You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen died yesterday.


“As far as I’m concerned,” Bob Dylan once told Leonard, “You’re Number 1,” adding with a smile, “I’m Number Zero.”

If you like Cohen’s music, his last album, released this year, is worth a listen.

It has been said that Leonard Cohen’s music is “music to slit your wrists by.” But Bob Dylan disagrees.

“I see no disenchantment in Leonard’s lyrics at all,” Dylan said. “There’s always a direct sentiment, as if he’s holding a conversation and telling you something, him doing all the talking, but the listener keeps listening… When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius. Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music.”


A longish but thorough overview of Leonard Cohen’s life & career is summed up in this New Yorker article sent to me by my good friend, Kay Boylen Larche:

“The truth was that Leonard Cohen felt as lost as anybody. What gave his work its uncommon gravitas wasn’t that he knew the answers but that he never stopped looking. He searched for clues in bedrooms and warzones, in Jewish temples and Buddhist retreats, in Europe, Africa, Israel and Cuba. He tried to flush them out with booze and drugs and seduce them with melodies. And whenever he managed to painfully extract some nugget of wisdom, he would cut and polish it like a precious stone before resuming the search.”

😦 😦 😦

4 Replies to “You Want It Darker”

  1. A tribute to a legend! The NY article and overview of his life beautifully sums up how prolific a writer and song composer he was through his rich and varied life. Some of his melodies could really haunt ones soul and have a way of going round in the head. And …. So long Marianne …… that’s the one I think of now.


  2. Nicely done, Oops. Dylan’s right, you always stopped to listen to Cohen’s words. I was looking up things about him on the internet yesterday and listened to his “Hallelujah”, which was also recorded, I think they said, by over 300 artists, the most of any song ever. And the poetry in that is startling.
    Thanks for the song, he said his last album was his best; Rubins used to say that about his paintings.
    Potent losses this year adding to Bowie and Prince.

    Liked by 1 person

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