“If you can sing about it, that’s a kind of answer.” Leonard Cohen WSJ Interview


Interviewer: The new record is called “Popular Problems.” Are these what we are all up against?
Leonard Cohen: I thought it as a general description of what we’re all up against. Those are the questions: Life, death, war, peace, space, God. All those matter and rather facetiously, I describe them as “popular problems.”

Interviewer: All of us think about that stuff daily and there are no real answers.

Leonard Cohen: No.

Interviewer: But you can sing about it?
Leonard Cohen: If you can sing about it, that’s a kind of answer.

From Leonard Cohen on ‘Popular Problems’ and How to Listen to Kanye West by Mike Ayers. Wall Street Journal: Sep 19, 2014

“[Leonard Cohen’s] songs have thrived on a mixture of existential angst, musings on life and death and the darkest of jet black humour.”

From Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems by Aaron Lavery. Drowned In Sound: Sept 22, 2014. The full review is found at the link.

Note: Originally posted Sep 25, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Q&A At The London Popular Problems Preview – Naked

10458743_1574314152789802_1932122709098745264_nOn Sept 16, 2014, Leonard Cohen met with the press at the Canadian High Commission in London to preview his new album, Popular Problems, and answer questions. While this Q&A was broadcast at a later date, it was only 16 minutes of a one hour program that also included fragments of songs from the album, cover versions, commentary, and chatter.

Thanks to audio editing by AlanM5049, that filler has been stripped, producing a naked version of the session.

I’ve added visual elements, including photos, graphics, lyrics, and such, but – and this is key – none of these are essential to the overall experience. Some viewers may enjoy the view; others may find it distracting.  In any case, feel free to turn the video on, lean back, close your eyes, and just listen to 16 minutes of Leonard Cohen talking about songwriting, collaborating with Patrick Leonard, smoking, his Jewish background, …

Leonard Cohen Q&A At London Popular Problems Preview – Naked
Sept 16, 2014
Video by Allan Showalter

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post shared by High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom Facebook page

Note: Originally posted Oct 6, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On The Significance Of “A Manual For Living With Defeat”

We are all living defeat and with failure and with disappointment and with bewilderment. We are all living with these dark forces that modify our lives. I think the ‘Manual For Defeat’ is to first of all acknowledge that everyone suffers, that everyone is engaged in a mighty struggle for self-respect, for meaning, for significance. I think the first step would be to recognise that your struggle is the same as everyone else’s struggle, and that your suffering is the same as everyone else’s suffering. “I think that’s the beginning of a responsible life, otherwise you’re in a continual savage battle with each other. Unless we recognise that each of us suffer in the same way there’s no possible solution: political or social or spiritual. So that would be the beginning, the recognition that we all suffer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


“A manual for living with defeat” is from the lyrics of Going Home:

He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat

Cohen’s description of a Manual For Living With Defeat is only one part of Q Magazine’s piece on The London Preview Of Popular Problems. This is the Best Of Show in its category: Column – “I’m a closet optimist…” Last night in London with Leonard Cohen by Paul Stokes (Q Magazine: September 17, 2014)

Note: Originally posted September 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric