6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Less can be more,
This review is from: Old Ideas (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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Initial post: 7 May 2012 20:51:30 BDT
Totally agree with every word - what a brilliant, wise, gentle person/singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen is!
Posted on 20 Aug 2012 02:46:53 BDT
roger hudson says:
Hendrix wasn't long dead when he played the Isle of Wight 1970,about half an hour before Cohen, I was there and 'remember' (brain addled) . Hendrix died a few weeks later but Cohen is STILL going strong, great music, lyrics rather than voice .
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