Leonard Cohen Plunges World Into Darkness

Darkness Reigns

In less than 24 hours since Leonard Cohen, with a corporate assist from Sony, set loose Darkness from the soon to be released Old Ideas album, the click1 of internet music sites have transformed into a patchwork of black and gray squares – not unlike the graphic atop this post – all emitting the elegant sound of Leonard Cohen singing “Darkness.”

Darkness Reviews Shine

On the other hand, the early reviews of the song are friggin’ sunbeams of happiness. A few excerpts follow:

Michael Cragg – Guardian (UK):

A new Leonard Cohen song called Darkness, you say? Yippee! Seriously, it’s very good. … As ever, the lyrics are pure gold, particularly the line: “I should have seen it coming/ it was red behind your eyes/ you were young and it was summer/ I just had to take a dive.”

Stupefaction (US):

“Darkness” is yet another reason why I can’t wait to hear this album. After 15-20 years in a haze of synthesized production sounds (not exactly lost), he’s returned to a more natural sound. Maybe that’s one of the reasons he’s called the new album Old Ideas? Thank goodness!

 Tom Hawking – FlavorWire (US):

Listen to a Fantastic New Leonard Cohen Song … the song — which is entitled “Darkness” — is also really good. It starts with a moody flamenco-influenced intro that’s decidedly reminiscent of Songs of Love and Hate track “Avalanche,” before expanding into a mid-tempo Hammond-driven ballad. The lyric manages to poke fun at Cohen’s reputation as the Grand Overlord of Melancholy (“I caught the darkness,” indeed) but also functions as a latter-day “Tower of Song”-style reflection on mortality — especially the bit where he sings “I got no future/ I know my days are few…” in a way that’s so matter-of-fact that it’s quietly heartbreaking.

Tim Cashmere – Noise11 (Australia):

Darkness sees Cohen muse on his experience on this Earth in that comforting, all-knowing tone that only Cohen can inject into song.

David Robbins – Their Bated Breath:

Leonard Cohen’s latest single, “Darkness”, sounds like his version of the road-weary old-timer moods Bob Dylan captured on 1997′s “Time Out of Mind”. … The song is a beauty. A low-moan acoustic guitar, gracefully finger-picked, purrs through the opening before Cohen sings, “I caught the darkness / Drinking from your cup / I said is this contagious / You said just drink it up / I got no future / I know my days are few / And the presents not that pleasant / Just a lot of things to do / And I thought the past would last me / But the darkness got that too.” … But unlike Dylan, Cohen wraps his song in an upbeat rhythm, with a couple of winks and nods that fans have come to love in his songwriting. Where Dylan was exceedingly somber and accusatory of a world gone wrong, Cohen becomes playful, falling into a persona more akin to Tom Waits — with a self-deprecatingly fun line like, “I used to love the rainbow …”

YourMusicRadar (Australia):

As dark as this track is, there’s something warm and uplifting in it…. in a weird way. … What a great track this is!!!

Andrew Winistorfer – Prefix Magazine:

Holy smokes guys: Who knew that a simple, sultry Leonard Cohen song could be so great? Because below, we have a stream of “Darkness,” Cohen’s new single from his upcoming comeback album, Old Ideas, a crawling, smoky cut that finds Cohen firmly in his whisper mode over some bluesy backing music. This is going to be all over movie trailers in about 15 minutes. Dude is the O.G. of this kind of sinister, folky music, and he had to come back to prove he’s still the best at it.  On Jan. 31, Old Ideas, Cohen’s first album since 2004’s Dear Heather, will be released by Columbia. If it’s as good this, we’re in for a treat.

Lucy Jones – Telegraph (UK):

It’s [Darkness is] not cheery – “I’ve got no future, I know my days are few” purrs Cohen – but it’s good. The track is a soft and smouldering shrug with a lyrical sting. It’s based on a rhythmic guitar riff and a skittering organ with angelic backing vocals, chromatic harmonies and bluesy trills. … I think Cohen has written one of the most beautiful songs of his career.


The great Leonard Cohen settles into a world-weary blues groove for “Darkness,” the latest preview from his 12th studio LP, Old Ideas.

Vinyl Corner(The Blog)

I don’t know about you, but this soulful, bluesy take makes this album sound even more promising!

Hear Darkness Here

Just in case, you’ve missed it, …

Leonard Cohen – Darkness by leonardcohen

Lyrics: Darkness
By Leonard Cohen

I caught the darkness
It was drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness
drinking from your cup
I said is this contagious?
You said “Just drink it up”

I’ve got no future
I know my days are few
The present’s not that pleasant
Just a lot of things to do
I thought the past would last me
But the darkness got that too

I should have seen it coming
It was right behind your eyes
You were young and it was summer
I just had to take the dive
Winning you was easy
But darkness was the prize

I don’t smoke no cigarette
I don’t drink no alcohol
I ain’t had much loving yet
But that’s always been your call
Hey, I don’t miss it baby
I no taste for anything at all

I used to love the rainbow
And I used to love the view
I love the early morning
I pretend that it was new
But I caught the darkness, baby
And I got it worse than you

I caught the darkness
It was drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness
drinking from your cup
I said is this contagious?
You said “Just drink it up”

Credit Due Department: Lyrics were transcribed by Tom Sakic at A Thousand Kisses Deep.

  1. “Click” is my collective noun for a group of websites. See, you “click” on a mouse to reach a “clique” of sites – oh, never mind. []

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