Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

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

Postby Santipab » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:33 am

Susy wrote:... 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
It's quite similar to John Lennon...

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today..."
RainDog1980
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby RainDog1980 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:05 am

holydove wrote:
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.
I definitely agree with the studio recordings being more laid back and sparse than the live recordings… and I actually much prefer his early material the way it was recorded. But as his voice aged, I'm Your Man and The Future in particular, had much more robust instrumentation than what followed.

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike LC's studio recordings, but to use my example from Old Ideas, "Anyhow" could have benefited from a live drummer, rather than the electronic shaker that was almost identical to what we heard on "Going Home". It is a pretty jazz infused song, and feel it really would have been a stand out track with the drumming to accompany it (some brushes and a few well placed toms).

His earlier albums were sparse, but organically so. That is what I feel is missing on the most recent output. But then again, there are songs like "Amen" that just take my breath away, and that is all programmed, save for the violin.
yopietro
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby yopietro » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:45 am

I remember when I first heard Ten New Songs, I couldn't get past the drum machines. I was put off by them, thinking to myself..."Why not just get a real drummer?? Why all the synths??!" But then, I suppose I surrendered to the sound and fell in love in the album. Which I now think is a masterpiece.
Perhaps the electronic programming of recent LC albums is a very deliberate choice in terms of trying to create a juxtaposition between the digital increasingly less organic world we are living in and Cohen's very human voice that contains the wisdom and experience of a very human life. And I think it works. The electronic programmed instruments are severe and metronomic. And Cohen's voice is the opposite of that kind of rigid perfection. And it's in that tension between the machine and the man through which these songs are conveyed. And which convey the peculiar tension of all of us living in this so-called Digital Age.
Maybe that's what the production choices are all about on these recent albums. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that...
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby username » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:05 am

The thing is, digital instrumentation can be done well, only problem is Leonard's Casio is from a flea market sale out of the 80s. His sounds sound like 1980s midi file karaoke. I am not advocating upbeat music, or super glossy production. He can do digital music for all I care, but he needs to modernize his sound palette a little. I don't want to be mean, but I think if I was the producer of that track i would be embarrassed. Who would hire Patrick Leonard as a producer after hearing that track? Let's be honest.
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Henning
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Henning » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:33 pm

Here he's making up
His mind about the clouds
If we go any further
He surely had his doubts
He got the invitation
That a singer can't refuse
He's offering a station
a harbour for the blues
IT'S DARKER NOW
1979: Frankfurt | 1980: Frankfurt | 1985: Wiesbaden - Munich | 1988: Munich - Nuremberg | 1993: Frankfurt
2008: Dublin - Manchester - Amsterdam - Loerrach - Berlin - Frankfurt - Oberhausen - London
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hadley
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby hadley » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:48 pm

Abiguity wrote:
"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"
I think this refers to the invitation to look into the direct nature of experience itself (as opposed to looking for to heaven and hell and stories we've been told) and how much separation there truly is between the 'me' and the 'rest of the world', particularly with regards to the extent to which we have free will. For any 'sinner' (of which we all are) a great burden of guilt (for one's own actions) and hatred (for other's actions) is lifted if it is realised how little (if any) free will an 'individual' has, which is "almost like salvation" for the sinner. The teachings of Ramesh Balsekar, who Leonard studied with, is all about this, and Leonard himself has said that free will is 'exagerrated'. This state now is 'almost like salvation' (which itself is just a concept and widely misunderstood) is also 'almost like the blues' as one who has come to this understanding lives in an environment which is essentially not altogether different from the place lived in before, regardless of any grand expectations of what 'enlightenment' may constitute.

I think the use of the word invitation might be confusing to some people, but I think it's there as much as anything else due to the fact that it (almost) rhymes with salvation.
Tchocolatl
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Tchocolatl » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:36 pm

yopietro wrote:
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.
It feels like somebody read my mind.

I would also say about the invitation, because Leonard Cohen is Leonard Cohen, it could be erotic love. With the heaven above and certainly there is an almighty G_d there with an indestructible army, a choir of angels, and its almost like salvation because it is, for sure, but not for eternity, and the hell below, yes, and how we can be blind to the macrocosme (for the better or for the worst, it depends) when strong emotions in the private life shake us like if... we are so small against the stars? Let say like this.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
Tchocolatl
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Re: Listen to new Leonard Cohen song

Postby Tchocolatl » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:13 pm

JudasPriest wrote:Mmm...I like the clip. A few cracked vocals but they don't really hinder it at all and a more hardened edge to the sound and vibe than Old Ideas. I was reminded a little of The Future thematically although having now read the last verse, there is clearly a more hopeful pledge of faith in there.
The interpretation of this song is perfectly tuned with the subject (which is THE quality of a good song). Don't say it show it. Although the lyrics in themselves are perfectly little crafted jewels. The sound of the song tells the story alone.

This is a blessing to have such an artist around.

The light is constantly flooding from there, it is blinding. It always feel supranormal to me.

Such a monster.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
RainDog1980
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby RainDog1980 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:23 pm

yopietro wrote:I remember when I first heard Ten New Songs, I couldn't get past the drum machines. I was put off by them, thinking to myself..."Why not just get a real drummer?? Why all the synths??!" But then, I suppose I surrendered to the sound and fell in love in the album. Which I now think is a masterpiece.
Perhaps the electronic programming of recent LC albums is a very deliberate choice in terms of trying to create a juxtaposition between the digital increasingly less organic world we are living in and Cohen's very human voice that contains the wisdom and experience of a very human life. And I think it works. The electronic programmed instruments are severe and metronomic. And Cohen's voice is the opposite of that kind of rigid perfection. And it's in that tension between the machine and the man through which these songs are conveyed. And which convey the peculiar tension of all of us living in this so-called Digital Age.
Maybe that's what the production choices are all about on these recent albums. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that...
This has been discussed before, and I do think there is a case for this. I do not believe it has anything to do with costs/logisitics/etc. Because if Cohen was looking for a live rhythm section, I can only imagine that thousands of local or renowned musicians would lend their talents in a heartbeat. This is a man that is measured in every word he writes, I believe his choices in production are given the same consideration.
username wrote:The thing is, digital instrumentation can be done well, only problem is Leonard's Casio is from a flea market sale out of the 80s. His sounds sound like 1980s midi file karaoke. I am not advocating upbeat music, or super glossy production. He can do digital music for all I care, but he needs to modernize his sound palette a little. I don't want to be mean, but I think if I was the producer of that track i would be embarrassed. Who would hire Patrick Leonard as a producer after hearing that track? Let's be honest.
I agree the sounds are a bit outdated, but I don't think so on this particular track. Compare this to the production on "Show Me The Place", which is entirely organic and lush. Can't all fall on Patrick Leonard's shoulders.
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Hartmut
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Hartmut » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:46 pm

Susy wrote:... 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 ....
Maybe you were thinking of this:

"There's no one going to Heaven
and there's no one left in Hell"

from
"ROSHI AT 89"
http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/roshi89.html
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MarieM
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby MarieM » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:37 pm

RainDog1980 wrote:This has been discussed before, and I do think there is a case for this. I do not believe it has anything to do with costs/logisitics/etc. Because if Cohen was looking for a live rhythm section, I can only imagine that thousands of local or renowned musicians would lend their talents in a heartbeat. This is a man that is measured in every word he writes, I believe his choices in production are given the same consideration.
I completely agree. I think renowned, great musicians would love to JAM with Leonard on his songs and that's what you would expect when renowned, great musicians are involved. This is something Leonard has talked about in the past. Musicians do what musicians do, they want to play, expand the sound, layer the sound. And Leonard wants to showcase the words. Personally, I think the sound on this particular song has been purposely sweetened, as compared to what we heard on Old Ideas, because the message of the song is about murder and rape, torture and killing. The sound is well considered and a purposeful choice.
Marie
Speaking Cohen

http://www.speakingcohen.com
Tchocolatl
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Tchocolatl » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:21 pm

I just heard it on the radio. Just now. (Wow!) There is definitly something of By The Rivers Dark in the music. In it.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
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Cheshire gal
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Cheshire gal » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:47 pm

I love this song. The lyrics are truly Leonard at his best and I really like the music. I'm happy. :D :D
Cannot wait to hear the whole album. Leonard Cohen never disappoints.
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
tularosa
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby tularosa » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:21 pm

I agree with MarieM. This poem/song is an admission of failure. Ours. Nothing to add for me. LC is a great poet.
"J'écris à cause de tant d'amour et tant de douleur" (Jacques Bertin)
"I write because of so much love and so much pain"
Tchocolatl
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Re: Listen to "Almost Like The Blues"

Postby Tchocolatl » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:05 pm

MarieJolie wrote: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?
I feel it is both and that includes the musical genre. More precisely the music genre includes both.
The term may have come from the term "blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness; (...) In lyrics the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood.
One alternative explanation for the origin of the "blues" is that it derived from mysticism involving blue indigo, which was used by many West African cultures in death and mourning ceremonies where all the mourner's garments would have been dyed blue to indicate suffering.[citation needed] This mystical association towards the indigo plant, grown in many southern U.S. slave plantations, combined with the West African slaves who sang of their suffering as they worked on the cotton that the indigo dyed eventually resulted in these expressed songs being known as "the Blues
Early blues frequently took the form of a loose narrative. The singer voiced his or her "personal woes in a world of harsh reality

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers

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