Two recently published articles about Leonard Cohen, one which falls just short of adulation and one which is – well, let’s go with one which is more a mixed bag, are worth reading by those interested in the the Canadian singer-songwriter.
McGill Grad – Just A Kid With A Crazy Dream – Makes Good
A Master Of Living In The Moment by Bernard Perusse (McGill News, Spring-Summer 2012): The tone of this article is telegraphed unambiguously on the cover – “Why We Love Leonard.” Still, it’s a fun read and there are tidbits to savor, such as this photo of the University’s 1954 Debating Union Society, the Vice President of which is one Leonard Cohen.
And, one happily discovers that even graduates of institutions other than McGill, such as, say, Missouri Southern College, can download, at no charge, a PDF of the entire McGill News issue containing the Cohen article at McGill Publications.
I Have Seen The Future, Baby, It Is Cheesy
No.178- The Future, Leonard Cohen, 1992 by Digby (The Daily Record, June 29, 2012): The tone of this piece is also evident from the start. The article begins
I’m always surprised that when people write about Leonard Cohen’s music, they neglect to mention quite how cheesy it is …
It turns out that Digby means “cheesy” in the best possible way – kinda. Consider, for example, his take on “Closing Time:”
If you’ve never heard Closing Time, the six-minute centrepiece of The Future, you’re going to have a hard time imagining just how irredeemably corny pop music can be, even when it is the backing for some of the most scabrously hilarious lyrics ever written. It’s basically a line-dancing version of Agadoo by Black Lace, but worse. It’s waay beyond so bad it’s good territory, completely unresponsive to ironic re-appropriation, and yet it’s somehow rather perfect. ‘I miss you since our place got wrecked by the winds of change and the weeds of sex- it looks like freedom but it feels like death’, grunts Leonard, doubtless aware of the song’s masochistic appeal.
So, if you choose to read Digby’s review – and you should if you have any investment in comprehending the place of Leonard Cohen’s music in the context of popular culture – read the entire article carefully before coming to any conclusions.
This review can be found at The Future, Leonard Cohen.