Old Ideas is Cohen's twelfth studio album with Columbia Records, a career spanning 45 years of a baritone performer who is astonishingly still at the top of his game.
The album released worldwide at the beginning of February 2012 features 10 new tracks, each one grows on the listener like a smokey, whisky-filled late night melody. The master class use of harmonious female backing vocalists, such as Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson on Darkness to the melodic use of keyboard structure drifting softly beside Cohen's gravel-voiced poetry.
The track Anyhow sounds timeless, a recording that could easily have been played comfortably in a Harry Lime-themed downtown bar several decades ago or in a rustic folk club in a basement in Berlin. It washes over the listener like a gentle mountain stream over a smooth boulder in the scree. Crazy To Love You shows Cohen's sentimental side and Amen could be the album's answer to the new "Hallelujah."
The album has so far received unprecedented worldwide acclaim and has broken creative and commercial heights for the 77-year-old Canadian folk-rock legend. Old Ideas has been described as an album of songs that nobody knows and everyone will treasure.
The album has already reached the top of the charts in no less than 17 countries. The poet still covers those tropes of sexuality, mortality, religion, isolation and relationships. There is still a vibrancy to the voice and love-weary heartbroken souls will once again be lifted through the night as they listen to Old Ideas.
Jesse Kornbluth of The Huffington Post writes,
The lyrics are something else: considered, bone-deep, precise. And smart in a way that looks like his best work – a reach for what is eternally true... He insists he has no answers...but we know he does something even more important: He asks the right questions.
For me the album suggests we are nowhere near Closing Time yet on the legendary memories of Cohen's music. For once again the dapper gent has tipped his fedora to us in humility and gratitude in a sea of Old Ideas.