Leonard Cohen
You Want It Darker
Columbia

Leonard Cohen sang my kind of happiness. A dark and wondrous happiness blessed with a ravaging beauty and drowning in an ocean of emotion. It’s not your typical sun-kissed blast of sweetness and light, granted, but the 82-year-old’s deadpan, often playful musings on lust, romance and spirituality touch the melancholic heart in the most uplift­ing of ways. On You Want It Darker, his 14th and possibly bleakest studio album, the Canadian troubadour sombrely reflected on his own mortality in a way that suggested he knew this was likely to be a glorious swansong.

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“I’m ready to die,” he recently told The New Yorker (although he later poured scorn on that, stating with typical dry wit, “I intend to live forever”), but Cohen had been ruminating on death and higher powers for much of his 60-year career, so it’s perhaps understandable if we didn’t initially take him at his word. The minimalist instrumentation and production, courtesy of Leonard’s son, Adam, create a sparse and bittersweet backdrop against which Cohen Snr made peace with the world in his inimitable sorrowful rasp. A magnificent, touching masterpiece.