Sunday, November 13, 2016


Learning of Leonard Cohen's passing this week indeed made a dark week that much darker, bleaker.  I was just beginning to dive into my recently acquired Blu-ray of MCCABE & MRS. MILLER (review forthcoming, of course) when I read the news on Facebook.  It was posted by a friend who is likewise a huge fan of this matchless arbiter of emotion through words and music.  MCCABE has three of Cohen's songs - "The Stranger Song", "Winter Lady", and "Sisters of Mercy", all of which contribute immensely to the mood of the film.

I had heard his best known contribution "Hallelujah", a song that apparently took years to compose (the artist agonized over his work), many, many times over the years.  Those who are only familiar with that one have their work cut out for them, and it would be time very well spent.  The Cohen catalogue encompasses tunes about women, politics, spirituality.  Of the latter, Cohen was quite a devout Buddhist, but many found his lyrics applicable to their own faiths.  There is a reference to Scientology ("Did you ever go clear?") in the 1971 song "Famous Blue Raincoat", still one of the loneliest songs I ever have heard, and still one of my favorites.

Spending time with Leonard Cohen is always a welcome respite from and an acknowledgement of a dark and increasingly despairing world.    We'll miss you and your beautifully raspy voice, old friend.

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