- Audio CD (Jan. 31 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Sony Music Canada
- ASIN: B0067LY4WG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,778 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|Price:||CDN$ 10.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35. Details|
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From our master singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen, here are ten new songs that mine the heart, shake the body and break the boundaries as everybody knows only Leonard can do. A signature of our time, Leonard's baritone holds us like the voices of Hank, Frank and Ray. These are songs that nobody knows and everyone will treasure.
Fans were given a 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 & 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.
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What's old about this record, and yet again renewed, is "the penitential hymn" and the plea for mercy from an unbending Law and a Lord whose grace is given but rarely. Cohen's persona is at once the victim, the perpetrator and the observer, but never the innocent bystander, of life in this world -- rather a withstander, who stands with the rest of us even when we stand against each other. His time-ravaged voice, his words polished as rocks left behind by a glacier long ago, "gather up the brokenness" of all our hearts.
This time around we have ten songs of three to five minutes each, and every one is deeply resonant. As usual with Cohen, but more than ever here, the boundary line between speaking and singing, between poem and song, almost disappears. Yet this album is surprisingly tuneful -- not upbeat of course, but achingly melodic, and the arrangements bring this out with a variety of contributions from solo violin, cornet and other instruments. Indeed this is more varied musically than many of Cohen's records, each song having its own sound, and as we learn from the liner notes, its own set of producers, arrangers, engineers and musicians collaborating with Cohen. The women's voices (including those of Dana Glover, Sharon Robinson, the Webb Sisters, and Jennifer Warnes) are especially and variously wonderful here. (The liner notes also show us, by including scanned pages of Cohen's notebooks, the seemingly endless revision process of the poet -- and though all the lyrics are printed here, they don't always match the words you hear.)
In the one song which most resembles `the blues', the singer has "caught the darkness" like a contagious disease from the lover he's singing to, almost grimly proud that he's "got it worse than you." Yet in other songs we see "the darkness yielding," even if it yields only to the irony of being "saved by a blessed fatigue". But for me, the most intriguing of these "old ideas" is the intense dialogue between two sides of Leonard Cohen which we hear in the first and last song ("Going Home" and "Different Sides"). Here again is the old Cohen who is most universal when most personal, whose songs somehow let us hear something new just when we thought we'd plumbed the depth of their mystery. Old ideas? As old as "the wind in the trees talking in tongues."
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Love all his music.