Release Date: January 31, 2012
Leonard Cohen is an unmatched force in the world of music and poetry alike. He has always had something to tell us, and has found eloquent and haunting ways to do so. On Old Ideas, it is clear that he not done telling us the secrets of the dark just yet. He has come to an understanding with the world, and now the world must come to an understanding with him- and Cohen has the reputation to demand such a thing of the world without seeming arrogant or entitled.
On Old Ideas, Cohen is still poetic, just not dreamily so, as in his early career. The darkness he sang about and wanted to understand is now behind him, because he has been to visit the darkness and wants to move on. On “Crazy To Love You,” he realizes that craziness in love is no longer appealing, perhaps a goodbye to the “half crazy” Suzanne of his past, for which he used to pine. The entire album could be seen as the flip side to Songs of Leonard Cohen, as he delivers more of his trademark quotable lines that stand on their own, yet serve to make all the others stronger when woven together.
Old Ideas is a perfect pairing for Songs of Leonard Cohen, although delivered over forty years apart. What Cohen was questioning and exploring on Songs, he has now found the answers to what his younger self could only imagine. The romanticizing of the unknown is no longer present, because Cohen is clearly road-wary and seems ready for a good rest from it all. He still possesses his gravel-infused silk voice that remains one of the sexiest around, making aging seem like something desirable and addictive. Old Ideas seems to be Cohen’s swan song, as it ties up his career thus far elegantly and succinctly. He has been there and back, he knows what is there, he know where is there, and he is giving us the answers if we listen closely enough to the message of our musical prophet.
[This review is also published at Kevchino.com]