Leonard Cohen ‘You Want It Darker’ Album Review Roundup

October 17, 2016

Leonard Cohen’s new album ‘You Want It Darker.’ It’s the 14th solo album from the legendary singer-songwriter, and his first since of 2014. Critics are weighing in and you can see a roundup of reviews here.

Leonard Cohen

The new album arrives with plenty of fanfare and anticipation even though it’s been only two years since Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Leonard Cohen’s recent album, ‘Popular Problems,’ was released to universal critical acclaim, with The Telegraph declaring it a “masterpiece.”

In a recent interview with The New Yorker the now 82-year-old Cohen caused quite a stir and launched many a dramatic headline when he said he was “ready to die.” As Billboard reports, he backtracked those comments at a listening session for the new album, telling reporters, ““I said I was ready to die recently…And I think I was exaggerating. I’ve always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever.” He later added, after the conclusion of the session, “I hope we can do this again. I intend to stick around until 120.”

The lead single and title track, ‘You Want It Darker,’ foreshadowed the lyrical and brooding depths of the album. It features both a the cantor and the choir from Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue and such lines as “A million candles burning for the help that never came.”

Now as the album arrives in full the critics are weighing in. Here’s a roundup of reviews.

“….Leonard Cohen’s 14th studio album is a bleak masterpiece for hard times from pop’s longest-serving poet…..” –The Telegraph

“….On his 14th studio album, the songwriting maestro—still vital at 82—is a lion in winter, his lyrics heavy with God and sex and death and his legendary voice scraped down to a subterranean rumble……” –Entertainment Weekly

“…. He’s doing what he’s always done, describing what’s in front of him and looking for layers of meaning in the shadows. He’s doing it in riveting ways, with a quality of attention that comes only from inner calm and quiet — and healthy distance from modern maelstroms. Cohen isn’t sugarcoating the news, and he’s not relinquishing any of his grace. ….” –NPR

“….The songs keep in line with the narrative Cohen laid out in the New Yorker piece about putting his “house in order” before migrating from this earthly plane. A witty couplet (or eight) aside, the album deals in harsh goodbyes. Not entirely welcome, some heave with resignation as others bring a modicum of comfort. ….” –Consequence of Sound

Check back as more reviews arrive. Meanwhile, you can see stream the album in its entirety here via NPR till the October 21st release and check out Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’ album cover art and music videos below.

A photo posted by Javier Barría (@javierbarria_) on

Pictures: PR Photos

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