New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Leonard Ciohen's last studio album (2016)
Bennyboy
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby Bennyboy » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:21 pm

yopietro wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
yopietro wrote:Traveling Light can indeed be the flip side of You Want it Darker.
And in the case of the vinyl version of the album, it's the first song on side 2 - so a nice symmetry between dark and light beginning each side.
Cool. Nice detective work Ben.
Cheers mate.

Anyone know exactly which of the songs were written and produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson on the album? I wonder how many came out of the Popular Problems sessions....
emaspac
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby emaspac » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:35 pm

Bennyboy wrote: Cheers mate.

Anyone know exactly which of the songs were written and produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson on the album? I wonder how many came out of the Popular Problems sessions....
no, I don't know the songs.
1. 4. 6. and 7 could be produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson, if I had to guess.
I'm curious...
yopietro
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby yopietro » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:48 pm

Not sure about production but I remember reading somewhere this week that On the Level is a Sharon Robinson composition (at least the music). And Patrick Leonard was responsible for the string arrangements on Treaty. I'm sure there were more contributions though and I wouldn't be surprised if the music on Leaving the Table and I Didn't Have Your Love were written by either Sharon or Patrick.
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby Cihan » Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:07 pm

How much of the music is written by Leonard nowadays?
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby holydove » Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:49 pm

B4real wrote: I haven't heard the album yet but that word aerial rang a bell with me because of my book research and listening to many concerts and here's what and where I heard it. Maybe there's a similar verse in Treaty to the live concert one below or maybe not :)

"I haven’t said a word since you’ve been gone
That any liar couldn’t say as well
I can’t believe the static coming on
You were my ground, you were my aerial

And there are no letters in the mail box......"

Diamonds In The Mine - Munich 9th march 1985
Hi Bev,

When I heard that verse in Treaty, I vividly remembered hearing that verse in a concert performance that I thought was in the '80's or '90's, but I didn't remember which concert it was, or what song it was in, & I have been wanting to research that, so thank you for the specific info on which concert/song it was!! However, when I heard it in the '85 performance, I thought Leonard was singing ". . .you were my Ariel" (as in, the angel); I think the way he pronounced it in '85 sounded more like the pronunciation of Ariel (but I could be wrong, I will have to listen to it again); but the current pronunciation in Treaty does sound more like "aerial" than "Ariel", & "aerial" does fit better with the "static" reference (though I do like the imagery & implications of "Ariel"...). My assumption that it was "Ariel" might also be due to the fact that the word "aerial" is almost never used in the U.S. (at least in my experience, it's extremely rare) - the word commonly used here is "antenna"; it would be interesting to know if the word "aerial" is more commonly used in Canada or other English-speaking countries, like Australia or the UK.

I had forgotten about the "water/wine" verse, but now that you mention it, I remember hearing that in the live performance from 1985 too. Anyway, thanks again for the info about the concert venues/dates - your very diligent & thorough work makes my research infinitely easier, & I look forward to listening to those '85 concerts again!!
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby swisschris » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:50 pm

emaspac wrote:
Bennyboy wrote: Cheers mate.

Anyone know exactly which of the songs were written and produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson on the album? I wonder how many came out of the Popular Problems sessions....
no, I don't know the songs.
1. 4. 6. and 7 could be produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson, if I had to guess.
I'm curious...
Patrick Leonard produced "Treaty", "If I didn't have your love" and "String Reprise/Treaty".
Adam Cohen produced the rest of the songs
You want it darker: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard
Treaty: Words and Music Leonard Cohen
On the Level: Words Leonard Cohen, music Sharon Robinson
Leaving the Table: Words and music Leonard Cohen
If I didn't have your love: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard
Traveling Light: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard and Adam Cohen
It seemed the better way: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard
Steer your way: Words and music Leonard Cohen
String Reprise/Treaty: Words and music Leonard Cohen ( strings composed and conducted by Patrick Leonard)
By the way:
Backing vocals on "On the Level": Dana Glover
Backing vocals on Traveling Light: Athena Andreadis
Backing vocals on Steer your way: Dana Glover and Alison Krauss!

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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby yopietro » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:11 am

"It's over now, the water and the wine."

Having listened to You Want It Darker a number of times now, I believe that this line from the solitary verse that ends the album in Spring Reprise/Treaty, is the line that sums up the spirit of this record. The water and the wine, the story of finding any savior and salvation is now done for the singer. The million candles burned for the help/love that never came. He is done waiting and asking for miracles. He was broken but now he's "borderline." (Personality disorder? On the borderline of life and death? On the borderline between humanity and divinity? The line bespeaks a delicious ambiguity).
But he's no longer waiting for the miracle, waiting for the water to be turned into wine...he just wants a treaty. A peace, an accord between himself and the object of his spiritual search. And the sad thing is that he wishes there was a treaty he could sign. But the implication is that it just isn't possible.
From the title track to this last verse, the question of faith on this album seems to be conveyed from quite a different place than that from which Leonard sang on If It Be Your Will or Hallelujah. There's so much on this album to digest...
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby B4real » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:25 am

yopietro, that sounds intriguing, I can't wait to buy and listen to my album very soon :D

Hi Rachel,
One never knows what will turn up doing my compiling! About "aerial", from my memory you needed to have a "ground" as a go between to stop the "static". I'm referring to my old wireless/ radio and recently a dodgy clock radio that when I touched the aerial (used myself as a ground) the static went away! And yes, aerial was more common to say than antenna in those countries back then but both are used these days.

As well as yourself, Bennyboy and yopietro were contemplating the more ethereal notion of the archangel Ariel but taken as a whole, I think it's referring to the above scenario.

I expect the music, voice timbre and delivery of both those former DITM verses to be very different in Treaty!
Last edited by B4real on Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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yopietro
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby yopietro » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:48 am

B4real wrote:About "aerial", from my memory you needed to have a "ground" as a go between to stop the "static". I'm referring to my old wireless/ radio and recently a dodgy clock radio that when I touched the aerial (used myself as a ground) the static went away! And yes, aerial was more common to say than antenna in those countries back then but both are used these days.
That's an excellent analysis B4real.
emaspac
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby emaspac » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:34 am

Bennyboy wrote:On the aerial / arial question, I don't think the ambiguity is an accident, but I guess only Leonard could answer that.

Oh and here's another, extremely perceptive, review of the album - one which I agree with entirely (although I would give it an extra point out of ten).

http://floodmagazine.com/40710/leonard- ... it-darker/

Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”
October 18th 2016
by Josh Hurst
Leonard Cohenleonard_cohen-2016-you_want_it_darker
You Want It Darker
COLUMBIA/SONY
8/10

“You smiled at me like I was young,” sings Leonard Cohen toward the top of his new album, You Want It Darker. “You took my breath away.” Cohen has never exactly seemed young, and You Want It Darker is at least his third album in a row that feels consciously designed to be his last (though the man himself says he’s got at least two more he’d like to complete). It’s bent toward eschatology, shadowed by death, obsessed with endings. And he sounds tired, too, every song flying a flag of surrender. “I wish there was a treaty we could sign,” he sighs on one song. “I’m leaving the table,” he declares on another. “I’m out of the game.”

So why is it that You Want It Darker feels like the hippest, most vibrant Leonard Cohen album in ages? Maybe it’s because it’s the best sounding record he’s made in quite some time, thanks in part to the production work of his son, Adam Cohen. You can still hear the organ hum on “If I Didn’t Have Your Love,” and the title cut rides atop a steely Casio groove, but by and large the chintzy keyboard productions he’s favored for so long are gone here, replaced by acoustic guitar and piano, and, on “Steer Your Way,” a particularly eloquent string arrangement. The female soul singers who have carried his melodies since Ten New Songs are dialed back as well, though there’s a monastic choir that shows up here and there to add gravitas. Not that it’s needed: Cohen has rarely inhabited his songs with greater authority. He was confined to a stiff chair during the album’s recording, in pain from a back injury, and maybe the change in posture forced him to summon fire from deep in his belly; whatever the reason, his sonorous baritone is magnificent here, and the cracks in his voice are as telling as the details in the lyrics.

The songs themselves are—to paraphrase Flannery O’Connor—God-haunted, if not exactly God-centered. “You Want It Darker” uses the imagery of a suffering servant, central to Christianity but rooted in Judaism, and the very next song has water turning into wine (and then back again). There are betrayals and reconciliations between lovers who always come to the end of their journeys with deep scars and—in some cases—a sense of peace. Whether some of these lovers might be God himself is a perfectly reasonable question to raise, though Cohen’s lyrics are cagey and coy. “They ought to give my heart a medal for letting go of you / When I turned my back on the devil, I turned my back on the angel, too,” he sings, invoking his stint in an ascetic Buddhist monastery in a way that suggests regret over abandoning the sensual pleasures of this world. At eighty-two, maybe Cohen’s suddenly not so sure if Heaven’s everything it’s cracked up to be.

The record is only nine songs long, and one of those is a string reprise of an earlier tune, but You Want It Darker is as deep as it is compact. “It Seemed the Better Way” is ghostly and minimal, haunted by crumbling ideals: “Seemed the better way / When first I heard him speak / Now it’s much too late / To turn the other cheek.” “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” is a midnight lament rendered in disarmingly simple language. And “Steer Your Way” winds through the garden of good and evil like it’s a sister song to Dylan’s “Ain’t Talkin.’” Be careful, it seems to say. This world is full of goodness—but it’s getting darker all the time.
I completely agree with this review.
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby jarkko » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:32 pm

I have opened a new thread for Darker interviews and reviews in media: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=36877

This thread is already quite long, so splitting the topics makes it a bit e3asier to find what you're looking for.
(This editing will take a while)
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emaspac
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby emaspac » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:39 pm

swisschris wrote:
emaspac wrote:
Bennyboy wrote: Cheers mate.

Anyone know exactly which of the songs were written and produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson on the album? I wonder how many came out of the Popular Problems sessions....
no, I don't know the songs.
1. 4. 6. and 7 could be produced by Patrick Leonard and Sharon Robinson, if I had to guess.
I'm curious...
Patrick Leonard produced "Treaty", "If I didn't have your love" and "String Reprise/Treaty".
Adam Cohen produced the rest of the songs
You want it darker: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard
Treaty: Words and Music Leonard Cohen
On the Level: Words Leonard Cohen, music Sharon Robinson
Leaving the Table: Words and music Leonard Cohen
If I didn't have your love: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard
Traveling Light: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard and Adam Cohen
It seemed the better way: Words Leonard Cohen, music Patrick Leonard
Steer your way: Words and music Leonard Cohen
String Reprise/Treaty: Words and music Leonard Cohen ( strings composed and conducted by Patrick Leonard)
By the way:
Backing vocals on "On the Level": Dana Glover
Backing vocals on Traveling Light: Athena Andreadis
Backing vocals on Steer your way: Dana Glover and Alison Krauss!
thank you so much for the production details.
my two preferred tracks of the album (treaty & steer your way) are written, composed and sung by Leonard.
may be they had been recorded in the past?
actually I found the Leonard's voice in those two tracks just a bit different from the rest, i.e. more articulated.
two amazing and beautiful tracks, in my opinion.
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby JudasPriest » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:26 pm

Steer Your Way as a sister song to Dylan's Ain't Talkin'... I like that.
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby Goldin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:08 pm

You Want It Darker (song) credits: https://www.discogs.com/Leonard-Cohen-Y ... se/9101509
Arranged By – Adam Cohen, Conor O'Neil, Roï Azoulay
Choir – Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir
Composed By, Organ – Leonard Patrick
Conductor – Roï Azoulay
Drums – Rob Humphreys
Engineer [Recording Engineer] – Bill Botrell, Howard Bilerman, Michael Chaves
Keyboards – Michael Chaves, Leonard Patrick
Lyrics By – Leonard Cohen
Mixed By – Michael Chaves
Organ – Neil Larsen
Producer – Adam Cohen
Soloist – Cantor Gideon Y. Zelermyer
Additionally, both front and back covers of the album: https://www.discogs.com/Leonard-Cohen-Y ... se/9216991
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Re: New Album announced: 'You Want It Darker'

Postby gretabertella » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:27 am

yopietro wrote:From the title track to this last verse, the question of faith on this album seems to be conveyed from quite a different place than that from which Leonard sang on If It Be Your Will or Hallelujah.
That's exactly what I meant.
I'm not quite sure that's a faith issue. I don't think he lost his faith [in God, Life, Love, whatever: I have no name for it, as Faust says]. I think Leonard is just looking at God from a different point of view now. Like he could finally forgive himself and find God within himself.
That's why - I think, there are so many references to Christ throughout the album. LC has always liked Jesus, but this time, well, he likes him more...
I also think that in It Seemed The Better Way, Christ himself is talking (or, better, thinking), while praying with the Apostles during the last supper. And who's Christ? A man; who has the divine within himself but, at the same time, who has to die. Such as to say a man who believes but who's still a man and doesn't want to die. But to believe means to accept the truth of your own death. So, Christ is a contradiction [a paradox]. We all are.

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