Old Ideas, Brand Spanking New – Leonard Cohen Sings In The New Year

Tuesdays are good for voting and new albums being released.  Both offer the promise of choice and change.

In the case of Leonard Cohen, Tuesday is also the chance to celebrate.  Two days ago his new album came out and it is a beautiful and moving piece… a testament that age means nothing in terms of genius and inspiration.

For some people great music or art or poetry is just a part of who they are.

Leonard has been around for a long, long time, of course… I have yet to really make my marc (mark, I know spellcheck!)… but when I get down, I turn to Dara Torres and her great quote… “Never put an age limit on your dreams.”

It may never happen, but hopefully it will, and while life may take you off onto other things, you must always keep your dreams alive.

Reality is always around you… Embrace it… deal with it… Do what needs to be done, but by all means, fly and dream and create.

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

I first heard Leonard Cohen when I wandered into the very hip and art filled home of Rabbi Steven Leder.  My first thoughts were who is this foggy voiced croaker and who is this incredibly cool Rabbi… When I was a kid, I was scared of my Rabbi.  He was a nice man, don’t get me wrong, but there was no going over to his house to talk about life and listen to Rock n’ Roll.  Then again, Rabbi Leder was more of a peer, a little older than me… I think… but someone I could see hanging out with.  He officiated at my wedding… He is an amazing man… and he is the one who introduced me to the mystical, powerful and poetic music of Leonard Cohen.

I used to have a very specific and in retrospect, myopic opinion of beauty, especially in music.  The vocals had to sound just right… melodic, mellifluous… It took me a while to get into Tom Waits just because I had to get over that growl.  I know, I know… but I am admitting it… I am being honest… and I am saying that was back when I did not get things.

Now Tom Waits is one of my favorites, a pivotal artist for me… I remember seeing him at the airport and becoming completely flummoxed… I could not even get a word out, so I just nodded…

Age does gives us many benefits, like understanding and appreciation.

I just wish I knew that a bit sooner.

To quote The Faces:

“I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger.
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger.”

While Leonard Cohen seems to embrace Buddhism more than Judaism, there is something very biblical in his writing.. something very Jewish… Both literally and metaphorically.  But the true base for his music is a very deep, very open, very revealing yearning and searching.

The song titles read like a poem… a story in itself…

“Going Home”, “Amen”, “Show Me The Place”, “Darkness”, “Anyhow”, “Crazy To Love You”, “Come Healing”, “Banjo”, “Lullaby” and “Different Sides”.

This record is glorious and to know he is still making such powerful music at 77… let me say that again… 77 years old!!!… is a comfort and a true and utter joy.  I am on my third pass and still intrigued and fascinated and just blown away.

The opening song (Read the lyrics/poem and hear the song in the New Yorker link) is sung in the third person and is quite funny, but then he hits on an amazing and deep lyric like:

“Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore.”

That is Leonard Cohen, a man willing to be naked to the world.  Do not let me miss him again, the next time he is on tour.  This is a true miracle man, a man on a most probing journey of discovery… one we should all be on.

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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