Assuming his position as a sad world’s Poet Laureate, Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas was his best collection in years, a stark moment of proof that the singer truly is like the finest of wines—better with age. From the haunting low croons of opener “Going Home” to the playful, relatively upbeat nature of “Different Sides”, these 10 songs have more references to death and sex than three seasons of HBO’s The Wire. He isn’t breaking new ground any more than he’s using it as a placeholder for the victory lap that this record is. That doesn’t mean the work suffers. “Banjo’s” darkness is wry and beautifully selfish while “Crazy to Love You” is as romantic as the singer has ever been. And at seven-plus minutes, “Amen” sits next to “Dress Rehearsal Rag” as one of his longer, more breathtakingly hopeless journeys. Leonard Cohen is 78 years old now, so who knows if we’ll get another set of all-new material while he’s still able to don that derby on stages around the world. Though if Old Ideas does end up being his musical swan song, it’s hard to imagine two better ways to say goodbye: Sad and sexy.—Colin McGuire
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.