Leonard Cohen’s new album, “Old Ideas” is due for release on the 31st January. This is enough to set the pulse racing. Indeed just looking at the Track List brings a smile to my face, with song titles like Crazy to Love You and Come Healing destined to strike a chord. As an appetiser, you can watch and listen to this delightful lyric video for Show Me The Place and sample the haunting beauty of Darkness, which will enchant the weary heart. Like all great writers, Cohen’s words transcend time, giving voice to universal themes: love, longing, desire, death, freedom, jealousy, man’s inhumanity to man and the quest for meaning in an often senseless world. The genius is in the wry wisdom that comes from a cumulative well of experience, reflection and observation. The strength of any artist is surely their back catalogue and since he dazzled the world with his debut album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” in 1967, L.Cohen hasn’t failed in his quest to enlarge the minds, hearts and souls of his myriad followers.
The words “greatness” and “legend” are tossed around too freely today. Yet “Laughing Len” fully justifies the tag of living legend. I was fortunate to see him perform, twice, in 2008 at the O2 arena in London. Ever the master craftsman, consummate performer and bard of mordancy, rolled into one, this poet of the night soon had the audience eating from the palm of his hand. “Hello London” he growled in his rich baritone, “it’s good to be back. Last time I was here I was 60. I was just a kid with a crazy dream”. Throughout his supreme performance, Len kept on reminding us that life, despite all its vanities and crudities, is a beautiful thing and that no matter how bleak existence at times can be, “there’s a crack in everything/that’s how the light gets in”. Both nights fizzed with electrifying intimacy.
Long live Leonard Cohen. I was going to conclude that just like a vintage wine, L Cohen gets better with age. But this misses the point for this Canadian maestro was wise when he was young. Treasure this fedora-wearing lyrical icon, he is a genius.