#1088: 2016, Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker

by Ray_North on December 6, 2016

It seems like years ago since I last posted a song. And, it’s true, in that time, much seems to have happened, and most of it seems to have been bad.

One of the worst things has been the death of Leonard Cohen – one of the true giants, a poet, a musician, a legend, a lover. He is one of the few artists in which the mere mention of his name immediately conjures up, not just a sound, or a look, but a whole world – a world of thick cigarette smoke coiling around a whisky glass, a world of basement bars and Parisian night times.

Weirdly, in the last year, I’ve had messages from George and Charlie telling me to invest in albums by soon to be dead artists (the other being Bowie of course), I’m glad to say that on both occasions I took their advice and I wasn’t disappointed with either Bowie’s Blackstar or Leonard Cohen’s final offering,You Want It Darker, from which, this is the title track.

As with Darkstar, If You Want It Darker has the powerful feeling of a man who was completing his last work and was looking back contentedly at his legacy, raging only slightly against the dying of his light, at peace with what is to come next. The opening verse of this song is particularly portentous:

If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike Killingworth December 7, 2016 at 9:07 am

A giant, indeed. Rather than sorrow, let us celebrate his (long, full) life and work.

And let me also take this opportunity to plug two singer-songwriters who are AFAIK still with us, and who IMHO bear comparison with LC:

http://gillianwelch.com/main/

http://lucindawilliams.com/videos/

Williams is the daughter of the poet Miller Williams some of whose work she sings, too/

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