2016 has been a cruel year for losing legends. Bowie, Prince, Lemmy and now Leonard Cohen has passed beyond the veil. Cohen has always sung bleakly beautiful poetry with a voice that’s a gravel road wrapped in silk, resonant and striking to the core. Nowhere are Cohen’s lyrics more starkly beautiful in the title track, You Want It Darker, when he sings “vilified, crucified, in the human frame, a million candles burning for help that never came.” Whilst Travelling Light conjures up funereal images of travelling light because you can’t take it with you, and running late, also has poignancy as his muse Marianne Ihlen recently passed away. You Want It Darker is his final letter to us, possessed of the stark beauty of a winter morning and the dark humour and lyricism of a master. Sincerely, M. Summerfield.
Originally printed in Kirkby Extra, December 2016.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.