The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) w/ LYRICS

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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby tomsakic » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:00 pm

Hahaha, Ken;)

John: I agree with Jim. I noted in my post with soundcheck & show setlist that The Darkness is blues which reminds me on Billy Sunday, and indeed Leonard used such songs for his soundchecks... When he was singing it, I even had a thought that it's maybe a cover of Dylan or simply based on some blues standard, and that it's only-soundcheck song for playing around. In any case, it reminded me on Dylan in a way that for Dylan it's usual to use traditional and blues patterns for his new songs, while Leonard did that rarely (if ever; maybe The Faith, but that's direct use of melody, not of the musical structures of Smithsonian Folkways collections), so in such way it's Dylanesque. I don't know are shorter lines (quite unusual for Cohen's songs) result of blues pattern, but the way of delivery and structures of lines did call Dylan to mind - but again, maybe that's just the blues style in general.

Now, will this song remain only sound check material, I don't know. Bob Metzger clearly said to Jarkko it's a blues work in progress, and Leonard, when asked about the new song backstage, repeated that, saying "no title, still in progress". I think he finds the song very funny.

Now, the next album: according to recent rumours that Leonard and the band will not go to the studio after the tour, but to a vacation and to their families (well, it will be 18 months of touring), and the fact that SonyBMG sites removed "Leonard Cohen: TBA album" from all their forthcoming-titles lists (where it was listed since Remasters series in 2007), I guess the album will be another slow work. In April Leonard admitted he has only couple of songs, Amen and Lullaby. Did he forget about Book of Longing and Puppets? Maybe yes: because those two tracks were computer-produced, while in all recent interviews he announced that he will record the album with the current tour band. On the other hand, Sharon said clearly that the album is coming up (slowly) and that she knows that as she was involved in some songs. I firmly believe those are the songs she mentioned in her 2004 interview for our sites, one of the titles being "A Thousand Kisses Deep No. 2" (but then, Leonard used those words for "Recitation w/ N.L."). According to the early draft of Book of Longing, which was given around as PDF/print out, that song - printed in the final version of Book of Longing as "1" under "Thousand Kisses Deep" - was titled "Still Into That".

My list of works-in-progress, 2004-2009:

1. Still Into That (A Thousand Kisses Deep No. 2), with Sharon Robinson, in production after Dear Heather
[plus another song or two produced and co-written by Sharon]

2. "Taken Out Of Egypt": the original version of "I Can't Forget", discarded in 1987-88. Also titled at one point as "Born in Chains".
"[...] that song started off as a song about the exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt. As a metaphor for the journey of the soul from bondage into freedom. It started out, I was born in chains but I was taken out of Egypt / I was bound to a burden but the burden it was raised / Lord I can no longer keep this secret / Blessed is the name, the name be praised. It went on like that for a long, long time, and I went into the studio and tried to sing this song about how "I was born in chains and I was taken..." But I wasn't born in chains and I wasn't taken out of Egypt, and not only that, but I was on the edge of what was going to become a very serious nervous breakdown. So I hadn't had the burden lifted and the whole thing was a lie! It was wishful thinking. And this song, "Taken Out of Egypt," took months and months to write. Nobody believes me when I say these things but I have the notebooks and I don't fill them in an evening. And there were many of them. So it wasn't as if I had an endless supply of songs: I had to start over. And I was saying to myself, "What is my life?" and that's when I started writing that lyric: I stumble out of bed / I got ready for the struggle / I smoked a cigarette / And I tightened up my gut / I said this can't be me / Must be my double / And I can't forget / I can't forget / But I don't remember what. That was really true."
(Leonard Cohen, interviewed by Mark Rowland, "Leonard Cohen's Nervous Breakthrough", Musician, July 1988.

Source: ... ttakes.htm
I clearly heard Leonard mumbling these lines "I was born in chains" etc. to the unknown melody in Lian Lunson's 2005 documentary Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man. At that point I firmly believed he's gone back to that song.

3. Book of Longing, demo aired at KCRW in 2006

4. Puppets, demo aired at KCRW in 2006

5. The Street, recited live in 2006, according to Leonard in an interview: music co-written by Anjani Thomas

6. Blue Alert, Leonard's own version, demo discarded after he heard Anjani's version and then given to her for her album. This song is probably discarded forever, although I'd like to hear Leonard performing the version from Anjani's album (her music) as it's an excellent song for his voice.

Appendix about Leonard going back to decades old songs: Undertow, from 2004' Dear Heather, was written down on Closing Time manuscripts dated around 1990-91, on the margins of the notebooks (check viewtopic.php?p=44013#p44013); Never Got To Love You, written in 2004-05 for Anjani's Blue Alert, is in fact new version of the original, slow-ballad version of Leonard's own 1992 song Closing Time.
[Closing Time] Recorded "in 3/4 time with a really strong, nostalgic, melancholy country feel. Entirely different words." (Paul Zollo, "Leonard Cohen: Inside the Tower of Song", Song talk, April 1993). Takes have been destroyed by Cohen and he starts a new version (lyrics & music) in March 1992 (Ira B. Nadel, Leonard Cohen: le canadien errant (Various Positions), 1997: 327).
Source: ... ttakes.htm
"On the song "Closing Time", from The Future, we had a gorgeous track that we worked on for quite a while. We brought in new musicians and did overdubs; a great arrangement that I was absolutely in love with. And Leonard said: "Darling it's not working." So he disappeared for a week, played into his synthesizer at a much brighter tempo with new lyrics - it was almost another song. The "new" version on the song was great hit for him in Canada". (Leanne Ungar, interviewed by Mel Lambert, INSIGHTS: Leanne Ungar, April 2001).
Source: ... ttakes.htm
7. Lullaby, performed live in 2009

8. Amen, mentioned in 2009 interviews as "finished"

9. untitled blues, provisionally titled by fans The Darkness, performed in Venice, August 2009, at the soundcheck
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby jim devlin » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:12 am

a brilliant piece of research there to illuminate the darkness [though i might prefer the Harry Potteresque sort-of-'Invisibility Cloak'] surrounding Leonard's several as yet un-veiled & -finished recent [??!] songs. my comment to John was off-the-cuff - i'd only heard it once: mind you the reference/similarity to Billy Sunday certainly rings true; it would be hard to imagine a Blues on a Leonard Cohen album, but there again: 'The Future' and 'Dear Heather' collections did break new ground in their time with the wide variety of material.
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby tomsakic » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:13 am

Copying from Venice report thread:
Relate wrote:
Tom and others:

here is my recording of the new song:

I will upload other tracks from the sound check soon.
Complete song!
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby John Etherington » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:35 am

Since "Oh Mercy" correlated roughly with Dylan's twenty year tour, the onset of "The Darkness" could be a good omen!

"Ring them bells for those of us left", John E

P.S. Appropriately the new song was posted here on the day of an eclipse.
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby mr.midnight » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:42 am

This is a great new song! He's still got it!
Sounds like he went back a few years or so, like a person a bit younger than he is singing it, playing it and wrote it.
I have always enjoyed the 'darkness' in Leonard's songs.

"So the great affair is over but whoever would have guessed
it would leave us all so vacant and so deeply unimpressed."
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby mutti » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:02 am

I liked it...thanks for posting this...and so beautiful with the bell at the end...
what a delight to hear Leonard singing a new song (work in progress).
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby Bhasi » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:28 am

Yes, it's great to have this and I hope it gets recorded before too long. The almost throwaway reference to his own mortality sits well with this tale of sexual and emotional politicking and the bluesy drive. No question: this man is still a contender, and not only in the world of art! It kind of reminded me of Lucinda Williams's better stuff, like her Car Wheels on a Gravel Drive album, with deceptively simple words used to great effect, obviously very finely crafted. The idiom seems to fit him perfectly, too, no shades at all of the awkwardness of 'the white man dancing'! The blues really is a timeless tradition.

Thanks, Maarten and Tom, for making this available.
Last edited by Bhasi on Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby merton » Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:00 pm

Hi John and Tom,

Oh Mercy came to mind for me as I listened and Dylan influences are there, I think. Tapping in to what others have written it seems like a lyric written years ago during a dark period in his life and now returned to with a clearer view? An acceptance of sorts? Is it a poem set to music - the sentence structure is short as you said Tom and unusual in that for a song.
But where did the blues rhythm come from? Atmospheric ,full and almost menacing. It's a bolt out of the blue in terms of Leonard's work.
Tom, congratulations on great research. It is good to witness this. Could you send a copy of Marco's video. What's a wav? Would I need some sprcial technology to view it?
I know I'm completely off here but when I listen to the sound check I can't help but hearthe sound from some tracks on the studio version of Neil Young's 1988 album This Notes for you. I haven't got that album anymore to say anything else.("Listen better"! whispered Vasudeva)

Once again, thank you for the posting and John et al for the great insights.

Long may you run Leonard.

All the best,
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby Bill's Bar » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:24 pm

Yeah Dylan came to my mind as well. It reminded me of some of the bleaker stuff on "Time out of mind " as well as " Oh mercy".
The darkness of the lyrics doesn't seem to reflect Leonard's current state of mind. A forum member who met him in Belfast reported how he said he was "looking forward to being 80 so I can start smoking again" and that he never felt better, so it would be interesting to discover where the inspiration for the song came from.
Last edited by Bill's Bar on Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby Evie B » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:14 pm

I have been surprised that anyone would think Dylan would influence Leonard in writing any song. I am not trying to detract from Dylan in any way - he is brilliant and I have always loved his music - I just don't see it happening. Can anyone think of any song Leonard has written where he has said he was influenced by somebody else's. His influences seem restricted to people he has collaborated with, for instance Sharon Robinson and (unfortunately) Anjani? My impression is that if he did recognise an influence of another's style, he would be more likely to abandon or change it. Please correct me if you think I am wrong, I would enjoy hearing others' views on this.

As it's a work-in-progress he may even drop the blues flavouring, we shall see. It has some great words, doesn't it? I wonder if the sticky little 'buns' (what it sounds like to me) is Leonard being playful with us all!

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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby B4real » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:42 pm

Ah! Something new to enjoy :) I love Bob's "nobbly knees" :razz: Thanks for sharing.
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby liverpoolken » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:14 pm

Bill's Bar wrote:bleaker stuff on "Time out of mi[*][*]nd ". .

We fans of the Master prefer the word 'introspective' rather than bleak :-)

Bleak was the sight that you and I saw through the window of the l’Olandese Volante before heading over to the concert.

As you know I wanted to bring all my heavy weather clothing but was dissuaded from doing so with assurances that any rain that fell would only be a quick shower.

Despite this information being posted up on the forum imagine my surprise by the sight of all our Italian, Dutch, German, Finnish, and Croatian friends leaving the bar and suddenly as if by magic producing umbrellas from their bags.

Then to make matters worse I was shown a text from Henning that said that if any rain fell then let in fall on Ken and not Len.
A big thanks to my saviour my beautiful friend Willy for the poncho......Ta Ken

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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby solongalice » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:13 pm

in italian cause i'm italian
i wanted to reach venice for the soundcheck but i could not. i was there for the rain, there for the real darkness, there for leonard.
so thanks everybody, simply, grazie. for video, for the post, for sharing, for the lyrics.
grazie. :D
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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby Bill's Bar » Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:03 pm

Glad you made it home ok and hope you haven't suffered any ill effects either from the rain, or indeed the poncho. :D
And I'm very impressed with Henning's ability to have his prayers answered by the "Almighty", although I'm sure it wasn't the intention that I'd suffer some collateral damage by being with you. :D

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Re: The Darkness - NEW SONG (work-in-progress) (Venice Aug 3rd)

Postby tinderella » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:53 pm

Wow Maarten. That is amazing! So great to hear him sing a new song.

He still has so much to give, that the chorus lines make me sad.

Thanks a million................ Oh how I wish I could attend a soundcheck.

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