Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

This section is dedicated to the new studio album and the Dublin concert video
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peter danielsen
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby peter danielsen » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:08 pm

...on the other hand Im listening to Old Ideas again today, and I take it all back...
...I ..... .... ....... made . ..... ...... by ....... music .. ..... .. ......
MarieJolie
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby MarieJolie » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:45 pm

Thanks a lot, Jarkko, I'll never stop learning on this Forum!

And what about "though" in place of "so"?

Furthermore, I understand "The Blues" is depression: in your opinion does he mention the individual one he experienced or a sort of "cosmic" depression in nowadays' scenario?
jarkko wrote:G-d is the way to write God. There is a whole thread about this at viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35102&hilit=Write+g+d
Abiguity
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Abiguity » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:40 pm

MarieJolie wrote:Thanks a lot, Jarkko, I'll never stop learning on this Forum!

And what about "though" in place of "so"?

Furthermore, I understand "The Blues" is depression: in your opinion does he mention the individual one he experienced or a sort of "cosmic" depression in nowadays' scenario?
jarkko wrote:G-d is the way to write God. There is a whole thread about this at viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35102&hilit=Write+g+d
I'm not sure what he means by " the blues". If he means depression then why does he mention it in the end next to salvation?
Abiguity
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Abiguity » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:41 pm

Also, I've trying to decipher the lyrics all day.
Especially the last paragraph.

"There is no G-d in heaven
There is no hell below
So says the great professor
of all there is to know

But I’ve had the invitation
that a sinner can’t refuse
It’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues
It’s almost like the blues"



What does he mean by "ive had the invitation that a sinner cant refuse"
RainDog1980
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby RainDog1980 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:16 pm

Mabeanie1 wrote:
peter danielsen wrote: I dont really understand why some of the fine muscians from the tours is no invited.

Peter
Surely it's a question of practicalities as much as anything else. The members of the band are scattered all over the world, with their own diary and life commitments and it would be almost like organising a tour to get them together. This would of course have delayed the album's release and I suppose Leonard feels more urgency to get things done as he approaches his 80th birthday than he did earlier in his career. Alternatively you would have had different electronic files whizzing their way around the world with delays if Leonard wants something played a different way so it all has to be done again. Then someone has to put everything together in the studio .... No, much easier for Leonard to do his own thing at home or in a nearby studio, just calling in local friends to play as needed. Alex of course is the exception but it would not have been too hard to get just one person to add their parts via electronic files, assuming of course that this is how it was done.

Wendy
With today's recording technology, it would be very easy for parts to be recorded and sent. Then it is simply loaded into something as easy to use as GarageBand or ProTools and mix it.

I agree that the production has tended to suffer. Even Old Ideas, which had a number of good tracks, was at times held back by production (Anyhow, for example). All of Cohen's songs benefit in a live setting.

Since TNS, it seems to be an artistic choice to use more sparse/electronic production, more than anything to do with practicality or time/costs.
holydove
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby holydove » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:27 pm

RainDog1980 wrote:
I agree that the production has tended to suffer. Even Old Ideas, which had a number of good tracks, was at times held back by production (Anyhow, for example). All of Cohen's songs benefit in a live setting.

Since TNS, it seems to be an artistic choice to use more sparse/electronic production, more than anything to do with practicality or time/costs.
I agree that it has more to do with artistic choice than anything else, but it goes back much further than TNS. Most, if not all, of Leonard's albums (with the possible exception of some tracks here & there) are more sparse than his live performances (he has even said he wanted his first album to be more sparse, but John Simon did not abide by that wish). Songs From A Room, Songs of Love & Hate, Recent Songs, Various Positions, etc. - all pretty sparse. I believe the difference is totally deliberate, & the intention is for a different kind of experience, with the studio albums allowing for a more studied, meditative type of experience, whereas in live performance the intention is for a more upbeat, fiery, excited type of experience. I think it speaks to Leonard's wonderful creativity, that he can perform the same songs in such different ways, at different times & for different purposes, & I cherish both types of experience, & I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience the songs in those different ways. I understand that some people prefer the more upbeat, excited type of experience, but that's a matter of preference. Personally, I love both types of experience, & I don't think anything has suffered, or been held back, by the sparseness of any production.
hadley
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby hadley » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:29 pm

Abiguity wrote:
I'm not sure what he means by " the blues". If he means depression then why does he mention it in the end next to salvation?
I think he's just talking about the kind of everyday moans we all have which give us the 'blues' and which pale in comparison to the kind of 'real' problems he mentions in the song, rape, murder, war etc. I think the song is generally a reminder how good most of us have things most of the time
yopietro
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby yopietro » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:40 pm

Abiguity wrote:Also, I've trying to decipher the lyrics all day.
Especially the last paragraph.

"There is no G-d in heaven
There is no hell below
So says the great professor
of all there is to know

But I’ve had the invitation
that a sinner can’t refuse
It’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues
It’s almost like the blues"

What does he mean by "ive had the invitation that a sinner cant refuse"
My initial interpretation: "The invitation that a sinner can't refuse" is a wonderful line in the context of this verse. He is responding to the "great professor's" denial of the existence of both G-d and hell. What makes the line so powerful is its ambiguity. Because the sinner may have been invited by G-d to be redeemed. But the sinner may also have been invited to give into some kind of powerful temptation from the darker forces at work (of "hell"). The redemption from above and the temptation from below can both present themselves as some kind of salvation in the moment. But either way you take it, the invitation itself is a rebuke to the great professor's denial of metaphysical/spiritual forces at work in the world and within us.
Last edited by yopietro on Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Zimmy66
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Zimmy66 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:44 pm

Mabeanie1 wrote:
peter danielsen wrote: I dont really understand why some of the fine muscians from the tours is no invited.

Peter
Surely it's a question of practicalities as much as anything else. The members of the band are scattered all over the world, with their own diary and life commitments and it would be almost like organising a tour to get them together. This would of course have delayed the album's release and I suppose Leonard feels more urgency to get things done as he approaches his 80th birthday than he did earlier in his career. Alternatively you would have had different electronic files whizzing their way around the world with delays if Leonard wants something played a different way so it all has to be done again. Then someone has to put everything together in the studio .... No, much easier for Leonard to do his own thing at home or in a nearby studio, just calling in local friends to play as needed. Alex of course is the exception but it would not have been too hard to get just one person to add their parts via electronic files, assuming of course that this is how it was done.

Wendy
Couldn't agree more Wendy re the delay in release date due to 'getting everyone together'. And I appreciate that this snippet is just one track. But it's awful. For six years we've all (Leonard included) have soaked up the professional support he garnered to put on all the concerts. Why not harness that professionism and perfection?

Had Leonard rolled up in 2008 and presented us with this - would 2013 Old Ideas gone ahead? I doubt it.

Apologies, but I was expecting so much more. Doesn't detract from my previous 40+ years enjoyment of Leonard's work.

R
To live outside the law you must be honest
astranger
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby astranger » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:54 pm

I'm loving this song. The mood is loungy and dark and his delivery is intense. A lot of people compare Leonard with Tom Waits because they're both old and have gravely voices; stylistically they really don't sound like each other. This song, however, has a strong Tom Waits-y vibe and I think it's great. The lyrics are among his best. I can't wait to hear A Street and Never mind, which are two of my favorite poems. Looking forward to Born in Chains and My Oh My as well. I have a strong feeling this will be another astonishing album.
Jake.........Durham, NC 11-3-09; Brooklyn, NY 12-20-12
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Zimmy66
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Zimmy66 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:54 pm

astranger wrote:I'm loving this song. The mood is loungy and dark and his delivery is intense. A lot of people compare Leonard with Tom Waits because they're both old and have gravely voices; stylistically they really don't sound like each other. This song, however, has a strong Tom Waits-y vibe and I think it's great. The lyrics are among his best. I can't wait to hear A Street and Never mind, which are two of my favorite poems. Looking forward to Born in Chains and My Oh My as well. I have a strong feeling this will be another astonishing album.
Doesn't compare to Waits at all. We know what to expect from Tom.
As I said in a previous post, the lyrics (poetry/prose) are fabulous.Why discard (cast off) the current winning formula. (touring musicians) There would be no discussion here were it not for them. Sorry, but that's the truth.
This track is very poor.

Live gigs/ studio albums? Same musicians. Works for Bob. :-/

Robert
To live outside the law you must be honest
MarieJolie
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby MarieJolie » Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:00 pm

my attempt: maybe it is a parallel theme to the one developed in Going Home, the "invitation" is his feeling to be close to the end, thus getting free of the burden, the costume, the sorrow....might this be the aim of depressed people?
Abiguity wrote:Also, I've trying to decipher the lyrics all day.
Especially the last paragraph.

"There is no G-d in heaven
There is no hell below
So says the great professor
of all there is to know

But I’ve had the invitation
that a sinner can’t refuse
It’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues
It’s almost like the blues"



What does he mean by "ive had the invitation that a sinner cant refuse"
scocoh
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby scocoh » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:02 am

Mabeanie1 wrote:
peter danielsen wrote: I dont really understand why some of the fine muscians from the tours is no invited.

Peter
Surely it's a question of practicalities as much as anything else. The members of the band are scattered all over the world, with their own diary and life commitments and it would be almost like organising a tour to get them together. This would of course have delayed the album's release and I suppose Leonard feels more urgency to get things done as he approaches his 80th birthday than he did earlier in his career. Alternatively you would have had different electronic files whizzing their way around the world with delays if Leonard wants something played a different way so it all has to be done again. Then someone has to put everything together in the studio .... No, much easier for Leonard to do his own thing at home or in a nearby studio, just calling in local friends to play as needed. Alex of course is the exception but it would not have been too hard to get just one person to add their parts via electronic files, assuming of course that this is how it was done.
It comes down to practicality. It just doesn't make sense to try to get all those players to contribute. They all have their own projects/jobs/lives going, and if they tour in 2015 they will be putting all of that on hold again.

Generally, there are two types of musicians on a project-- those who help with the direction and those who are hired mostly to provide some particular instrument or voice etc. Why bring Neil or Rafael or whomever in, taking them away from their regular lives, if you aren't going to use them to develop the project? A project like that takes weeks or months. L.A. probably has the most musical talent available for hire in the world. Patrick Leonard probably personally knows almost every top musician in town. There should be zero worry about the musicianship etc. Does anyone ever worry now about 'Come Healing' not being sung by the Webbs on OI?

By all accounts, Leonard knows what he wants musically and gets it. And Patrick Leonard is a top producer. In the end--- PPs sound and direction is what Leonard's and P. Leonard wanted.
southcoasting
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby southcoasting » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:08 am

I've been struggling with the last verse, but my interpretation is that it reflects the coming of death -
...There is no G-d in Heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I've had the invitation
That a sinner can't refuse
And it's almost like salvation
It's almost like the blues
Learned men claim there is no G-d, no heaven, no hell (was the 'learned man' John Lennon cf Imagine?)
but Leonard's growing old, and old age presents the invitation (to die, as aging brings you closer to death),
and no sinner can refuse it, but we're all sinners and of course no-one can refuse death,
so I guess he's implying the inevitability makes it feel like salvation
and maybe like the blues.

But what i am unsure about is his position in reference to all the pain and suffering in the world he relates in the rest of the song.
Does death absolve him from caring too much? Or is he drawing a comparison between the blues of inevitable death and the blues from the less inevitable suffering caused by man's inhumanity to man?

I do not know.
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Susy
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Susy » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:22 am

... not very sure , wasen't it Sir Roshi who said / or write
* There is no heaven and there is no hell * !
...can't remember where I read it , but he is true ....
and I Love this new song ! Thank You Leonard !!!
Susanne
Susy

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