February 22, 2009

SOMBER CHIC:

Pop Music’s Perpetual Old Man, Now 74, Is Back on the Road (NATE CHINEN, 2/21/09, NY Times)

[“If It Be Your Will”] was one of a handful of songs with philosophical overtones, befitting Mr. Cohen’s experience as a Zen Buddhist monk. The strongest in this vein was “Anthem,” which he prefaced with an allusion to troubled times; a joke about his medications (he mentioned a litany of name-brand antidepressants); and a quip about how he tried a course of religious study, but “cheerfulness kept breaking through.” Then came the song, and its chorus:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

Mr. Cohen sang these words with a kind of gracious generosity. Then he introduced everyone onstage, with practiced eloquence. And before dashing into the wings to end the first half he stood for a moment, hat in hand, awash in wild applause.


Yet another gem on The Box is the BBC 2 program with Guy Garvey (of Elbow) meditating on Mr. Cohen's Hallelujah.


MORE:
-Leonard Cohen takes Manhattan, again (Emily Johnson, 2/20/09, National Post)

During the nearly three-hour show (with one intermission) he was uniformly gracious, doffing his hat to the audience after each song, and receiving a standing ovation for nearly every o`ne in return. Maybe it was just their appreciation of being there for Cohen's first concert in the U.S. since 1993, but it seemed that the audience, aware of his troubled relationship with the States in the past, was at particular pains to show him their true love.

He stands very slim and straight, in his dark suit and fedora, with the mien of a much younger man than his 74 years. Like a Buddhist monk, he seems to ride his bones lightly.

There has always been a tension between the depressive poet mining endless lyrical depths and simple song structures, and the singer and band leader, shuffling and stepping, crouching as he sings or looking over as his band mates play. Not completely resolved here, the styles took turns.


Posted by Orrin Judd at February 22, 2009 6:59 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« DOESN'T THE TERM LOOPHOOLE SUGGEST SOME KIND OF INITIAL BARRIER? | Main | NEVER A GOOD IDEA TO LEAVE THE PRESIDENT TWISTING IN THE WIND: »