Polaris 2017: 5 things you didn’t know about Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker by Holly Gordon (CBC Music: August 30, 2017) promotes Leonard’s final album. one of 10 on this year’s Polaris Music Prize short list, with yet another “X Things You Didn’t Know About _____________” article (for example, see 10 Things American Blues Scene Thinks You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen and 5 Things AXS Thinks You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen). As is true with its congeners, the “things” proffered in this CBC piece are well known by fans likely to be reading Cohencentric, but Polaris 2017: 5 things you didn’t know about Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker does provide interesting details. The first point is excerpted below:
1. The songs were written over many years
Cohen was notorious for obsessing over the tiniest details of each song, and You Want it Darker was no exception. Most were written over a few years, but some, including “Treaty” — which features the lyric “They’re dancing in the street, it’s jubilee/ we sold ourselves for love but now we’re free” — dates back a decade. According to Rolling Stone, Cohen dictated songs into his phone, or jotted them down on a notepad he always kept in his jacket pocket.
“It comes, kind of, by dribbles and drops,” Cohen said at an L.A. press conference, which was his final public interview. “Some people are graced with a flow. Some people are graced with something less than a flow. I’m one of those.”
The Short List for the 2017 Polaris Music Prize has been revealed. The list of 10 nominees has been narrowed down from the Long List, which featured 40 artists. The award goes to the best album by a Canadian artist, released between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. The remaining nominees include:
- Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker
- A Tribe Called Red: We Are the Halluci Nation
- BADBADNOTGOOD: IV
- Gord Downie: Secret Path
- Feist: Pleasure
- Lisa Leblanc: Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?
- Lido Pimienta: La Papessa
- Tanya Tagaq: Retribution
- Leif Vollebekk: Twin Solitude
- Weaves: Weaves
From this list of 40, the same jurors are then asked to pick their top 5, which will comprise the 10 albums on the short list. That will be announced at Toronto’s Carlu on July 13 and the winner of Canada’s best album of the year, at the end of the Polaris Gala on Sept. 18, as decided by an 11-member grand jury behind closed doors.
From Drake, The Weeknd, Carly Rae Jepsen and Leonard Cohen Make Polaris Music Prize Long List by Karen Bliss (Billboard: 13 June 2017). See complete list of 40 artists & albums at link.
From Tonite: Like A Bird On A Wire by Jonathan Valania (Phawker: May 18th, 2017). The entire post, partly a review of You Want It Darker and partly a lament on the loss of Leonard Cohen in the time of Trump, is available at the link.