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Legendary characters always generate diverse opinion, Leonard Cohen more so than most.
?? ??, 01 Dec 1993
GO TO a party, drop his name, and watch the people around you flee, as though your deodorant had failed. Like Thatcher, Hitler and Stalin, the name summons up strong emotions, most of them negative.
Legendary characters always generate diverse opinion, Leonard Cohen more so than most. Yet despite the negative perception of him by the public, he has shown remarkable longevity in the music business. Whatever about looking into it, listening to The Future, I forecast a long career still to come.
Many artists are only too content, in the post menopausal stages of their career, to relax and produce jaded albums which cover well worn territory, and leave an after taste of bland insincerity. Leonard Cohen, on the other hand, is not afraid to experiment with new ideas and music. There is a feeling of freshness and vitality evident everywhere on this album. Leonard contributes seven of the nine tracks on the album, and adds his strong personal stamp to the other two tracks.
Forget the barren, bleak musical arrangements of the seventies and embrace instead, the warm blues atmosphere so pervasive in Irving Berlin’s ‘Always’, or the energetic barnyard feel from ‘Closing Time’. All the songs are strong and though varied in style, sit well together as a cohesive entity, the only exception perhaps being the last track ‘Tacoma Trailer’, a quiet instrumental.
Cohen’s sense of ironic wit has improved with age. his lyrics show how undiminished and uncompromising is his ability to deal with life’s harsher realities. Democracy, love, pollution, and AIDS, are all dealt with unflinchingly, but not without hope.
Be careful listening to this CD, or you might find yourself humming the contagious airs at supermarket check-outs, or while waiting in traffic jams. This is not a mindless pop offering, this is a mature and balanced CD.
This album will insidiously work its way into your head, and leave you singing along with the brilliant one liners, that quickly engrain themselves in your mind. I don’t know if The Future is murder, but I know it’s worth a listen.
Jim Clarken (Wicklow)