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Old Ideas [CD]

Leonard Cohen Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
Price: 6.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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For four decades, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a figure whose body of work achieves greater depths of mystery and meaning as time goes on. His songs have set a virtually unmatched standard in their seriousness and range. Sex, spirituality, religion, power – he has relentlessly examined the largest issues in human ... Read more in Amazon's Leonard Cohen Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Old Ideas + Ten New Songs + Dear Heather
Price For All Three: 15.19

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  • Dear Heather 5.20

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Jan 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B0067LY4WG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,738 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Going Home
2. Amen
3. Show Me The Place
4. The Darkness
5. Anyhow
6. Crazy To Love You
7. Come Healing
8. Banjo
9. Lullaby
10. Different Sides

Product Description

Product Description

Old Ideas, the lauded poet's first studio album in eight years, addresses some of the most profound quandaries of human existence--the relationship to a transcendent being, love, sexuality, loss and death. Arguably the most overtly spiritual of the revered artist's albums, Old Ideas inspires commitment to a greater sense of compassion and decency.
While the recording of Old Ideas began in earnest in January 2011, many of the new songs and their lyrics have been in the works for years. Early versions of two album tracks, "Amen" and "Lullaby" were originally recorded in 2007, while early versions of “Lullaby” and “The Darkness” were performed live during Cohen's recently concluded, sold-out world tour. Fans were given another hint of what to expect when Cohen made remarks as the recipient of the Principe de Asturias Prize for literature in Spain in October 2011. “As I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. And the instructions were these...Never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty."
The album was produced with Patrick Leonard, Anjani Thomas, Ed Sanders and Dino Soldo. Complementing Cohen's signature baritone on Old Ideas are the exceptional vocalists Dana Glover, Sharon Robinson, The Webb Sisters (Hattie and Charley Webb) and Jennifer Warnes. The album's cover design and drawings are Cohen's own.

BBC Review

When Leonard Cohen astonished his fans by deigning to visit the UK for a brace of shows in the summer of 2008, at least in London the loudest cheer of a night almost idolatrous in its appreciation came with the delivery of two lines from Tower of Song. "I was born like this, I had no choice," sang the then 73-year-old Quebecer, "I was born with the gift of a golden voice." With the clock hands now pointing at a quarter to 80, if anything the old boy’s voice has become more gravely resonant than it ever did. At certain points during Old Ideas it’s not difficult to imagine whales and dolphins surging out to deeper waters in fear of an earthquake.

In modern music it is commonplace for ageing performers to attempt to prove that they have a lust for life capable of defying gravity’s pull. But one of the striking things about this always striking album is just how unvarnished is the sound of its creator’s relative fragility: "I love to speak with Leonard, he’s a sportsman and shepherd," sings the narrator on Going Home, before adding, "He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit." On the second line Cohen’s voice cracks with such emphasis as to suggest this suit might be one of the last he wears. For a man with a gleam in his eye of such impishness as to make Sir Les Patterson seem decorous, this is startling stuff indeed.

As with any album to which Leonard Cohen puts his name, Old Ideas is a work which displays great finesse. The music presented is gentle, even fragile, with backing vocals and instrumentation similar to that heard during his brace of UK concerts four years ago. But as ever, it is the author’s sense of poetic balance that renders this release as being a work of art. It is said that for every verse that makes it onto the lyric sheet, a further 10 make it to the floor. Such prudence bears dividend throughout this album. On the mysterious Banjo, he sings of an object of dread floating on "a dark infested sea": "It’s coming for me darling, no matter where I go / Its duty is to harm me, my duty is to know."

A quite brilliant release from an unmissable artist.

--Ian Winwood

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
211 of 218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best 30 Jan 2012
Format:Audio CD
This is a truly great Leonard Cohen album in my view - something I've not been able to say for too many years. The music often sounds delicate but has a laid back robustness about it, too, with his trademark simple melodies and a very welcome varied sound and style, with elements of country, blues, gospel and rock. There are also the beautiful and familiar female backing vocals, and some simply magnificent work from a varied band - the trumpet on "Amen," for example, is unexpected and absolutely spellbinding.

Cohen's voice these days has passed through the Whisky & Cigarettes stage and is well on the way to a Chronic Bronchitis sound, but he still has that fabulous depth and resonance beneath the weariness and the creaks. He hovers between singing and speaking for much of this album even more than previously, but as a friend once said to me, "No one can sing a Leonard Cohen song the way Cohen himself can't." How true. He is miked very close so, particularly when listening on headphones, it really feels as though he is present and whispering into your ear.

All this is perfect for the songs here, whose lyrics are Cohen at his best: thoughtful, allusive, melancholy, witty and sometimes provoking. The religious imagery he has always used so brilliantly is well in evidence, and it is striking how much of it is now specifically Christian. Broken relationships, suffering and death have always been in the corner of Cohen's eye whatever he is writing about. They are often in plain sight here and are treated with insight, resignation, compassion and beauty. The old witty twinkle and his self-deprecatory streak are still there, though, and shine through what is often a very elegiac atmosphere.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy has places to hide in... 30 Jan 2012
By song_x
Format:Audio CD
The voice so deep, "a thousand kisses deep", to say it with the words of one of his songs. After listening to the album three times in a row, you realize there is no standout track, no future evergreen (the word evergreen should be banned anyway: too much nostalgia even takes the good part of darkness away). The longest track, "Amen", is a hymn, a prayer that agnostics and atheists might fall in love with while enjoying the feel of ancient banjo, sepia-coloured violin and simple cornet. On "Old Ideas" the man with the golden voice (good old joke!) doesn't act like a preacher at all, and every verse that could seem to send a message carved in stone and song is quickly counterbalanced by dark humour, self-irony and stoicism.

There are bluesy moments, slow-motion-gospel - and jazz-vibes. The gravity comes from the voice, and how it nearly creates new definitions of close miking and sub-bass, with the result of warm intimacy. And then there are all the female voices of older and newer times (from Jennifer Warnes to the Webb Sisters) doing the jobs of a second voice, a background, and a choir. An old Cohen tradition: but remember, on the first studio album of his demon-chasing life, the producer added these kind of angelic colours against the will of the singer to soften the scenery. An old trick that still works.

It is the sincerity of the artist that allows him to stick totally to old ideas without any suspect he might have lost it. He's just slowing down, down, down - with a clear eye for exit signs and open places: "Sometimes I'd head for the highway/ I'm old and the mirrors don't lie/ But crazy has places to hide in/ Deeper than saying goodbye," he sings/speaks on "Crazy To Love You", accompanied by an acoustic guitar only. So, finally, closing time, silence, a last dying tone? No, that would be too pretentious. It's better to leave the scene with a beat, a rhythmic soul groove - and asking for a kiss. Amen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New words from an old voice 19 Feb 2012
Format:Audio CD
The standout for me from this album is re-affirming that Leonard Cohen is first a poet and then a singer. His fluent lyrics married to simple tunes, with the sublime female backing to his even more gravelly voice, produce sounds that still resonate 40 years after first hearing him. The opening line of the album is "I'd love to speak to Leonard", and the first track Going Home sets the tone for an album that is both wistful and ironic and tells how he still has much to offer and much to leave behind. Like the rest of us he seeks redemption & forgiveness and he's not afraid to write about it. Nevertheless he still sounds and writes like a ladies' man with a vision of the future even in his 70's- there's hope for us all! Definitely a worthwhile addition to his catalogue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less can be more 7 May 2012
Format:Audio CD
It's quite a thought that Leonard Cohen began his forty-five year recording career when he was already in his late thirties. A year older than Elvis Presley, a decade older than the average Beatle, he only started to become known at an age when other 60s heroes (Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix) were long dead, and when his only real rival, Bob Dylan, had already done his best work. But before that, he was a cult (if not very successful) poet and novelist, and it's this long exposure to wider western culture, and the discipline that comes from producing the written word, that accounts for his absolutely unique body of work. No-one has followed him, and nobody really can, so every new collection of his songs is an unexpected bonus.
From the early LPs, listened to in open-mouthed admiration by a million students in small rooms, through the magisterial CDs of the 1980s, to the current collection, fashionably available in the form of ones and zeroes, he has produced a songbook which is almost frightening in its level of achievement and contains a smaller percentage of failures than any popular music writer of the last hundred years. "Old Ideas" is not absolutely top-notch Cohen, which is just to say that it's much better than practically anything else you will hear this year. It's an example of how great artists, as they age, often seek purity and simplicity above all. In Cohen's case, this means texts that seem to have been discovered, rather than being composed, and, blessedly, spare and gentle accompaniment, which is what his songs have always needed.
For a decade now, I have assumed that every Cohen album would be the last. Let's hope the lights don't go out just yet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Brilliant as always
Published 1 day ago by V
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb album, up there with his best
Superb album, up there with his best
Published 10 days ago by Inky
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good album.
Published 15 days ago by Mrs Alison Griffiths
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
excellent cd and service.
Published 17 days ago by DavidH
5.0 out of 5 stars A canon of songs you might think it difficult to add to, but these can...
I believe that I heard the master sing, and he was better than ever.
Published 1 month ago by Midnight_Voice
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by theo john stellakis
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't listen to this much.
I have been a fan since he sung on BBC2 in the late Sixties. I have every one of his albums, even Death of a Ladies' man and Dear Heather. I don't listen to this much.
Published 2 months ago by OL
5.0 out of 5 stars Cd
If you like Leonard Cohen, this is most relaxing, and thought provoking CD, sung and talked with so much feeling
Published 3 months ago by col
3.0 out of 5 stars Aged Poet Can Still Shine
So what does a 77 year old Canadian poet still have to give the pop world? Well the answer if you believe the rock critics is an album of freshness that is up there with his best. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Peter Steward
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
If you like Leonard you will love this. His voice and words resonate through your whole being and their meaning changes with you as you travel on.
Published 3 months ago by amadou
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