Two of my favorite songwriters are Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and the two could not be more opposite in the way they write and release music. Dylan is quicker and more abstract in his music, and Cohen is slower, more deliberate and has many songs with deep and hidden meanings. While I look forward to new releases by Dylan with great anticipation, Leonard Cohen albums are like events, something that you many never know when it will happen again. Old Ideas is Cohen’s first album of new material since 2004’s Dear Heather. Old Ideas finds a musician in the twilight of his career, accepting his old age, yet still realizing he has a lot to give in this life. “Show Me The Place” was the first single released from the album, and it’s definitely a somber song that has a lot of regrets and pain to it, seemingly asking for forgiveness for a variety of faults. My favorite song is the last track of the album, “Different Sides“, about a relationship where one person wants to follow the law of society and the way a relationship “should” be, and the narrator (Cohen, in this case), just wants to love the only way he knows how and is getting frustrated with his lover for her lack of adventure and willingness to submit to her desires. This album is not without faults, as the music sometimes borders on cheesy and antiquated, but it just stays fresh enough to be enjoyable. Cohen’s present voice might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for the type of music he’s doing now compared to his stuff from the 60’s & 70’s in my opinion. As always, the songs are backed by lovely women’s voices, which include long time collaborators Sharon Robinson and Jennifer Warnes, as well as The Webb Sisters, who have been featured with Leonard on his most recent tours. While Old Ideas probably wouldn’t crack my top 5 Cohen albums, in my opinion it’s his best material in the last 20 years, and any new Cohen material is cause for celebration.
- Different Sides