Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker A Bright Light

Cohen’s Parting Gift Is A Masterpiece

The year 2016 was a rough year for the legions of fans of the many musical giants who shuffled off this mortal coil. Now, mournfully, Leonard Cohen’s name has been added to that tear-stained list of fallen stars. You Want It Darker is Cohen’s fourteenth and last studio album — a parting masterpiece from a great soul who lived the examined life and left all of us the richer for it. The title track, on which Cohen sings, “A million candles burning for the love that never came / You want it darker / We kill the flame,” can’t help but be drearily emblematic of the zeitgeist of this moment in world and U.S. history. On “Treaty,” the artist dryly laments, “I heard the snake was baffled by his sin / He shed his scales to find the snake within / But born again is born without a skin / The poison enters into everything.” “Traveling Light” finds a suave-voiced Cohen making peace with his mortality with wry humor and aplomb, and on the sagacious “Steer Your Way,” the mystic poet exalts the human potential for transcendence and truth in the face of death. Hallelujah.

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