Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old Ideas

Leonard Cohen’s new album is incredible, combining remarkable tunes and melodies with mysterious and dramatic lyrics that make you think – and sometimes bend your mind.
by Charlie Leck

I ordered Old Ideas yesterday. I listened to all 41 minutes of it, compliments of National Public Radio and it was just really good – just fine listening – and as captivating as can be. What wondrous sounds and what impactful lyrics. I’ll spend many pleasant hours listening to this fine, fine work.

Cohen has a huge following. It’s not surprising. He especially appeals to people of the 60s. He comes out of a Jewish heritage and combines that with some Zen-like meditation.

Here’s just a tiny example of the mellow, soft and quiet music’s mysterious lyrics…

Goin’ home without my sorrow
Goin’ home sometime tomorrow
Goin’ home to where it’s better than before
Goin’ home without my burden
Goin’ home behind the curtain
Goin’ home without this costume that I wore

Another tune carries these extraordinary lyrics. Cohen’s voice is filled (loaded) with passion and drama.

The troubles came.
I saved what I could save.
The threat of life a particle away.
But there were chains so I hastened to the hay.
There were chains so I loved you like a slave.

Show me the place where you want your slave to go!
Show me the place… I’ve forgotten… I don’t know.
Show me the place while my head is bendin’ low
Show me the place where you want your slave to go.
Show me the place, help me roll the stone away.
Show me the place, I can’t move this thing alone.
Show me the place where the word became a man.
Show me the place where the suffering began.

The lyrics are fine, indeed; but they are powerful when combined with the dramatic music and the raspy Cohen voice.

Here’s the way NPR explains Cohen in a little story it posted to introduce the free listen to the album…

In the end, of course, Leonard Cohen remains his own man, with a unique sound that brings the temple to the cabaret and a sensibility balancing humor and profundity on the crystal stem of a glass filled with red wine of an ideal vintage.

This free listen, from NPR, won’t be up too much longer, so go there and let this remarkable album captivate you.

In the song Lullaby, Cohen gives us these twisted, mysterious lyrics…

Here’s my lullaby… Here’s my lullaby
Well, the mouse ate the crumbs
And the cat ate the crust…
Now they’ve fallen in love
And they’re talkin’ in tongues
…Sleep baby, sleep…
There’s a mornin’ to go
The wind in the trees
They’re talkin in tongues…
If you heart is torn
I won’t wonder why
If the night is long
Here’s my lullaby
Here’s my lullaby

Cohen is an extraordinary poet and he also happens to be a superior musical talent. The combination is tantalizing.

Why not become a follower?
If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it, send me an email if you’d like.


  1. Well, the mouse ate the crumbs
    And the cat ate the crust…
    Now they’ve fallen in love
    And they’re talkin’ in tongues

    Communion bread?
    Philip, London

  2. Or Last Supper crumbs?

    Philip, London