Leonard Cohen: Thanks for the Dance (Columbia/Sony)

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Leonard Cohen: Thanks for the Dance (Columbia/Sony)
Posthumous albums can be dodgy affairs: the cash-in of incomplete songs or those the artist refused to have released in their lifetime . . .

You can understand the paired imperatives: death is good for business and also fans just want that little bit more. Commerce and art can be fulfilled concurrently, although mostly the art – such as it is – finishes well behind.

Leonard Cohen's last album in life, released just 19 days before his death, was the exceptional You Want It Darker and – like David Bowie with blackstar – Cohen left on his own terms.

He had long written about the aging process and what it meant (Elsewhere likes this speak-sing piece from 15 years ago) and these songs were not leftovers in the studio but pieces he was crafting as he knew the end was nigh. They have been sympathetically brought to us by his son/producer Adam Cohen.

He speaks of unfinished business and regrets (we at Elsewhere believe anyone who says they have no regrets either hasn't lived or is a fool), of the attritions of age, failings of the body and memory, some cynicism, wry humour about his life, image and it all . . .

He's just getting to the end and inviting us to consider it with him on an extraordinary collection which comes – in the vinyl edition anyway – in a cover with gold embossed lettering like a funeral invitation.

A postscript to the farewell letters on You Want It Darker, these intimate songs don't tarnish the legacy of the great Canadian who distilled art and truth into poetic songs.


You can hear it on Spotify here but be prepared for an emotional ride. Check out the vinyl though.

There is much more about Leonard Cohen at Elsewhere starting here.


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