Old Ideas

Studio Album by released in 2012

Old Ideas review

Cohen is back and he is the same one we all loved

First in eight years, Leonard Cohen’s new studio effort, Old Ideas, is a reason for us to rejoice and grieve at the same time. How can we not feel happy about the legendary Canadian musician and poet coming back to the public, writing new songs and even giving concerts? Actually, not long ago, Cohen looked to have entirely lost interest in the on-stage life as he was close to cutting himself off the outer world and plunging desperately into Buddhism. The financial recession forced the artist to get down to his craft with all the more energy and even organize a streak of performances, albeit not as large-scale as before due to the age taking its toll. Yet the release of Old Ideas was as encouraging as alarming. The songs on the fresh records speak as loudly as never before about loneliness, hopeless battle against time, and relationships with God. Usually, musicians take up such problems when they are thinking about drawing the final line. It is not an option for us to guess whether Leonard Cohen is going soon for the well-deserved retirement. What would seem more pleasant and interesting for us is listening to Old Ideas itself. It is nice the record does reflect the song-writer’s old musical and lyrical ideas because we would hate to see Leonard Cohen and his songs change.

Old Ideas: a tough talk on tough matters

Cohen’s new ten songs are entirely unreleased material lasting for slightly over forty minutes. We are not given much time, and the musician starts off quite abruptly, without beating around the bush or dropping hints. Going Home makes it a clear statement that it was the circumstances that made him go home, back to the role of the well-known Leonard Cohen, a handsome artist and a public person. The Darkness is an air-like transparent confession of a man who has lived quite enough and knows that he has got little more to go. Clouds turn black and it gets colder with the appearance of Amen. Starting as an innocent request ‘Tell me you love me, amen’, this song, driven by dark organ and voice intonations changing from soft to insistent and even rough, becomes a very tense episode not so easy to perceive. Cohen keeps up his dialogue with God in a very straight fashion, putting aside all the pretending. In Come Healing, he admits his bodily and mental fragility and asks to strengthen them. Sure, the Old Ideas CD will provide you with a couple of tunes based on man-and-woman issues. The bluesy Anyhow and upbeat Different Sides with Leonard’s signature spoken word are two more stories with an ending far from happy.

This is how Cohen looks at life

It comes as a surprise that in the discography of seventy-seven-year old Leonard Cohen, who launched his glorious career far in the sixties, Old Ideas is only the twelfth studio album. This is precisely the case when the quantity does not matter at all. Cohen’s each upcoming record is a long-anticipated and big event and a genuine treasure. Old Ideas is just as nice as any of his previous works because on this album we come to meet our old and good companion. Cohen again appears, first of all, as poet, a man who works wonders out of words which every one of us uses. And, as any true poet, he has a particular way to look at things which concern all of us. Old Ideas are that kind of songs which had to be very sad, but Cohen somehow shares through them his inner strength and confidence in himself and love for life. Repeatedly, he may be saying to us that this could be his farewell word, his sawn song, but the album is not about grieving or earning. This is what makes Leonard Cohen’s music so special.