Review | Friday 27 January 2012
A few years ago, a former manager stole most of Leonard Cohen’s retirement fund. Pragmatically, he undertook a world tour to recoup his fortune – so successful it led to a second tour and new songs began creeping into his repertoire. Very good songs. Now, some of those songs have been collected, with a few other things the world hasn’t yet heard, on Old Ideas.
From what we’ve been allowed to hear, all the Cohen hallmarks are there: both musically and lyrically. He’s still pretty much peerless as a songwriter and his voice has aged into a softer, slightly ominous husk that works well with his meditations on religion, sex, love and death and the sparse, slightly claustrophobic production that seems most reminiscent of Songs of Love and Hate.
He probably didn’t intend to release a new album at the age of 77, yet he’s now announced there are unfinished songs left for the ‘next album’. Perhaps he didn’t need that retirement money after all, but his misfortune has been our gain, as we now enjoy a surprisingly late-in-life burst of artistry and creativity.
Kate O’Mara is from Readings Carlton