You Want It Darker is the fourteenth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released on October 21, 2016, by Columbia Records, 17 days before Cohen's death. The album was created towards the end of his life and focuses on death, God, and humor. It was released to critical acclaim. The title track was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance in January 2018. It was Cohen's last album released during his lifetime and was followed by the posthumous album Thanks for the Dance in November 2019.Wikipedia
INT. Abandoned Cathedral, 5:30 A.M. A thin ray of light shines on an organist wearing black robes with a Grey stole. He appears to have been awake all night. It is apparent he is playing what appear to be the final chords in a grand symphony. I love this very much.
“You Want It Darker” by Leonard Cohen (2016) If you want to hear music written, sung, and recorded by an 82-year-old Canadian Jew sitting in his living (dying) room crippled by fractures in his spine and counting the few painful moments he has left, then this album is for you. And if you don’t want to hear music like that, then shame on you and this album is for you anyway. The expression “You want it darker” is typically what a lover might say to his beloved at the outset of their lovemaking—his accommodation to her sensitivity as he presents himself to her in the darker-ness and says with his mind and body, “Here I am”. For Cohen, this image serves as a prayer to God. Cohen is dying, and God wants it darker. It’s a touching reversal of the God/man Lover/beloved metaphor, and the poet/prophet pulls it of with beauty and horror. This is going to hurt. Death is like lovemaking, and Cohen is ready. “Hineni” (Hebrew for “Here I am”), he says, in resignation to the supreme Will, and with the courage of the prophet (Isaiah 6:8), he faces, embraces the agony. If there’s to be a lullaby, it’s a “lullaby for suffering”. It doesn’t get any darker than that. Cohen wishes there was a “Treaty” between God’s love and his own (There is one [Jeremiah 31:31-14], but I’m not sure Cohen signed it—there are hopeful hints in “Seemed a Better Way”, as he advises himself, “I better lift this glass of blood”, but “not today”). At least he takes it seriously. “My ‘don’t’ was saying ‘do’”, he complains of the temptation contest, but he is quitting the game (“Leaving the Table”) anyhow. And through it all, God’s love has made it real (“If I Didn’t Have Your Love“). Cohen is setting out on the road to death, but he’s “Traveling Light”. His parting advice on his way out the door (to his heart, but more importantly, to you, in case you’re not getting it), is that you should “Steer Your Way” one year/month/day/thought at a time. The outro of the closing track reprises “Treaty” with compelling mystery: “We were broken then but now we're borderline”. So where will you (we? me?) be tomorrow? His voice has been reduced, through age and pain, to whispers punctuated by well pitched basso profondo. But he retains his famous timbre, which compellingly invites the listener to consider, to ponder, to figure it out. It beckons, and you’d better not decline. It’s not just excellent poetry—it’s poetry that grabs you and shakes you a bit. It goes beyond—all the way to the declarative prophetic focus on the past and present in the face of an unknown future. Prophets were generally and unjustly disregarded. Here is your opportunity to rectify. There are negative things to say about this album. But not by me. Leonard Cohen died three weeks after its release. 5/5
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Okay, honestly? This was absolutely gorgeous. One of the 5 star surprises of this whole listening process. I expected to be turned off, since Leonard Cohen's voice is an acquired taste in my opinion, but this was melodically so beautiful. Like, it was an EXPERIENCE.
Le fait que cet album soit posthume m'a mis extrêmement mal à l'aise pendant toute la durée de l'écoute. J'avais en effet la certitude que Léonard Cohen allait décéder d'un moment à l'autre. Ceci explique la frayeur que j'ai pu ressentir au long du dernier morceau lors duquel la voix de Leonard Cohen est absente des deux premières minutes. "Il est mort... Il est très probablement mort..." pensai-je tout bas. Soudain, alors que j'avais perdu tout espoir, la voix du chanteur s'éleva pour grommeler ses idioties habituelles: "I wish there was nianiania". Quel soulagement...
absolutely incredible album, really enjoyable listen and definitely lives up to it's title. Treaty is a particular highlight
Beautiful. What an incredible voice. You Want it Darker is such a tune, love that bass line. Treaty and Reprise/ Treaty are heartbreakingly beautiful. What an album to leave the world with
Blues/lyrical with instrumental/tango. Cynical retrospective love/sex lyrics with heavy biblical themes at beg and end of album. Growl-y bass. Sounds like Hades in Hadestown. Listened to while working out, which, surprisingly, worked.
I put on this album weeks after struggling to connect with Leonard Cohen’s third album, "Songs of Love and Hate." I expected a similar experience here. "You Want It Darker" grabbed me from the first notes of the choir with its incredible bass line, the lyrics and vocal performance. The song takes us into a holy space as it unfolds as a prayer. A prayer that critically interrogates the very roots of the religious traditions it references. "Treaty" is heartbreaking. Haunting lyrics, incredible arrangements and an emotional delivery perfectly capturing my disillusionment with Christianity and religion. ‘I do not care who takes this bloody hill. I’m angry and I’m tired all the time. I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty, between your love and mine.’ "On the Level” explores the emotions of letting go. 'They ought to give my heart a medal for lettin' go of you.' The piano… beautiful. The back up singers… angelic. Cohen… perfect. 'I'm old and I've had to settle on a different point of view. I was fighting with temptation but I didn't want to win, A man like me don't like to see temptation caving in.' Cohen has put words to feelings I've begun to have in a way that I could never hope to do. "Leaving the Table" digs deep into a break up: drifting apart ('I don't know the people in your picture frame'), regret/resentment ('If I ever loved you it's a cryin' shame'), resignation ('You don't need to surrender, I'm not taking aim'). Deep within the darkness "If I Didn't Have Your Love" unfolds into a startlingly beautiful love song. This album may be dark but like the rest of the album it is far from cynical. These songs flow with the undercurrents of a mature, deep love. "Traveling Light" pairs incredible mandolins and strings along with the electric piano while the lyrics tell of shedding parts of our lives as we approach its end. Cohen's exploration of religion in "It Seemed the Better Way” hit me in a deeply personal way. After spending a lifetime losing my religion this album has made me reflect on my religious journey more deeply than ever before. ‘Sounded like the truth, but it’s not the truth today. I better hold my tongue. I better take my place. Lift this glass of blood. Try to say the grace.' In "Steer Your Way" Cohen captures other aspects of my own journey as I steer away from so many of my beliefs, foundations, and trust in the world. He offers no replacement but hearing this song gives me strange comfort. 'Steer your heart past the truth that you believed in yesterday, such as fundamental goodness and the wisdom of the way.' Damn. "String Reprise/Treaty" is largely an instrumental string piece with Cohen reprising “Treaty” at the very end. After the last note faded I sat in silence for several minutes grieving Leonard Cohen's passing from this world just a few weeks after this album’s release... and rejoicing that Cohen left this incredible gift. Where last month I struggled to relate to a young Leonard Cohen, I felt an instant deep connection to him here at the end of his life. This album lead me into some very dark personal places - but Cohen's warmth and humanity never left me feeling alone. So rarely have I encountered an artifact of a life that had such a seismic effect on me. Leonard Cohen was right… I do want it darker.
i had previously listened to "i'm your man," cohen's 1988 album, as part of this project. it became one of my favorite albums, and i realized this album will become the same halfway through my first listen. cohen's lyrics are just as beautiful, thought provoking, heart wrenching as before. so many songs focus on death and come across as authentic. he wears his heart on his sleeve. you feel his pain ("i'm angry and tired all the time") and acceptance (i'm ready, my lord") as he finds himself closer to death. i was struck by how simple "traveling light" was, yet his meaning is clear ("i'm running late/they'll close the bar/i used to play/one mean guitar"). i loved each line in this lyrics, honestly. there's a thread of religion throughout the album. "make it darker" contained hymns and jewish imagery, and "treaty" was about his relationship with (and love for) his god, among others. for someone as spiritual as cohen, incorporating this into his album while nearing the end of his life must have brought him some level of comfort. his voice is deeper on this album, lending to a further emphasis on death. his tenor had always created the focus on his lyrics but more so here. there's minimal background accompaniment; while beautiful, its simplicity allows the focus to be on the lyrics. and somehow, the violins sound like they're crying. the "string reprise" section was unparalleled in its beauty. he's still with his usual folk sound, but there are some blues sounds as well. this remarkable album is meant to break you. it's dark and deep, and it can be rough. it's beautiful and truly a piece of art.
He saves his best fo last, great album. Montreal's greatest export!!
What a voice, what great lyrics. The last strings track was beautiful
That was spectacular, I bloody loved it. I only really knew Leonard Cohen's 'hits' but this album was amazing. And released just 3 months before he died.
This album warranted you kit-out your headphones to maximum bass, for his vocals alone. Very much enjoyed to slow sultry tones of a man on the way out
One of the greatest poet/lyricists of all time.
One of his best. It's amazing that an artist can be this strong at the end of his career. Album gives me chills.
Said some interesting things, and didn't overstay its welcome. Liked it enough that I want to relisten to it and think it over more
good! Great songwriting and really intense themes. it’s an interesting listening experience bc everything is so overt and lyric focused without being too in your face or being at the expense of the music. 4.5 very good and I’ll probably listen again but nothing really floored me
Quality album written by a dude who knew he was dying. Sad and awesome at the same time.
An incredible listen. Really bowled over by it from start to finish. Fully felt the weight of a man facing the end. Superb.
Rarely do I even give much thought to lyrics in an album, but this one earns its 5 on the lyrics alone. The beautiful sparse instrumentation and haunting voice Leonard brings are just icing on the cake.
Yes. The first time I heard this album, it hit me hard. Instantly my favourite Cohen album. Exhaustion at the end of life is not something I feel, but the basic feeling of just being exhausted by everything, that I get. This has some of Cohen’s best lyrics. “I struggled with some demons; they were middle-class and tame.” 27/10 album. Favourite track: “Steer Your Way”
This very much could've just gotten me interested in Leonard Cohen. I've never listened to him before, but hearing Hallelujah in many soundtracks was annoying. I really loved title track You Want It Darker, Travelling Light and Steer Your Way.
This is Leonard Cohen at his gravelliest. The sense of pathos in every song bears the weight of a long, full life.
THIS IS THE LEONARD COHEN I WAS LOOKING FOR! Incredible. This guy is f***in' cool!
An album that stops you in your tracks, the penultimate album from Leonard Cohen is the sound of an artist bidding farewell but driven to continue making music and art and is a privilege to listen to. The wisdom, the insight, the emotion all strike you to the core. Not a note is wasted. The music is perfectly pitched to support the breathy, quiet vocal. A heroic effort and one for the ages. (An alternative take from my daughter: ‘Kind of sounds like Lego Batman’)
Interesting, but I can't see actually listening to it repeatedly
It's like a cross-between Tom Waits and David Carradine in Kill Bill and so laid back he's basically horizontal. I understand he was in a lot of pain and near the end and that this like his spoken-word poetry but his early stuff is so much more worth listening to. I felt guilty in giving a low score so listen to it again. It does get better and maybe it's a mood thing so one night I'll play it again and get more out of it. Weirdly the attempt to jazz it up with gospel singers and organs has the opposite effect- surely it would be better more stark?
Leonard Cohen is always fake and gay
Végig lenyűgözött, szövegek elképesztők, hangulat kell hozzá, de nyári estéhez bármikor.
La primera vez que escuché a Leonard Cohen fue en el soundtrack de Watchmen. De inmediato me atrapó la voz, una voz muy profunda y grave, como la de Barry White, pero en el lado triste del espectro. ¿Qué puedo decir sobre el disco? Es una chingonería, quizá con excepción de alguna canción por ahí que está medio meh. Es importante mencionar que el disco me agradó no sólo por la voz, la voz es un complemento de la música y la melodía, y en la mayoría de las canciones la combinación de ambas proyecta un sentimiento melancólico, pero a la vez poderoso, casi como una súplica.
Refrescante ver a alguien haciendo un disco de 9 canciones y 36 minutos. Directo a lo que va a decir y punto. Lleno de reflexiones de una persona entrada en años, este disco se siente honesto y directo, con un mensaje claro sobre lo único que pareciera seguir importando al final, las relaciones de pareja y con dios. Resignado donde debe y cuestionando lo que queda claro, es un disco muy personal. Es el segundo disco que escucho en esta lista y fue una experiencia completamente diferente. Discazo.
Dark but great
Ja, dit album kan ik niet luisteren zonder het in de context te zetten. Wat een prachtparel over het leven en de naderende dood
Wonderbar. Treaty / treaty reprise standouts.
Another one for Nic
Incredible - deeply moving.
Отличный альбом, думаю стоит вернуться полностью слушая лирику. Traveling Light / You Want It Darker зацепили с первого прослушивания.
Only one of us was real.
five stars all day long
A beautiful swan song from one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time. R.I.P.
This absolutely blew me away. What took me so long?!
It's interesting hearing this compared to Songs of Leonard Cohen. His voice is like whiskey over gravel here in the best of ways. The production is so much more elaborate and fantastic too. Love the lyrical themes of struggling with religion and aging.
- first Cohen I've heard and blown away - strong cohesive direction but doesn't overstay it's theme - variety but also very powerful.
The first time I listened to Leonard Cohen, better than two decades ago, was a transformative day for me and I can still remember the incense smell of the room the first time I put needle to wax and the sepia tones of the Seattle front yard that I sat in when I played it a second time immediately afterwards. This is not that album and I only mention it as I may never get to write about that record and as a primer to say I may not be able to be objective about Leonard Cohen and these tracks. He is unassailable to me. His late in life gravel voice is simultaneously profoundly comforting while inducing heartache. He opens me up and strips away all my armor. I am never more open to my feelings then in the moments following a close LC listen. The three albums that he put out over the seven years leading up to You Want It Darker laid the groundwork for this release. Cohen was a man who had lived an incredibly full life, who was ready to die, but still had so much to say and give to his fans. This album was released just a few week's before Cohen died and this record was his beautiful parting gift. He was a poet that remained in top form all the way to the end.
Deep and meaningful
better than I was expecting, I had a rough time with the first few songs sorry, I love Leonard Cohens older stuff but his voice felt really jarring on this album, with some songs it worked really well but with others it was just too awkward although the more I listened through the album, the more I warmed up to the vocals what I really loved about it was the composition of these tracks beautiful, beautiful instrumentation I think Traveling Light really stood out to me, that was really cool production Also that String Reprise was really nice Overall a really great album, while I had trouble with the vocals I think the rest of the album sells it for me - 9/10
That voice. THAT VOICE. Fave track - The title track is absolutely badass. "Traveling Light" takes second place...
Holy hell. The power in this album, just in the first song, is haunting.
Is this a good Leonard Cohen entry point? I bet it is
Wow. This was truly an experience. I'm glad I already rolled a couple of Cohen's earliest albums before I got this one. I hadn't found either particularly remarkable, but having heard them made "You Want It Darker" all the sweeter. Cohen had grown better with time, apparently; his music was now more varied, yet more cohesive; his lyrics were finally engaging; even his voice grizzled into a seductive register that perfectly matched the tone. And the end result: this album—his final album—the story of a weary, bitter man, who is finally confronting the mistakes that have haunted him all his life. He doesn't demand your sympathy; he doesn't even want it. But you give it to him, because you're still human, after all; and then it's over, and he's gone, and somehow you feel both entirely empty and overwhelmingly full. I'm going to need some more time to mentally process this one. But that's okay. It's going to stick with me the rest of my life, and I'm perfectly happy for it to do so.
Se calhar escrevo isto de uma forma emotiva, mas este álbum é qualquer coisa. Possui uma aura triste a sua volta que prende e atrai. A simplicidade e o tom da voz de Cohen enquadra se perfeitamente ao tom sombrio do álbum com um arranjo instrumental mais solene que se junta tão bem a sua voz. Não sei o que se passa, mas terei de dar um 9, fiquei muito intrigado e agradado com este álbum. Nota 9/10
Underbart, mörkt och fullständigt fantastiskt. Ett av mina absoluta favoritalbum just, och kanske även sen.
On sillä Leonardilla aika möreä ääni. Tunnelmallisia biisejä ja lämpimiä tunteita. Treaty(t) jäi tästä parhaiten mieleen. Sen verran vahva like, että pakko antaa vitonen!
Sublime. I've been to church. I am stunned and grateful.
I was not familiar with this album, but after Songs of Love and Hate, I have been intrigued with LC. This album did not disappoint. I didn’t expect the spoken lyrics, but I though that the tone with the accompanying music was beautiful. What a treasure.
The title of this album is perfect. I had said in my notes on “Songs of Love and Hate” that I was really interested in listening to more early Leonard Cohen, since the album I had been most familiar with was from the 80s. Why didn’t I pay attention when he made music in the 21st century? I didn’t even really aware of this later work. It was rather amazing to jump almost 50 years in his career. His voice still mesmerizes me. His words are still somewhat inscrutable but always intriguing. The composition, instrumentation, and backing vocals are amazing and beautiful in this. I think it’s interesting that the composer of the title track’s music is the co-writer of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” It has more in common than I would have thought. I love the organ and backing choir. The religious feel is intense. It’s a feel that carries through the rest of the album. “Treaty” carries so much pain and regret it’s hard to listen to. And then “Leaving the Table” comes on with even more...although there seems to be some relief in letting go. But that’s still pretty heavy. Come to think of it, “Traveling Light” also has a similar story. “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” at least suggests an intense love, but focuses on a pretty dang dark “what if?”. We then get in to some interesting religious pain and regret territory with “It Seemed the Better Way” and “Steer Your Way.” Mind you, I love these songs so much that you may find me in a dark room listening to them again and again, and it may be a good idea to get me outside in the sunshine.
Incredible that in the same year as Bowie's Blackstar another legendary artist released an album days before his death, apparently in the knowledge that it would be his last, and delivered it with such poise. Both the darker and the more soulful numbers therefore come with added gravitas, (helped by Cohen's badass old man voice ofc), and his gift for dispensing great wisdom in pithy phrases is evident throughout. 'As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap'. Yep. 4.5
A striking meditation on god, love, and death. Leonard Cohen has always had tension throughout his work, but this album sees the tension unresolved and left to us, the listener. His voice and the subtle instrumentation command attention and leave the listener with a profound sense of loss.
Holy smokes, that voice was out of nowhere. Having only been familiar with his 'Hallelujah' I was not expecting that entrance. He just strolled right in and without effort commanded attention. Entire album reads like a letter or a prayer; struggles with aging and religion; an older man haunted by his past, now staring into the void of what's next. Very sombre, melancholic, personal and thoughtful. The lyrics are absolutely littered Judeo-Christian themes and religious references, which continues into the musical structure itself with inescapable hints of gospel, choral, chanting and traditional 'Jewish' sounding melodies. I couldn't help notice the similarities with David Bowies 'Blackstar'. Both albums wholly referencing mortality; both albums released the same year, the year of their deaths. This doesn't diminish either album, they're both unique masterpieces in my opinion, just a curiosity.
Beautiful final album from a beautiful poet.
I've listened to this album several times before. Not much voice left in him, but what a voice. Great feel for the music.
Oh that was superb. First listen just floored me. An easy 5/5.
Masterpiece. This is the perfect album to test out a brand new pair of speakers.
Excellent, loved the gravelly voice, You Want it Darker was my favorite song
Only Leonard (and Bob) could make an album so current without referencing modern events in the slightest. Draws upon archetypes and metaphor to perfectly critique the human condition and the role of society. Cohen's last album and maybe his best.
A lot better than I was expecting
Loved this one. I was supposed to be working while I had this on but his voice kept making me stop and actually *listen* to the songs. The Wikipedia article was an interesting read too -- I ended up going to the Wikipedia page about Leonard Cohen as well and learned that my album for today has a link to my album from yesterday: a song on Nirvana's "In Utero" album references Leonard Cohen. 10/10 to the music, 3/10 to my own productivity.
Gonna get 5 stars. Leonard Cohen is brilliant
I don't claim to be intimately familiar with his discography, but this seems like a master work. His poetry is so unique, and his voice is so dark and rich, the mood meets the words so well. A powerful listen.
Hauntingly Beautiful. I love the choirsong. 5
This album will forever and always reminds me of Budapest. I adore this record.
I wouldn't call myself a Cohen fan by any stretch of the imagination, being more familiar with his songs as performed by other artists. I bought this album on the strength of the use of the title track as the theme for the Black Earth Rising TV series, but in the end the whole album captivated me. In places Cohen sounds old and frail, but that only adds rather than detracts. It reflects on his past life and offers advice to those he leaves behind. It's an outstanding album to sign off with, his Blackstar.
The title track is on one of my favorite playlists I made and to which I listen with some frequency. What incredible texture and flow. And the rest of the album is a work of poetic beauty and intrigue. I love it.
What a beautiful and heartbreaking album. Released just a few weeks before he passed. Ugh. He still had it til the end.
p943. 2016. 5 stars Gravel voiced old man ruminates on death and produces final work of power and beauty. Lyrically, still light years ahead of the competition, and this time we've got decent tunes and quality production to match the words. Not a weak track on it. I am guessing this will resonate more with an older audience.
Leonard Cohen is perfect. This album might be his best.
Notes from the front from a Sole Survivor. Somber, gripping and unexpectedly poetic. Required.
What a beautiful album. A masterpiece for him to end his legendary career. His poetry here allowed him to look back on his mortality and the string reprise was the official goodbye. Very dark and sad, but beautiful in its essence, as he did say bye a month after its release.
I'm a sucker for smokey singing voices.
Melodias e melancolias envolventes para um lirismo arrebatador.
Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker Last album written before Leonard Cohen’s death two months later. - You Want it Darker – That bass beat is so smoooooth! Yes! Dark voice is cool vibe. The “Hineni” in the chorus is a Hebrew phrase meaning “Here I am”, used by Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah among others when God calls them. The whole song seems to be Cohen trying to come to terms with his imminent death and God. Cohen is Jewish and often uses Christian imagery. This combines both. It’s really good. - Treaty – Sadder track about how the narrator is angry and tired and just wishes to end conflicts. The raw vocals mostly work, and he does get a bit more melodic at times. It’s unclear if he’s singing to a woman or God or something else entirely. - On the Level – Guitar has some prominence in this one, while still being background. Backing vocals in the chorus are an interesting effect, but not my favorite. Does give this one some variety. Seems to be about leaving a lover who was both a “devil” and an “angel”. Also speaks about his time in a Buddhist monastery in the 90s. Another good track, but not one I think I’d go back and revisit much. - Leaving the Table – Even more prominence to the guitar in the intro. Like most of the songs, it seems to deal with letting love go, reconciliation, and end to struggles. I like the brass in the background. Ok, this one is amazing. The emotion in the music hits harder than basically any of the others. This one leaves the religious imagery and is completely raw autobiography. It might be my favorite track so far. - If I Didn’t Have Your Love – A reflection on past love. It’s a sweet love song, and a good song overall, but it’s less to my taste than many of the songs on this album. These kinds of personal love songs don’t resonate with me since it’s out of my experience. - Traveling Light – A Greek flavored track that’s a goodbye to Marianne Ihlen, a partner, lover, and muse of his who died a few months before he did. It’s another amazing one. - It Seemed the Better Way – Even more stripped back track, going to humming vocals, sparse bass and shaker keeping the time. Deals with his relationship with Zen Master Roshi whom he spent years with in a monastery. He felt the teachings rang true, but later stories came out about Roshi sexually abusing female students. Also may be a rejection, or an acceptance, or a resignation to Christianity. It’s unclear. It’s high quality, but not to my taste. - Steer Your Way – Not my favorite, but a very well written track. The violins are good. - String Reprise / Treaty – Closing track to the album. An instrumental, followed by a reprise of Treaty to close out the album and close out Cohen’s life. Wow. The songwriting on this is freaking amazing. Very interesting and personal themes explored as well. The instruments are tasteful and sound amazing throughout, achieving a wide variety of different tones. In context with Cohen confronting his own imminent death (and reflecting on his life) it becomes even more poignant. Even the songs that I personally dislike are still extremely well-written. What an amazing album. This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to find when I started this project. Top Tracks - You Want it Darker – Lead track coming to terms with God and death. Smooooth bass. - Treaty – Good summation of the themes of reconciliation/surrender of the whole album. - Leaving the Table – Most raw track on the album. - Traveling Light – Love the Greek instrumentation. A beautiful farewell to a past love and friend.
Incredible voice and incredible record to go with it. Quite short but memorable! Loved it. 5/5
i feel like this album goes back to his start, slow poetic somber songs i love it
So powerful! What a denouement to his musical career. So very missed.
si leonardo te quiero oscuroooo
Creamed my jeans over this
favourite song: treaty least favourite: no least favourite song. this album is absolutely fantastic easy 5/5.
Beautiful as some of Leonard Cohen’s best - and like Bowie’s Blackstar, it is a wonderful gift of a goodbye by one of the demigod artists of the 20th Century. It’s a little less dark than Bowie’s epitaph and the soaring lyrics and smooth husky baritone of Cohen allows the world the grieve a little better for the loss.
ich geb dem einfach mal ne 5, weil ich finde es ist eine 5 und will das es eine 5 ist :)
wow quite beautiful
Z’n stem, de soberheid, het einde in zicht en de teksten. Klein traantje gelaten
WOW! This was absolutely incredible. Did not expect that. His voice(!!!), the backing vocals, the finality of it all that comes from him being close to the end of his life. I felt quite emotional in parts, only a very small amount of music does that to me. I think this is up there with the best albums I've ever heard. Albums like this, which I would have never listened to otherwise, are exactly why I wanted to work through this list.
Think I've listened to this four times already. His voice sounded like he smoked and drank his whole life but it fit the style and lyrics of the album perfectly. I really liked the darkness and melancholy of the album. Easily goes into a list of best albums I've ever heard. Highlights were "Steer Your Way", "You Want It Darker" and "It Seemed the Better Way".
7/10 FT: You want it darker
Late classic Cohen.
Great album, such a stark, haunting yet beautiful tone throughout. 'Leaving the Table' is the highlight, but it's definitely worth a full listen.
This man can craft some devastating songs. Does his voice sound smooth or pristine here? No, but that's not the point.
I found it quite good actually. I like Leonard Cohen, it's slow but I like it.
Really interesting and dramatic. What a deep voice.
Simple yet meaningful, poetry
Actually really enjoyed it. Really high quality production and some very interesting musical ideas
Que discazazazazo, solo recuerdo a otra eminencia recitando poesía mientras hay música (In My Life cover de Sir Sean Connery). Leonard siempre tan sombrío y explorando esos sentimientos que muy pocos se atreven. Aparte entra en una side list de los discos que se grabaron poco antes de la muerte del artista (ya pasó con Bowie y espero esté Cash)
how his voice so deep yo
Not my style at all but so beautiful I'll revisit it for sure!
Beautiful album, a fitting final album released before his death. 4 stars.
Ok, i was late on this one, but i thoroughly enjoyed it! I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but oh man did i make a mistake on not listening to this sooner! the lyrics were poignant and sung with such a rawness and feel to them that they can almost cut you and make you feel simultaneously. the music is brilliant, i mean, they aren't deep, like, say, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, but still great in their own right.
Siempre he sentido que había dos Leonard Cohens, los dos son poetas consumados, uno es romántico, sensible, profundo y nostálgico; el otro es pesimista, muy muy oscuro, espiritual, cansado y reflexivo. El segundo es mi favorito y este es uno de los dos discos que mejor siento lo representan. Hablan mucho de cómo Dylan es un poeta y en mi opinión aunque es muy brillante para escribir sobre situaciones de su vida y para armar canciones la musicalidad propia de las palabras, la verdadera poesía del sentir un significado ulterior de una frase que lleva a algo más profundo la manejaba muchísimo mejor Cohen. Un disco inteligente sin sentirse presumido, con corazón y con un sentir de verse cercano al fin. Minimalista y con un gran peso emocional. La música cumpliendo su función como siempre en sus canciones no es la parte central pero tampoco deja nada a deber, calmado acompasado y con coros crea el ambiente correcto en cada canción. The Future me sigue gustando más pero éste es un disco con grandes ejemplos que recuerdan que la música puede tener un verdadero valor literario y, si me apuran... ese Nobel estuvo dado incorrectamente incluso.
Wer sonst hat das Bedürfnis, nackt zu sein?
Tres bon. Different des anciens mais il y aune touche special 4.25*
Es emotivo porque es poesía muy bien musicalizada. Leonardo es un personaje oscuro y aunque el disco es muy bueno, no es su mejor presentación. Destaca traveling light
The title track is great. Cohen is an interesting guy because you can really tell he's a poet/writer first. The rest of the album is still good although it stands out less than You Want It Darker.
His voice freaks me out from time to time but overall interesting to hear a Leonard Cohen album with modern production standards and strong backing vocals. Some of the songs kinda reminded me of The Division Bell purely because of how the backup singers sounded but pretty good overall.
One of best posthumous albums ever!
Okay it was rainy and cloudy and I went for a walk listening to this and the vibes were impeccable. Fantastic as an album, but not a whole bunch of situations I'd really enjoy listening to it? 4.5 stars
Lekker donker - zoals het prachtige eerste nummer al meteen duidelijk maakt. Mooi en sfeervol. Ik zou voor 3 sterren gegaan zijn, maar nadat we het net samen nog een keer luisterden kwam Nieke tot de conclusie dat haar 3 sterren er eigenlijk 4 hadden moeten zijn. Dus die extra ster krijgt Leonard dan bij deze van mij.
Geweldig plaatje. Ken niet zo veel van Cohen, maar viel niets tegen.
i can see why people like it, but i cant imagine listening to it often
Leonard Cohen isn’t necessarily a good singer although like the really deep half-talking on most of this album. It sounds like an entire album created by Hades from Hadestown which is kind of cool. I don’t think I could put most of these songs on playlists but the album is definitely still good. Also Cohen is a fantastic songwriter and the arrangement is always tasteful. Leaving the Table stands out to me as a good song that might be better with more normal vocals but there are also songs like You Want It Darker and It Seemed The Better Way that are certainly elevated by Cohen’s haunting vocals. Favorite songs: Treaty, On the Level, Leaving the Table, It Seemed the Better Way Light 8/10
I like it!!!!! :)
First time listening to this. I love Leonard Cohen. Such a gorgeous album. That man knew how to write a song.
Such a great voice from Cohen. Some songs were great, some od them probably won't stuck in my head.
Wonderful stuff - wasn’t expecting what I got - will be back to this for sure
Wonderful stuff - originally wasn’t expecting what I got - will be back to this for sure
A dark journey though a man's struggles to accept that he's at the end. Haunting.
Wirklich gutes Spätwerk. Ich hätte nicht gedacht, dass ich da mal sage aber i want it brighter
Wirklich tolles Album.
Don’t listen when on a downer!
Good album. Speaky.
Cohen at his most earthy and percussive. Not my favorite Cohen era, but there's still lots to love here!
Very cool, modern. Love the deep richness to his voice
Nice existential late-night chill
Praticamente a quest'album ho dedicato più di qualche ascolto. Musicalmente sembrava abbastanza lontano da ciò che mi colpisce solitamente di un album, ma alcuni testi mi hanno lasciato una sensazione strana ma bella, ed ho sentito la necessità di ascoltarlo ulteriormente coi testi sotto mano. Mi piace quello che scrive e come lo fa anche in maniera semplice. Calcolando che quest'album è uscito prima che morisse, lo rende come una sorta di testamento recitato con la sua voce roca e profonda. Sono partito con un 3 al primo ascolto, ma con il secondo penso di averlo interiorizzato (anche troppo) tanto che mi sono emozionato.
Leonard Cohen finally clicked for me on this album - I always acknowledged he was a great artist before, but he never did it for me. This album, released shortly before his death, is dripping with all of the emotions that you expect from a man at that stage of his life; grief, loss, awareness, regret, exhaustion, love... Here's a man who's on borrowed time, being able to reflect on his life from the outside in, and the result is kind of special. It reminds me of Bowie's Blackstar in that respect - an opus to outlive himself, by design.
One of our best
Good this. I do want it darker. I want SHACK being left in charge of a pack of boy scouts levels of darker. Let's see if you can match that for darkness Leonard.
Didn't expect this. It was really good. I do want it darker, Leonard. You should have done this years ago. Dead now though, eh. You silly bollocks.
I didn't finish this one admittedly but holy hell is his voice the lowest of gravelly tones as possible. Here for it. And here for the religious content—at first seemed almost satanic? Felt like the devil was whispering in my ear. Made me want to watch True Detective all day.
It's a collection of poems that lure you into the darkest stages of human nature, passing through it's beauty as well. A fine work of art saved for certain moments, like a fine wine.
Fabulous. Cohen has the lyricism of Dylan and the musicality of Waits and is way more than the sum of those two parts. He is a national treasure and for all the credit he already gets, it doesn’t seem enough. All of his albums are amazing and this one is near the top.
This entire album sounds like Frank Zappa trying to do a Fat Albert Impression. And it’s pretty good. Nothing else to say here 4 stars
Like Bowie's Blackstar earlier in the year, Cohen's swansong was released just days before his death. He stares into the void and growls his goodbyes over sparse instrumentation; when it comes to the forefront, it warbles, just like the man singing from a therapy chair in his living room. Cohen said what he had to say and bowed out, and his unflinching contemplation of mortality is left for us to consider. Best track: You Want it Darker
Am album I feel like I could sit down with, and contemplate everything. Cohen's lyrics are simple, sometimes to the point of either brilliance or inanity. Love the feeling of the record, somewhere between hymnal and drunk older man singing at a dead bar. Favorite tracks: "You Want It Darker", "Leaving the Table", "Traveling Light"
some good poems here
En 81-årig Leonard Cohen sjunger sitt avsked. 17 dagar efter att albumet släppts dog han. Och vilket avsked! Det är mörkt, stämningsfullt, och otäckt. Cohens mörka basröst ackompanjerar den minimalistiska produktionen perfekt. Och som alltid när det gäller Cohen (top-3 bästa låtskrivare någonsin) är texterna och poesin i fokus. Lyssna till exempel på hur han använder rim för att skapa rytm i titelspåret You Want It Darker. Titelspåret, som inleder albumet, är fantastiskt. Andra höjdpunkter är den sorgsna kärlekslåten Treaty (inklusive sista spåret String Reprise/Treary), samt Traveling Light, med ett klassiskt Cohen-tema om ensamhet och bohemliv. Faktumet att Cohen dog kort efter releasen gör texten i Leaving the Table ännu mer mörk: "I don't need a reason For what I became I've got these excuses They're tired and lame I don't need a pardon, no, no, no, no, no There's no one left to blame I'm leaving the table I'm out of the game" Bästa låt: You Want It Darker.
very Leonard Cohen
The You Want It Darker song is probably the best one from this, but there are some other good ones
7,5/10 Muito bom
The old rogue does it again. I've long suspected that Cohen left the heavy lifting of creating decent, listenable music to others, adding gloss by way of his basso profundo doggerel. But he is the most charming of frauds on this album, and he possessed a voice that, pitched between old man Tom Waits and old man Kris Kristofferson, is quite irresistible
I had only heard a couple of Leonard Cohen songs before this and this was my first album. What an album it is. The songwriting mixed with Cohen's haunting, deep voice makes for a really good, ominous-sounding album. Gives me total True Detective vibes. Fav songs: You Want It Darker, Leaving the Table, String Reprise/Treaty
It's really hard not to love a Cohen album and this one reminds me a lot of Bowie and Blackstar. When you're staring death in the face, what kind of art might you be able to make? Well, this answers that question.
Good Album, but you'd not want to be in poor form listening to it.
Mörkt som jävulen! Gillade den första låten bäst
Jag har sedan Twin Peak nådde mig på 90-talet varit ett illa dolt David Lynch fan. Har älskat att försvinna mig in i Lynch mörka, mystiska men också lekfulla världar där det bisarra och mörka får ta precis så mycket plats som helst. Precis den känslan av att kliva in i en helt annan värld får jag av denna fantastiska skiva. Titelspåret I want it darker är som tagen ur en Lynch-rulle. Cohen var 82 år när skivan släpptes och texterna känns som Cohens sista uppgivna försök att acceptera sig själv, sina livsval och kommande öde. Och precis som Lynch lyckas han leverera allt detta med inte bara svärta utan också finess ”I was fighting with temptation but I didn’t want to win”. Så, det här är vad du ska göra nu. Gör dig själv en ”damn fine cup of coffee”, släck ner och slå dig ner i en fåtölj. Stäng av allt vad digitalt heter och så lyssnar du på skivan, då, och enbart då lovar jag dig att du också får ta del av den här världen jag så varmt pratar om
I've dabbled in Cohen here and there but had not heard any of this album. Fantastic. I listened twice and will likely again.
Hieno levy! Cohenin tuotannosta tuttua oli oikeastaan vaan Hallelujah-hitti mutta tämä yllätti oikein positiivisesti. Todella vähäeleisen tyylikästä tunnelmointia. Hieman Nick Caven tyyppistä mutta rauhallisempaa ja vähemmän angstista. Varsinkin jouset toivat upean dramaattista tunnelmaa kappaleisiin. Erityismaininta levyn lopettaneelle kauniille instrumentaalikappaleelle (vaikka joitakin sanoja kappaleen loppuun löytyykin).
Would be a 5 if there was a bit more singing, but really good either way.
Like the title suggests this a dark plodding album that is still quite fulfilling ecause of Cohen's incredible lyrical sense and dramatic delivery. The music matches the lyrical themes perfectly. I found something to enjoy in most every song. 4 🌟
Let's keep it on the level When I walked away from you I turned my back on the devil Turned my back on the angel, too They oughta give my heart a medal For letting go of you. When I turned my back on the devil Turned my back on the angel, too At first I thought you would need to be in the mood to listen to this. But this album just stopped me in my tracks no matter what I was doing. There's something about Cohen that just grabs me and makes me listen. The coolest dude ever. The lyrics and that amazing growling voice hit so hard. The melodies are heartbreaking. Instrumentation is surprisingly varied for each song, but it's never too much. Just enough to complement and amplify the song and the words. What a way to go, Mr Cohen. Stand outs: You want it darker, On the level, Leaving the table, Traveling light, Treaty (both versions)
Really Good, the sound of this thing is incredible, like Midnight Mass in an ancient church
Leonard's Swan Song. According to folklore, swans sing most beautifully before they die, and hence this phrase came to be used to describe someone who was leaving in style. Wonderful album. 4/5.
Oh Leonard, the Darker the better! Cheers brother, I'm sure you are up there still singing. Thanks for all you gave us.
So so gruff! Really beautiful poetry, though the low voice is stepping on the toes of Tom Waits / Hades from Hadestown. Enjoyable swan song from the lyrical ledge. I'll revisit it at some point
This has to be one of the most spine chilling albums I've ever heard....Leonard's voice is pretty haunting anyway and add to that the fact he is on deaths door and writing quite openly about it. Really interesting album and a nice collection of songs
I guess for comparison you could listen to Bowie's Black Star, in terms of albums that were conceived and recorded while the artists were dying, but I think Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind would be a better comparison since they’re both around 80, i.e. well past their best-before dates. I would say by comparison, Cohen is still on his game. While he sounds tired (half-dead actually) his spoken words are less cryptic, more powerful and relevant, especially in songs like It Seemed the Better Way and You Want it Darker (even though he sounds a bit like he's channeling William Shatner in that one). The songs are sad and the lyrics pull you in. I like the way the violin creeps into the last three tracks and the final is instrumental until the very end. A lovely finish.
1001 already sent us Bowie's Blackstar album recorded in the last year that he was looking at the blades rather than the roots, and now we get Leonard's similar offering. I never thought that so many artists spent there last year recording a final album. I know John Lennon also did this but it's not quite the same case. This album is reminiscent of his early albums in that the arrangements and production are very simple. Gotta love the line in Traveling Light: "I use to play a mean guitar" That's right up there with "I was born with the gift of a golden voice" I was surprised to see Alison Krauss doing background vocals on "Steer Your Way". I'm not sure what the story is behind her and Leonard becoming acquainted but he has always managed to find excellent background vocalists.
The experience of this, the nearly-final Leonard Cohen project, suggests that my weakness for old-man-death-albums is fixed. This is absolutely going on my list to listen again, though the second track drags an already slow album and the penultimate song's fade is early and redundant. Not much thematic variety, but it doesn't need that: Cohen's inflections and the subtle changes in instrumentation are enough.
Väldigt bra, kraftfullt skrivet och gillar produktionen väldigt mycket.
Pretty hard to seperate from his death shortly following the album’s release, obviously by design. His low voice is really captivating here. I wish it went harder on the strings
Mörk röst swag
היה ממש כיף ושקט ואני צריך לישמוע אותו עוד פעם ליפני השינה
Massive fan of his earlier stuff, still love this album and reckon it will grow on me further in due time. Couple of songs that show he never lost his writing ability even right up to the end <3
4. Classic lyricist/poet with a great time-worn voice.
A dying battery. A vegetable garden at the end of autumn. A human heart. What are the odds that immediately upon casting my vote of 1 star for Leonard Cohen’s 1988 release, 'I’m Your Man,' the very next assignment I received was another Leonard Cohen LP! The music review gods are fucking with me. That is, if you believe in said gods. One would gather that Leonard Cohen would advise against such indulgences for the greater sake of discovering the truth, no matter how sorrowful. But I don’t believe Cohen is the atheist people want him to be. In fact, I don’t think he’s an unbeliever at all. I think he’s a wounded believer. An unbeliever has no logical reason to address God, as Cohen does from the get-go (and has throughout his career) with a brashness so endemic to his peculiar tradition- Here I am, Lord. I can take as much as u can dish out. And in spite of lyrics like ‘I’m so sorry for that ghost I made you be. Only one of us was real, and that was me (‘Treaty’),’ the more accurate lyric from the same song seems to be, ‘I’m angry and I’m tired all the time. I wish there was a treaty… between your love and mine.’ Again, on the following track (‘On the Level’), ‘I heard the snake was baffled by his sin, he shed his scales to find the snake within. But born again is born without a skin, the poison enters into everything!’ Cohen’s on the other side of the remaining western (wailing) wall in Jerusalem, lamenting both God’s seeming abandonment of him, but more so his own of God, his loss of faith. Or, perhaps, the consequential loss that choosing to not believe any longer brings. And how the music is a perfect reflection of that, too, as if it’s aged along with Cohen’s human body, and retained only the parts necessary for essential functioning- a piano here, a guitar there. Gorgeous stringed instruments with a bit of a middle eastern/Mediterranean flare, in minor keys, of course. A banjo never even got close to this LP, thankfully. And be advised to have a box of Kleenex on hand for the closing lullaby. Leonard, from my own troubled faith, also not easily reconcilable with human existence, I believe I have not heard the cry of the needy on your prior recordings, and I confess to a missed opportunity to practice the understanding my discipleship requires. This is a deeply, profoundly moving work of art- and creativity beyond- that you have shared and I’m both humbled by and grateful for its passion. I still think 'I’m Your Man' is dreadful, but I doubt you care, nor should you. This one- 'You Want It Darker'- paradoxically, is the one that truly illuminates your gift. Leonard Cohen presumably died, integrity intact, rather than with/in the false, illusionary hope (and comfort) of his own faith tradition. Is that always the right course of action? The Rolling Stones, following Altamont, seemed to intentionally shed a little light into the prior darkness they had been nurturing, choosing against integrity for the greater sake of, quite literally, saving lives. Loving life, even. The next several years and LPs released remain their very finest period as well as some of the finest rock n’ roll records ever recorded. Who’s to say?
It is de facto a concept about God... Such an amazing last album. (7/10) FT: You Want It Darker, Leaving the Table, Traveling Light
This album is wonderfully melancholy. I'm not sure anyone else could pull this kinda thing off without it sounding like a pretentious beatnik poetry wannabe. But, somehow, Cohen's simple melodies and talk/sing vibe is just cool. I can't explain it - which is good.
Haunting. Appropriately dark for these tragic and uncertain times.
Much more listenable than I feared it might be! What a turn of phrase that man had.