Leonard Cohen, On Being Asked Weeks Before His Death If He Was Still A “Closet Optimist”

Another theme that is very present in your lyrics on this album [You Want It Darker] is doubt and finding out that the truth you one believed in turns out not to be the truth today (It Seemed the Better Way)”…such as Fundamental Goodness and the Wisdom of the Way” (Steer Your Way).” You once told me you were a “closet optimist.” Is that still the case?

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Fortunately or not, I’ve lost the gift of self-descriptionquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Adam Cohen à la rescousse by Alain de Repentigny [From original English questionnaire forwarded to me by Leonard Cohen] (La Presse: Oct 19, 2016).

“[Leonard Cohen & I] were working on…an extension of You Want It Darker’s reprise of ‘Treaty.’ We had 10 arrangements written and half of them recorded already—beautiful melodic arrangements—without his voice on them. Maybe they will see the light of day. I don’t know.” Patrick Leonard

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I wasn’t with Leonard when he died, but I’m certain that until he couldn’t hold a pen in his hand, he was working. That’s the way Leonard was. He had been weak and ill for a while, but he was working all the time. The hours in a day that he could work were narrowing, but the determination was still there. I think it was clear that the end was in sight, but I don’t think his October [2016] release You Want It Darker is him leaning toward mortality: Go back and listen to his first album [1967’s Songs of Leonard Cohen]—there are mortality issues there. The songs we were working on before he died were really light R&B, beautiful Leonard Cohen love songs. Another project we were working on was an extension of You Want It Darker’s reprise of ‘Treaty.’ We had 10 arrangements written and half of them recorded already—beautiful melodic arrangements—without his voice on them. Maybe they will see the light of day. I don’t know.quotedown2

Patrick Leonard

 

Quote from Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016)

Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker & Steer Your Way Nominated For Grammy Awards

Leonard Cohen’s song You Want It Darker, the title track to his Oct. 2016 album, is nominated in the best rock performance category. Cohen is also nominated for best American roots performance for Steer Your Way, another song from his final album.

Cohen won an album of the year Grammy in 2007 for his involvement in the Joni Mitchell covers album River: The Joni Letters, and was honored by the Recording Academy with a lifetime achievement award in 2010.

Note: Find all Leonard Cohen posts relating to the Grammy Awards at

Source: USA Today

“All I could think of was the strange beauty of the choral arrangement, the meanings of the words… I even started to cry a little.” From Audio Equipment Assessment Using You Want It Darker

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What I heard from the title track of Leonard Cohen’s valedictory album, You Want It Darker, was an abject lesson in leaving one’s prejudices at the door: The sound was wider in frequency range than one might expect from a single 8″ driver, and far more dramatic/dynamic than the uninitiated would think possible from a 20W system. But that’s just sound, and that’s not what held my attention while listening to this system: All I could think of was the strange beauty of the choral arrangement, the meanings of the words, the emotional emotionlessness of the delivery, and every association I have with this artist after more than a half century as a Leonard Cohen fan. I even started to cry a little. Gear can do that is extraordinary.
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Art’s Second Report from CAF by Art Dudley (Sterephile: Nov 5, 2017)

Leonard Cohen Lauds His Son Adam’s Work On You Want It Darker


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His [Adam Cohen’s] musical vocabulary is extensive and he has a commanding grasp of all the intricacies of recording. I knew the final record would have the imprint of his microscopic attention. I also enjoy his company.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s Third Act by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: Sept 21, 2016). Photo by Frank Micelotta/Sony Music Canada.

“I hope that the final effect is one of invigoration rather than suffocation” Leonard Cohen on You Want It Darker – Released One Year Ago: Oct 21, 2016

From Adam Cohen à la rescousse by Alain de Repentigny [From original English questionnaire forwarded to me by Leonard Cohen] (La Presse: Oct 19, 2016).

More Information About You Want It Darker

Information about You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen, including reviews like this, is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

5 Things CBC Thinks You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

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.”