Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems Available Today

Leonard Cohen Popular Problems
The latest Leonard Cohen LP is worth listening and maybe owning

By Stephen Pate – What does a reviewer say about a poet/songwriter who just released perhaps one of his best albums two days after his 80th birthday?

I won’t say much, being more circumspect than in the past. “I have to die a lot, there’s torture and there’s killing, there’s all my bad reviews,” says in “Almost Like The Blues”

I’ve been listening to Popular Problems for a week. Cohen puts me in a good mood so I like it.  I won’t try to explain the songs to you since that is your personal journey and pleasure.

I admit to being a later day fan of Leonard Cohen. As a folkie living in Montreal in the 1960s it was hard not to know and appreciate Leonard Cohen. There is always Suzanne, the eternal song about bohemia in Montreal.

I can also remember a road trip where the driver played depressed Leonard Cohen CDs in sotto voice until I nearly went mad. A few years ago my wife surprised me with tickets to a Cohen concert and I loved the joy and peace he brought the audience.

She bought me a Leonard Cohen songbook to learn the songs and I took her to another concert in Halifax to sit in the third row from the stage. I was blown away by his love for the audience, humility and the great music. The rest is marital bliss.

“Problem Problems” is neither a classic like Suzanne or First We Take Manhattan but the album is highly listenable and I like it. His voice has evolved to a better Bob Dylan voice than Dylan’s aging croak.

The songs are witty, wry and thoughtful musings on the normal Leonard Cohen topics – carnal pleasures, love, God, aging and death.

The arrangements are modern, spare and have the wonderful penchant for a female backup chorus.

You can listen to the album free on YouTube or stream it on NPR or CBC.

If you enjoy Popular Problems,  the music is available from iTunes or Amazon.com – Popular Problems.  If you live in the United States, the Amazon.com purchase includes both an MP3 download and the CD.

Official Leonard Cohen site. Follow me on Twitter at @sdpate or on Facebook at NJN Network, OyeTimes and IMA News Buzz.  You might also like Leonard Cohen’s albums: worst to best, an entirely subjective review of Leonard Cohen’s albums.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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