Though Cohen loves the tragicomic mode, he occasionally drops the hammer and lets his knowledge of scripture, official and otherwise, inform his darkness. “Steer Your Way,” the last full song on the album, shows us the way of Cohen’s gentleness with the perfidy around him: forgiveness, first of the self. The backing music is a coded joke, a string quartet trading time with a tiny country-fiddle motif. And when Cohen trawls through sin, and its wages, he’s not so bad with meter and rhyme: “They whisper still, the injured stones, the blunted mountains weep. As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap, and say the Mea Culpa, which you’ve probably forgot.” Charming fellow, but he sees himself, and us. How your year, and the rest, ends is in that mea culpa.
Navigating the Darkness With David Bowie, Nick Cave, and Leonard Cohen by Sasha Frere-Jones (Village Voice: 09 November 2016). A thoughtful, essay on the latter-day works of these artists.