Friday, November 11, 2016

Acclaimed Songwriter Leonard Cohen Dies, Making Dark Moods Darker.

The late, great Leonard Cohen 
I've been in a dark mood lately, and I've been consoling myself by listening to gloomy, haunting Leonard Cohen music.

My mood, and that of many other people who love thoughtful, incredible songwriting, got even darker this morning when we learned Cohen died yesterday at the age of 82. 

He'd just released a new album, "You Want It Darker," just last month. As always with Cohen, that album was universally acclaimed by critics.  

Rolling Stone magazine, on its web site had this great eulogy for Cohen:

"Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet.

"Cohen's haunting bass voice, nylon stringed guitar patterns and Greek chorus backing vocals shaped evocative songs that dealt with love and hate, sex and spirituality, war and peace, ecstasy and depression."

 Cohen is most widely known for the contemplative song "Hallelujah," which has been covered by just about every singer, but is still one of my all time favorite songs. Unlike some critics, I don't believe this song is overplayed, or even could be overplayed.

In a recent New Yorker article that came out with the release of his new album, he said he was in poor health. "I am ready to die... I hope it's not too uncomfortable. That's about it for me."

However, he later said in another interview that he was exaggerating. "I've always been into self-dramatization....I intend to live forever."

At least Cohen's music will.

For a sampling of Cohen's songs, or at least fantastic covers of them, here's a few videos/soundtracks for you below. You might have to click on "Watch on YouTube" to activate some of them: Rolling Stone has these and other wonderful Cohen covers on This Link. 

Here's a famous cover of Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

The other night, after the election of Donald Trump, Cohen's song "Everybody Knows" struck me as fitting the national situation perfectly. I posted the Concrete Blonde cover of the song on Facebook but it's worth reprising it here

Here's Tori Amos doing a haunting cover of Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat."

Finally, here's Lana Del Rey doing Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel 2"

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