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article imageOp-Ed: Critical acclaim ahead of Leonard Cohen's new album release

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By Tim Sandle     Jan 20, 2012 in Arts
Montreal - Canadian poet and song-writer Leonard Cohen is set to release his first album for seven years on January 31. The album is called 'Old Ideas'.
Fans of poetic lyrics and mood music to suit are waiting expectantly for the first Leonard Cohen album since 2004’s “Dear Heather”. The new album is called “Old Ideas” and, as the title self-mockingly suggests, it deals with familiar Cohen themes of love and lost, death and spirituality.
The album, Cohen’s 12th, contains ten new Cohen compositions:
• "Going Home"
• "Amen"
• "Show Me the Place" (Cohen, Patrick Leonard)
• "Darkness"
• "Anyhow"
• "Crazy to Love You"
• "Come Healing"
• "Banjo"
• "Lullaby"
• "Different Sides"
Cohen has been helped, according to the Montreal Gazette, with some of his old friends and collaborators in putting the album together, including Patrick Leonard, Anjani Thomas, Ed Sanders and Dino Soldo, Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson.
Leonard Cohen was a poet and author before he turned his hand to songwriting and performing. He released his first album – “Songs of Leonard Cohen” - in 1967. Cohen was born in Montreal, Canada in 1934. Although well-respected and with a splattering of international top-ten albums, Cohen has enjoyed more success through other artists covering his work. Most notably here is Judy Collins’ cover of “Suzanne” and the multi-covered song “Hallelujah", which was first released on Cohen's studio album “Various Positions” in 1984.
The reports from critics of the new album have been very positive, with lyrics full of Cohen’s deadpan humour and wisdom.
The Daily Telegraph describes the work as “poetic, philosophical and funny lyrics matched to sparse sinuous melodies and delicate harmonies”. The Independent, in weighing up whether, at the age of 77, this will be Cohen’s last album states that “if it is to be his last communiqué, at least the old smoothie's going down swinging”.
One of the surprises on the album is reportedly Cohen’s voice. On 2004’s "Dear Heather” Cohen was not so much singing as reciting his lyrics, which led to concerns about his voice (and, as the Edmonton Journal opines, an uneven album). However, on the new album Cohen has returned to ‘singing’ albeit with a slightly deeper voice, as GQ magazine reports Cohen saying:
"It's what happens when you give up cigarettes, contrary to public opinion. I thought it would destroy my whole position and my voice would rise to a soprano."
Amongst the glowing reviews many of the press reviews wonder if Cohen will record again. However, the singer-songwriter has hinted at another tour and has indicated that he has a sufficient number of songs close to completion for another album.
In the meantime the album is set to give Cohen fans something special. I have heard two of the tracks so far: "Darkness" and "Show Me The Place", both of which easily stand among Cohen's best work and the former song may eventually be regarded as a Cohen classic. Not too long to wait now.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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