‘Old Ideas’, by Leonard Cohen

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June 25, 2012 by Me and My Monkeys

As I listened to Old Ideas – with hands a-shaking in anticipation – I took a mental note of the songs that hit me where Leonard Cohen usually hurts…and those that didn’t.

Those that didn’t?: I felt like I was being manipulated by a Cohen impersonator. A good one that knew all the Cohen words, like ‘mercy’, ‘solitude’ and ‘longing’, and who arranged them in a way designed to push my buttons.

Cut to…Amen, Darkness, Banjo, Lullaby, Different Sides: all with music and words solely by the man himself. All mysterious, lush and inventive, leaving me with an ache that felt like a gift. All too good to be true.

I’m not saying that the co-written songs are bad – they still buy and sell most from our current generation – but on this record Cohen is most audible on the tracks where his collaborators aren’t treading on his poetic toes.

“Stop writing everything down”, commands Cohen in his deep, golden hum. OK.

Recommended? Yes.

Out of 10? An average of 8 (9 each for Cohen’s unshared songs, and 7 for the rest)

My monkeys suggest:

  • Play it over and over, until it sticks to you.

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