fri 06/12/2019

CD: Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the Dance | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the Dance

CD: Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the Dance

The last waltz

That voice’s husky confiding wasn’t quite silenced. Working helped Leonard Cohen live a little longer, and old friends and family have gathered to complete these last bequests. “As for the fall it began long ago,” he sings, and more than a quarter of his rare, honed albums have now been released in the miraculous final arc since his financial theft-enforced, septuagenarian comeback in 2008.

Cohen’s son Adam continues his co-production from 2016’s seeming swansong You Want It Darker, and with Jennifer Warnes, Sharon Robinson, Javier Mas and Anjani Thomas among the other returning compadres, has further junked dad’s latter-day love of cheap synths for Cohen Senior’s own nylon-string guitar, taken up by Mas, and the acoustic palette old fans pined for.

“I was always working steady/But I never called it art” is Leonard’s final killer opening couplet. “I fought for something final/Not the right to disagree,” then carves a late line in the sand from popular music’s warrior-priest. “You were born to judge the world/Forgive me but I wasn’t,” is a still more telling apercu for pinched, divisive times, its mercy a frequent leavening of his apocalyptic prophecies (and among the latter, who can say we’re not living in 1992’s “The Future”, or don’t need the stubborn, guttering hope sheltered in its twin song that year, “Democracy”?).

“The Goal” is a heartbreaking, spare vignette, written from the vanishing vantage point of 82-year-old Leonard with his tour-shattered, excruciating spine, as “the neighbour returns my smile of defeat” and “accounts of the soul” are reckoned. Its haiku-like distillation of dying wisdom is jolted aside by the brute human horror of the Holocaust and war in “Puppets”.

The heart of the record, though, is the 20th century sensual, erotic romance of “The Night of Santiago”, where Leonard removes his necktie and pistol as his lover’s “nipples rose like bread”; and “Thanks for the Dance”, where Warnes joins him in a last wordless vocal waltz, and he envisions provisional yet profound union with irony and kindness, and intensely remembers youthful pleasure. “I’m sorry you’re tired,” he tells this final and perhaps first partner in life’s dance. “The evening has hardly begun.” Gracious, to the very last.

 

Leonard removes his necktie and pistol as his lover’s 'nipples rose like bread'

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Editor Rating: 
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Stunning commentary, brought a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat. I posted your article to our site LEONARD COHEN thank you so much

Thank you very much, Patricia, the kind words are really appreciated.

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