As a life long fan and follower of Leonard Cohen, the prolific Montreal musician and poet, it saddens me to learn of his passing, but his life was truly one that was not spoiled or squandered.
Less than a month ago, on his 82nd birthday, Cohen released his final album, "You Want It Darker."
As I sit here, listening to the albums title track, "You Want It Darker," it clearly stands out among the rest. It's actually quite haunting to be honest, and dare I say, it is a timely last piece to leave the world, considering the recent state of affairs in America.
Cohen was always probing the edge of human consciousness and searching for the deeper meaning behind the veil of illusion. He has always seemed to be able to tap into the transcendental qualities of human life, speaking to the raw and curious voice inside us all. "You Want It Darker" is jam packed with open ended questions and allegory that perhaps make the listener wonder, is he asking questions or leading the listener to an answer?
Cohen rasps in his rich and ever changing baritone:
"They're lining up the prisoners, and the guards are taking aim, I struggled with some demons, they were middle class and tame, I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim, you want it darker, hineni, hineni, I'm ready, my lord"
A tad more misanthropic than I'd usually personally prefer, but that was the beauty and brilliance of Leonard Cohen, he was never afraid to explore the dark, because he knew that the dark was also inextricably a part of the light.
In his 6th track on "You Want It Darker" called "Traveling Light," Cohen says, "But if the road leads back to you, must I forget the things I knew, when I was friends with one or two, traveling light like we used to do, I'm traveling light."
Will Hermes of Rolling Stone describes "Traveling Light" as Cohen conjuring up, "his halcyon years in Greece in the early Sixties with his late muse Marianne Ihlen, the subject of "So Long, Marianne," who died in late July. "Goodnight, my fallen star ..." Cohen sings in a near-whisper amid bouzouki notes, like a man dancing in an empty taverna after closing time."
May you be a "Traveling Light" forever in the journey through the dark Leonard...