Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Pleasures yet to be had: Leonard Cohen’s ‘Old Ideas’

< Previous Page

Both of us say there are laws to obey

But frankly I don’t like your tone

At a glance

Grade » A-

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

You want to change the way I make love

I want to leave it alone"

The violin, charged once more with playing a crucial role, pierces the air with melodies that bring to mind Cohen’s perennial companions: gypsies, furiously alive.

The meandering trumpet solo on "Amen" ranks, by sheer heartrending loveliness, among the finest musical moments in Cohen’s career.

A Spanish guitar, which echoes some of his earliest work, helps make "Crazy to Love You" a serenade that’s truly "deeper than any goodbye."

A country-blues bent gives "Banjo" just the right rhythm to let one suspect the very nature of what’s coming from that "dark infested sea." Its effect not unlike that of an Ars Poetica, as a musician, aware of his lot, has it.

A measure of the quality of Cohen’s lyrics has always been that one continues to find in them new meaning. They are worth considering, in Pound’s sense, as the sailor considers the seaboard. That is, through an evolving perspective, which changes as the ship moves.

There is one noticeable shift. Cohen is now inclined to rely on fewer lines, to return to notions that have anchored many of his past songs, to repeat whole stanzas as if to emphasize that what he means to say is all there and needs no further elaboration.

story continues below
story continues below

Hearing "Old Ideas" is witnessing the inner-workings of one man’s lyrical mind. In words that he has made his own. Through songs in which it’s apparent no other words would as perfectly belong.

If that’s not enough, it behooves one to look inward and ask oneself: "You don’t really care for music, do you?"


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.