At the start of 2020, not realising what a hotbed of disease it was going to be, I started a fun project inspired by The Larson House. I took the names of 52 musicians or bands that I didn’t know enough about, and I put their names in a pickle jar. Each week, I take a name out and listen to them as much as possible for that week. This week was the go of Canadian soothsayer and prophet, Leonard Cohen.
What I Knew Before: My knowledge of Leonard Cohen was very much missing. I knew he had a song about the Chelsea Hotel, but only because it had come up when I was obsessed with the Chelsea. I also knew that I would probably really dig him. He very much felt like a musician’s musician.
What I Know Now: It’s probably for the best that I’ve only hit upon Leonard Cohen now that I have grown slightly into my tastes and don’t cling to every word they’ve written like a lost fanboy of anything I can possibly find. If I had found Cohen ten years ago then I would have been an insufferable fan. The fact remains that listening to him this week has not had the impact that it once would have done but I am grateful for the opportunity. I struggle to think of anyone else who has written about the human condition in the way that Cohen was able to capture. The way he talks about religion or death or sex (my Starter For Ten in a lot of conversations) is so beautifully eloquent that it makes me sad to know he was taken in The Great Cultural Wipeout of 2016.
Favourite song(s): Hallelujah (even if I prefer the Jeff Buckley version and will not apologise), So Long Marianne, Happens To The Heart and You Want It Darker.
Favourite album(s): Well, it’s all of an uncompromising standard but there’s something Waits-esque about the latter day Cohen that I cling to. Give me You Want It Darker and Thanks For The Dance any day.