Happy birthday, Leonard Cohen! In a lucky inversion of the usual tradition, the 82-year-old has given us a gift, releasing “You Want It Darker.” The song is the title track from his forthcoming record, set for an October 21st release, which will feature nine original songs and was produced by Cohen’s son, Adam. Cohen has been prolific in his nearly 50 year recording career, and You Want It Darker will mark his 14th studio album.
Anyone who caught wind of the heartbreaking news trending in early August— about the letter Cohen penned to Marianne Ihlen on her on her deathbed– will notice a similar morbid streak to this new release. “Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine,” Cohen wrote to his onetime muse, and the inspiration for his famous track, “So Long, Marianne.”
Opening with a Gregorian chant of an intro that echoes throughout, “You Want It Darker” is beautiful and sinister, featuring Cohen’s signature, gravelly vocals over a simple mix of organ and drum. “I’m ready, my Lord,” he huskily intones, later adding, “If you are the dealer, let me out of the game.”
Well, it’s his birthday and he can write songs about death if he wants to?
What do you think? Is this typical Cohen, or something even… darker?
Listen to “You Want It Darker” via Vevo below, and tell us your thoughts in the comments!