impossibility is the key to the visitation of such beautiful longing.

The above may sound abstract and intellectually pompous, but let me ground it a bit (by the way, speaking of grounding it: the delivery of the line, "You were my ground -- my safe and sound / You were my aerial," is something I find more moving than just about anything else in L. Cohen's work). My mother is currently suffering from Alzheimer's. It is, of course, a heartbreaking situation, one that is particularly painful to witness because this amazing woman who happens to be my mother has always been a supreme intellect, someone whose adventurous soul has inspired many people. I'm not currently on the front lines, as it were, of trying to navigate the day-to-day challenges that arise as her memory and awareness erode more drastically seemingly every day, but even from afar, the utter impossibility of the situation, the complete inability somehow to solve the painful tragedy of it, colors every facet of my life. It's a darkness that nevertheless inspires a certain vitality. As I move through the particular moments of my life -- as a father, a husband, a teacher, a writer -- I find myself much more sensitive to the bittersweet tang that seems always to be just beneath the surface of one's thoughts and feelings, one's longings, and one's engagements with other people. The fleeting beauty of life has a sharper edge to it.

I don't want to get into all the specifics -- unfortunately, some of you reading this have probably experienced the horrors of witnessing someone battle this particular disease -- but right at the moment my siblings and I are faced with some especially anguished decisions about my mother's need for increased care. As I say, it's a totally impossible situation. And I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty we could sign.

"Treaty" has arrived in my life at the perfect time. It sounds depths. It saddens. But it also invigorates, as Leonard hoped the album as a whole would. Like much of Leonard Cohen's best work, "Treaty" is not just a song but a piece of soul. The way this works is more mysterious than my words indicate. It has, I think, less to do with the "content" of the song, and more to do with the place from which the song arises, in other words, with the sacred dimension of Leonard's poetic enterprise.

I trust that I'll get to the rest of the album down the line.

B. Nowlin
Last edited by ProfNowlin on Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bennyboy
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Bennyboy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:39 am

ProfNowlin wrote:The invigoratingly painful jubilee of "Treaty" has completely stopped me in my tracks, so much so that my engagement with the rest of the album has thus far been casual at best. I don't have any real interest in offering an exhaustive "reading" of the song, or in trying to unpack particular lines, but I feel compelled to try and say a few things.

Like so much of L. Cohen's work, "Treaty" blurs prayer and love song, spiritual meditation and erotic lament -- or rather, it doesn't so much blur them as speak from that deep place where the agonies of love and the insoluble questions of the spirit are inherently one and the same. As I hear it, it's a song that voices the simultaneous miracle and impossibility of a particular relationship, the aching truth that sometimes our deepest attachments simply cannot survive the falsifying mechanisms and the mysterious torments that the specific context of a human encounter often carries with it. I also hear, in and through the particular drama I try to describe above, a broader engagement with the inevitable disappointment and pain operative in life as a whole. This is both a personal kind of love song and an impersonal dialogue with the universe. Really what the song so powerfully conveys for me is the inseparability of love and loss -- that perennial occupation of lyric poetry. The song ineffably touches something in me, a naked vulnerability, that in the midst of life's most difficult situations longs for an impossible "treaty," a solution, a respite from suffering, even while knowing full well that such a compromise is not forthcoming, and that in fact its very impossibility is the key to the visitation of such beautiful longing.

The above may sound abstract and intellectually pompous, but let me ground it a bit (by the way, speaking of grounding it: the delivery of the line, "You were my ground -- my safe and sound / You were my aerial," is something I find more moving than just about anything else in L. Cohen's work). My mother is currently suffering from Alzheimer's. It is, of course, a heartbreaking situation, one that is particularly painful to witness because this amazing woman who happens to be my mother has always been a supreme intellect, someone whose adventurous soul has inspired many people. I'm not currently on the front lines, as it were, of trying to navigate the day-to-day challenges that arise as her memory and awareness erode more drastically seemingly every day, but even from afar, the utter impossibility of the situation, the complete inability somehow to solve the painful tragedy of it, colors every facet of my life. It's a darkness that nevertheless inspires a certain vitality. As I move through the particular moments of my life -- as a father, a husband, a teacher, a writer -- I find myself much more sensitive to the bittersweet tang that seems always to be just beneath the surface of one's thoughts and feelings, one's longings, and one's engagements with other people. The fleeting beauty of life has a sharper edge to it.

I don't want to get into all the specifics -- unfortunately, some of you reading this have probably experienced the horrors of witnessing someone battle this particular disease -- but right at the moment my siblings and I are faced with some especially anguished decisions about my mother's need for increased care. As I say, it's a totally impossible situation. And I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty we could sign.

"Treaty" has arrived in my life at the perfect time. It sounds depths. It saddens. But it also invigorates, as Leonard hoped the album as a whole would. Like much of Leonard Cohen's best work, "Treaty" is not just a song but a piece of soul. The way this works is more mysterious than my words indicate. It has, I think, less to do with the "content" of the song, and more to do with the place from which the song arises, in other words, with the sacred dimension of Leonard's poetic enterprise.

I trust that I'll get to the rest of the album another time.

B. Nowlin
Thank you for such a deeply personal, raw account of your relationship with the song. I hope you manage to negotiate the path ahead as painlessly as possible.

I totally understand your affinity with the lines 'you were my ground / my safe and sound'. Of all the lines in this magnificent song, it's these which hit me the hardest too. It could perhaps be something in the way he sings it, with such naked vulnerability?

Whatever the reasons, I think 'Treaty' is up there with his very best songs - an incredible piece of art.
duffieldbish
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby duffieldbish » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:51 am

Treaty moves me more every time I listen to it. Has anyone else noticed that the last verse as printed in the CD lyrics is not actually sung by Leonard? Have listened to it again using the link to LCF and love that version too with piano rather than the incredible strings arrangement on the released version.
Bennyboy
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Bennyboy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:13 pm

duffieldbish wrote:Treaty moves me more every time I listen to it. Has anyone else noticed that the last verse as printed in the CD lyrics is not actually sung by Leonard? Have listened to it again using the link to LCF and love that version too with piano rather than the incredible strings arrangement on the released version.
He sings the last verse of 'Treaty' at the end of the album.
duffieldbish
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby duffieldbish » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:38 pm

You're right of course. Also, I'm talking nonsense about the arrangement - the strings I was thinking of are on Steer Your Way. All the excitement has clearly addled my brain.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby B4real » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:35 pm

YWID-cd-liner-notes-page-10.jpg
.....and neither can I!!.....thanks Adam! The above liner notes say it all.....

I travelled almost 100 kilometres to get this album today and the distance seemed to be covered with little effort! I have just finished listening to my CD for the first time and I have to say it was more than quite a moving experience! One word is resonating in my psyche – poignant, and I would also add compelling and as said above, haunting. OK, I know that’s three words, and I’m really trying not to elaborate!

The synagogue choir and solo complement the words and harmonise so well with the rest of the musical instrumentation all of which just seems to be an absolutely perfect foil for Leonard’s voice. If I Didn’t Have Your Love ....to make it (B4 ;-) ) real.... has a naked truthful sensitivity which I like. Ah geez, the whole album has that! And yes, it seems at first listening my favourite is also the same as a lot of other people’s – Treaty - and I think there are keyboards and no actual violin within hearing distance!

Of course I love the violin in Travelling Light and It Seemed The Better Way and Steer Your Way but I especially love the violins in String Reprise/ Treaty along with the cello and the viola! Such a peaceful way to end what is such an intense album. In fact, I’m now reminded that Leonard said The Future was such a dense album that Tacoma Trailer was a perfect way to unwind from the previous songs on it and I feel a similar way about the last track on this current album.

.....and yes, Leonard, I also wish there was a treaty we could sign.....

I’m so grateful this album was able to eventually come to fruition under such adverse circumstances.
Knowing that, it really says something about not ever giving up!
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
yopietro
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby yopietro » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:01 pm

Bennyboy wrote: I totally understand your affinity with the lines 'you were my ground / my safe and sound'. Of all the lines in this magnificent song, it's these which hit me the hardest too. It could perhaps be something in the way he sings it, with such naked vulnerability?
Yes it is the vulnerable way he delivers that line, breaking out of his current natural register to sing this in a range where you can hear echoes of his younger self, at least 40 years back in time, coming through. It's such a moving moment.
Tamaraz
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Tamaraz » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:06 pm

Just listened to this twice through....of course I just love it and am extremely moved....however I get a "sense" of a man moving away from faith...from the idea of truth ...the song where hes "traveling light", the song where he speaks of thinking it sounded like the truth but its not the truth anymore...one where he talks about people having "the way" but no longer having it...but then I sense a struggle as well....sorry I don't have song titles and exact lyrics to quote! Anyway - I will never get enough of LC..."If I didn't Have Your Love" - makes me think of my dad, a new widower, who is really struggling alone....also (for myself) makes me think of God...ah - last thing - this line I LOVE - "I was fighting with temptation but I didn't want to win" - MAN I love that!
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phillip
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby phillip » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:16 pm

wow an amazing album just love it sad too am lost for words its a masterpieace Thankyou Leonard :)
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!

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