Thursday, February 23, 2017
Spotlight: Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliché, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.
Cohen first released what is perhaps his most well-loved song, “Hallelujah,” on his seventh studio album, 1984’s Various Positions. The song has since been performed by nearly 200 different artists in numerous languages, a testament to the incredibly long shadow Cohen has cast over the world of music. Cohen’s star only continued to rise throughout the 1990s, his music reaching a larger and younger audience even as it gravitated towards darkness and social conflict. He was ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk in 1996, taking the Dharma name Jikan, or “Silence.” After five years of seclusion, he returned to writing, recording and touring, releasing two albums in the 2000s and embarking on a 2008-2010 world tour. Cohen’s masterful songwriting continued even into his 14th album, the recently released and unsurprisingly excellent You Want It Darker.
“If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often,” Cohen once said. We have no doubt he is there now.