Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

by Steve Taylor Rating:8.5 Release Date:2012-01-30

Old Ideas, the latest release from Leonard Cohen, sees the Canadian singer-songwriter/poet/novelist/wise old sage (delete where necessary) in fine form on this 10-track collection that, at less than 45 minutes, is a throwback to the days when albums fitted neatly onto one side of a C90 cassette.

It's been more than seven years since Cohen put out a studio long-player, a period which has seen him become something of a household name through the dubious distinction of X Factor winner Alexandra Burke reaching the top of the UK charts in 2008 with 'Hallelujah', a song he originally wrote and recorded in 1984. But if it takes a popular talent show - or even the less commercial covers of 'Hallelujah' by Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright - to introduce Cohen to a wider audience, then it's still about time that one of rock's elder statesman is getting the recognition he deserves.

Cohen is happy to acknowledge that, with a recorded output of just 12 albums in 44 years, he is not exactly prolific, from the start of album opener, 'Going Home', in which he describes himself in the third person as "A lazy bastard living in a suit." 'Darkness' lives up to its name, with Cohen delving into the subject of his mortality, musing that "I got no future/ I know my days are few," a lyric which becomes all the more poignant when you consider that Old Ideas could well end up being our last chance to hear a new album by the 77-year-old.

Having said that, Cohen's recent interview with Jarvis Cocker on the BBC revealed a man who, I suspect, will be sticking around for a little bit longer. Let's hope that we don't have to wait until the end of the decade for album number 13.

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