Leonard Cohen: a voice gone but not forgotten
With "Thanks For The Dance", the magic of Leonard Cohen's voice graces our speakers once again thanks to his son Adam, the producer of this posthumous album.
From beyond the grave, Leonard Cohen has returned with Thanks for the Dance, three years after the amazing record You Want It Darker. His previous album contained fiercely determined lyrics (“I’m ready my Lord”) and that dark deep voice that makes your hairs stand on end, all layered over choir and organ melodies. Cohen died in the night nineteen days later, on November 7th 2016.
But the singer already had plans for the afterlife: a posthumous album. He entrusted the task to his son Adam, who had been involved with the production of what everyone thought was the master’s final work. Adam commented: “I know my father’s sound very well and we had already discussed the arrangements during the recording sessions for You Want It Darker.”
Gathering together the nine songs that were deliberately set aside, both solo and with guitar, Adam Cohen called upon his faithful colleagues for the accompaniments. “Despite everything, I went through a phase of doubt. So I decided to call on all the talented artists from the last album, starting with Javier Mas, the Spanish guitarist who accompanied my father on stage.” We find Feist, Beck (on guitar), Daniel Lanois, Damien Rice and Patrick Watson.
The opus unfolds in a sober key – with just guitar, mandolin, piano and choir – and it is utterly moving throughout. We are treated to The Hills and its powerful build, the light percussion in The Night of Santiago, the dazzling brilliance of The Goal and a humble invitation to ponder life in Listen to the Hummingbird: “Listen to the Hummingbird, don’t listen to me” he sings in the closing song.
But above all, it is the Canadian’s deep voice that serves as raw material, exploring all his favourite themes: loneliness, disappearance, humility, Jewishness. After the curtain fell on You Want It Darker, it’s time for the curtain call. Masterful.