Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems

The first two words that spring to mind when hearing the new Leonard Cohen album ‘Popular Problems’ is subtle and dark and yet despite this the eighty year olds work has never been better. ‘I’m slowing down the tune, I never liked it fast, You want to get there soon, I want to get there last’ he honestly opens with on ‘Slow’ his familiar gravel humming over the hushed instrumentation, as album highlight ‘Almost Like the Blues’ kicks in I’m instantly reminded of ‘Waiting for the Miracle’ as organs and distant bongos play a slow deathly march. ‘Samson in New Orleans’ is the story of hurricane Katrina and Cohen reveals the murky aftermath in his deep dulcet tones. Elsewhere there’s beautiful piano, Hammond organ and even gospel elements. ‘My Oh My’ is an affectionate ode ’It wasn’t hard to love you, I didn’t have to try’ it’s a little light relief as is the banjo driven ‘Did I Ever Love You’ with its jauntily placed chorus. At nine songs this record, if you like it, will leave you desperately wanting more but coming just two years after his last there’s hope for another cracking record from this legend yet, but for now revel in an album that is without a doubt one of his best.

lc

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