Released: Jan 2012
So much has been made of Cohen's poetics, philosophical insights and charismatic genius that what's often overlooked is his instrument. When staring down age's barrel, a great crooner makes the physical frailties creeping into his vocal cords work for him, and Cohen does this well on Old Ideas. Listen to him on "Amen," and the way he grinds each word into dust, then gently blows that dust into the air. On the relaxed country-blues number "Banjo," Cohen flirts with his mortality; as he does, he turns every phrase ("It's coming for me, darling/ No matter where I go") into slowly bubbling lava.
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