14 May 2009

Singin' on Thursday: Leonard Cohen, Poetic Master

Thank You Leonard Cohen
By Joel Hirschhorn / May 14, 2009

The other night I went to a Leonard Cohen concert. I have never seen a huge audience over a very broad age spectrum so completely enraptured, impassioned and wild over an entertainer, especially one that has never in a very long career been embraced by the mainstream music industry. At age 75 Cohen is absolutely remarkable in his stubborn individualism, his refusal to do anything but his own poetry and visions about love, hate, humankind and society. He still has unbounded charisma and sings with total commitment to his music and lyrics.

In the 1960s and 1970s I satisfied myself with every poem, novel and song by Cohen. He was for me, and I think millions of others, a profound influence on my intellectual development, personality and commitment to stay true to my own values and visions. He was pure genius. He remains so.

He always seemed a tortured soul working hard to find love and beauty in a very disappointing world. Maybe that is why so many of us have related to his music and words for over half a century. When you listen to his songs you want to savor every word. You often may want to cry because he is saying something that cuts to the very heart and soul of human existence.

If you have an opportunity you definitely should see him in concert, or at least get his DVD Leonard Cohen: Live in which pretty much is what I expect every one of his concerts is like these days. To see and hear this 75-year old legend work hard for several hours should give all of us the courage and will to stay enthusiastically alive for a long time. Among his many, many albums you can choose do not overlook Leonard Cohen: Ten New Songs, a number of which he performs in current concert tour. What is so impressive is that he has the talent to write great new songs.

What also struck me about Cohen in his older years is his humility and his gracious appreciation for his fans and supporters, as well as his repeated praise for the musicians and singers that accompany him. Like him, they are remarkable. He seems a little amazed that so many of us have stayed with him over so many decades and even that younger people have come to appreciate his individualistic genius. One thing is for sure, Leonard Cohen will live on forever through his songs, as he should. Everybody knows.

As Cohen sings, there ain't no cure for love, and certainly not for the enduring love of his fans that still find his unique style both joyous and meaningful. He has always shared his personal emotions, thoughts and agony with us in ways few entertainers are able to do. For that we must all be eternally grateful.

Source / Search Warp

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