Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Almost Like the Blues"- Leonard Cohen

(From 1HeckofAGuy)

Until the release of "Almost Like the Blues" Canadian folk artist Leonard Cohen had never issued a song with "blues" in the title. Which is strange when you consider that the hyper literate characters he's created have felt them. They've stared at a knife blade and seen "salvation," hopelessly dwelled on one night of love, tried and failed "to be free." On "Hallelujah," arguably Cohen's most famous number, love is reduced to a "cold and broken hallelujah." Any one of those depressive songs (and countless others) deserved to have blues in the title, but for 47 years Cohen resisted the temptation.

That said, even this first taste of his 13th studio album Popular Problems positions the word against noncommittal words "almost" and "like." Not to mention, the music itself has a non-blues feel. A maraca twitches for the duration of the track. Wood drums clop between speakers. Piano keys quietly sound and horns blurt at random intervals. In musical terms "Almost Like the Blues" is closer to a Vegas lounge or a Greenwich Village cafe than the Mississippi River Delta.

Cohen's lyrics however need no qualifiers; the blues are in their soul. Though he turns 80 next month, the former poet's lost none of his talent for crushing insight. "I have to die a little between each murderous thought and when I'm finished thinking, I have to die a lot," he growls with stale whiskey on his breath. Despite his countless religious allusions, Cohen's never had much faith and "Almost Like the Blues" finds him wallowing in faithlessness. He admits to being a sinner and quotes a great professor on the myth of an afterlife, "there is no God in heaven, there is no hell below." From the way Cohen sounds you'd never believe the latter statement. Hell exists and its hounds are hot on Cohen's trail.

Popular Problems
drops 9/21 through Columbia and you can find the tracklist below.

Popular Problems:
1. "Slow"
2. "Almost Like The Blues"
3. "Samson In New Orleans"
4. "A Street"
5. "Did I Ever Love You"
6. "My Oh My"
7. "Nevermind"
8. "Born In Chains"
9. "You Got Me Singing"

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