Popular Problems - Album Reviews

This section is dedicated to the new studio album and the Dublin concert video
Tchocolatl
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:57 am

À 80 ans, le chanteur-poète chéri du Tout-Montréal lancera un nouveau disque.
- Le Devoir

http://www.ledevoir.com/motcle/leonard-cohen


Another review (in French) of Popular Problems

http://voir.ca/musique/2014/09/12/leona ... en-errant/

***

Blonde Madonna, I realize now that you were talking about the tour, not the album. If he can not tour on the other side of the world, I mean, where you are (where ever you are). I only can say : dreams come true sometimes.

Jerry, try other translating tools, maybe. Here:

http://www.babelfish.com/

http://www.bing.com/translator/

Or friends.

But a little strange detail in every review, I told you.
***
"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
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MarieM
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby MarieM » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:33 am

Another review (in French) of Popular Problems

http://voir.ca/musique/2014/09/12/leona ... en-errant/
This ended up not being a review but a report of the listening event in LA. The writer managed to get some private minutes with Leonard and asked some interesting questions (or maybe it is just that Leonard had some interesting responses). Anyway, I used a couple of the translation softwares to try to make this article readable.
The return of the wandering Canadian

by André Péloquin, Voir (Canada), September 12, 2014.

Leonard Cohen tackles everyday worries and global disasters in Popular Problems, his latest creation.

The atmosphere is electric in the garden of the official residence of the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles, a few minutes before a listening session of Popular Problems, the new album by Leonard Cohen. Seventy people - some close to the crooner, representatives of his record label, politicians, some American media ... and a journalist from de Voir, completely flabbergasted - there exchanging stories and legends.

Rosalind H. Wolfe, Consulate, said that although the house is often used to celebrate Canadian talent in conjunction with events like the Oscars or the Grammys, the holding of this happening is almost like visiting a old friend. "Leonard is a regular," she says. "Sometimes he would come here to discuss passports and visas before touring. Then he came back to us and have coffee!" Later, a senior Sony rep recalls that before a similar session for Old Ideas (2012), Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine had shown up uninvited, hoping to listen to the work or to meet the man (do not worry, they found a spot him). Alain Houde, a representative of the delegation of the Government of Canada to Los Angeles, for his part, was surprised by the strength of the most famous Montrealers. "I saw him in concert last year. After 45 minutes on stage, he withdrew from the scene. I thought it was normal, that it's an older gentleman and that, anyway, he had already given a very good show. But it was only a short intermission! He finally gave over two hours of delivery. I could not believe it!"

While we were heading for a reception arranged for the event, a question remains: will he be here? Will Leonard Cohen indeed be at the meeting? Yes and no.

Introduced by Consul General James Villeneuve and Bob Santelli, director of the Grammy Museum, Leonard Cohen - dressed to the nines, of course - walked onto the stage by launching a heartfelt "thank you for your warm welcome!" - And in French! - Before a predominantly English and totally amazed public. The poet of poets would then withdraw for a time to listen and then come back to discuss the work in the company of Santelli and more to answer some questions from the audience.

Songs in the works for decades

New collaboration between Cohen and Patrick Leonard (musician and producer who has supported others including Madonna and Elton John), Popular Problems was more like carte blanche than an order to the latter, according to the legend. "I told him to have fun with the compositions," says Cohen. "But, for my part, I also had ideas of rhythms for my texts ... in addition to the veto!" he adds, wry smile. "So the process went like this: Patrick offered me models ... and I refused most of them." The room burst into laughter. "Fortunately, Patrick and I could store our egos for the occasion, so it went well!!"

Work produced by Patrick and at the California home of Mr. Cohen - "We transformed an old garage in my backyard into a studio," he slips in - Popular Problems was recorded quickly (the duo even had the opportunity to capture half of another album coming soon!), but is still linked to some texts that the poet has dragged around for decades. "I was revising A Street, for example, since September 11. Born in Chains, was in the works for 30 to 40 years and has been rewritten especially when I changed my theological position," said the singer became a Jewish Buddhist in 1994 "It's the only song of the lot that is not living up to my expectations," he says. "Rather than having nailed it, I think that I have hung it with a push pin!"

Confidence in private

Like the title of the work, Leonard Cohen casts a wide net with his Popular Problems: love songs (like quasi-folk Did I Ever Love You ) alongside pieces on aging (the amalgam of blues and jazz in Slow is a good example) and polaroids of the current state of the world (the first single Almost Like the Blues comes to mind). "The Popular Problems are problems that affect everyone - otherwise they would not be popular, of course," Mr. Cohen will begin later in a brief private meeting with de Voir. "Death, disease, God, faith, war, peace, etc., just like the hassles of everyday life, never volatilize. Then, as there is no way to solve them, they are problematic.These are our Popular Problems."

Although several media and his record company associate publication of this work to his 80th birthday, Mr. Cohen argued that the sequence of the two events is coincidence. "It was not on purpose, by the way!" He slips in. "Anyway, in my family, we do not take birthdays very seriously. The release of this album is more a celebration than a party, with regard to me!" Although said to be slow by nature and by age in Slow, the legend confirms that the passing years leave him more and more thoughtful. When asked whether this step leads him to take stock, the poet laughs. "Still and despite myself!" Then, pause, and Mr. Cohen sighs. "Eighty years ... it's a number that can not be overlooked. It's a bunch of years! No, it's a mountain, actually. This is so that you can not ignore it!"

Hence, perhaps, his desire to finish his new album starts before hitting the road. "As I have half a new album I actually prefer to finish and then see. I do not yet have any specific plans then, but, one thing is certain, I always like the road." When we turn to his recent concerts run -. Exploits that many of his fellows in their twenties would not dare try - evidenced, the artist says, "A bunch of wimps, this new generation!"

I will return to Montreal

There is a scene in the documentary The Songs of Leonard Cohen (1980) in which the singer plays a demo of his recording of Un Canadien errant by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie. When director Harry Rasky asked if he feels like the exiled hero of the work, Cohen replied: "Somewhat!" Thirty-four years later, the most famous resident Vallières Street in Montreal says more comfortable with his origins. "You know, Canada has been very good to me and I can not measure Montreal with the same measure, because it is home. I did not feel unloved or ignored when I'm there. I just feel ... comfortable. I feel ... like a citizen. I don't have this kind of discussion [if I am always appreciated or not]... I only can't wait to go back." Noting that he still owns his house -" my son uses it a lot also," he slip in - Leonard Cohen concludes: "I am very happy to maintain such a strong connection with the city, because it feeds me. This is where I come from."

Popular Problems will hit stores on September 23 on Sony. The press trip was paid for in part by the record label.
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Tchocolatl
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:03 pm

MarieM wrote:
Another review (in French) of Popular Problems

http://voir.ca/musique/2014/09/12/leona ... en-errant/
This ended up not being a review but a report of the listening event in LA. The writer managed to get some private minutes with Leonard and asked some interesting questions (or maybe it is just that Leonard had some interesting responses). Anyway, I used a couple of the translation softwares to try to make this article readable.
Ah! Now, not being just a review was the "little strange detail". 8) (Surprise!)

I hope that you like it Jerry, though any demolition derby, excuse me, translation roughwares, oups, translation softwares -can do a readable translation in 2014. Better to cultivate friendship for some years to come in that matter. :D

I wish that some skilled English native(s) would smooth the texts for others. If not, I hope you can enjoy yourself anyway. :)
***
"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
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Junk
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Junk » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:00 am

A review by Darryl Sterdan in the Toronto Sun
http://www.torontosun.com/2014/09/11/le ... -new-music


ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Leonard Cohen
Popular Problems

“Slow is in my blood.” So says Leonard Cohen moments into his 13th studio album. To which there is only one fitting response: No duh. If anybody’s been the poster boy for pacing yourself, it’s old Lenny. And lately, he’s also served as living proof that sometimes, slow and steady really do win the race. Look no further than the triumphant late-career resurgence he’s savouring — sold-out tours, chart-topping albums, awards up the wazoo — all thanks inadvertently to a former manager who drained his retirement fund, forcing the septuagenarian singer-songwriter back to work. Lucky for him (and us), it’s turned out to be some of the best work of his career. Picking up where its rapturously received 2012 predecessor Old Ideas left off, Popular Problems — which arrives Sept. 22, one day after the Zen master’s 80th birthday — finds the elder statesman still firing on all cylinders and delivering the goods that have long been in his blood. To wit: It’s another slate of smart, sublime and sometimes hilariously horny song-poems about sex and love, sin and salvation, death and loneliness, war and horror. Or, as Cohen sums it up: “There’s torture and there’s killing, and there’s all my bad reviews … It’s almost like the blues.” Scratch the almost. There’s plenty of blues, along with some soul and R&B, dashes of folk and Americana, a touch of jazz and plenty of gospel. Virtually all of it comes quiet and understated, simple and sparse, built around Cohen’s one-finger keyboard melodies and decorated with little more than basslines, backup vocals, the occasional guitar and some percussion. All the better to hear him with, as he ponders life, puts the moves on you and tosses off one-liners in the unmistakable rumbling thundercloud he still wields like the voice of some randy old god who can’t decide whether to give a sermon or make an obscene call. One minute he’s purring, “All your moves are swift, all your turns are tight. Let me catch my breath — I thought we had all night” or “You put on a uniform to fight the Civil War / You looked so good I didn’t care what side you were fighting for.” The next he’s solemnly proclaiming, “There is no God in heaven, and there is no hell below / So says the great professor of all there is to know” and confessing “I was not caught though many tried / I live among you well disguised / I had to leave my life behind / I dug some graves you’ll never find.” Ultimately, as usual with Cohen, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the redemptive power of love: “You got me singing, even though the world is gone,” he marvels as the disc closes. “You got me thinking that I’d like to carry on.” To which there is only one fitting response: Please make it sooner rather than later.

RATING: 4.5 (out of 5)
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby swisschris » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:37 am

I like the review of Tagesanzeiger.ch: (My review would have been even harsher...)

Excerpts translated from German:

"The only really great song on the album" (Did I ever love you)

"The best what can be said about this song: Without it, the album would have only had 8 songs" (Nevermind)

"Someone should have really arranged and produced the songs. That much money should have been available at Sony, to be able to create
a dignified album for Leonard's 80th birthday".

http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/kultur/pop- ... y/23256758

2008:Lyon July 9th, Lörrach July 25th, Zurich October 25th;
2009: Nimes August 20th;
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2012: Verona September 24th;
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Junk
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Junk » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:15 am

A slightly more favourable review from NPR:
http://www.npr.org/2014/09/15/347480040 ... r-problems
First Listen: Leonard Cohen, 'Popular Problems'
by Ann Powers
September 15, 201412:03 AM ET

Popular Problems
36 min 0 sec
Leonard Cohen is not a man for manifestos. Peripatetic bohemian, Montreal native, Zen meditator, diaspora Jew: Rock's almost-octogenarian philosopher emeritus inhabits identities that are multiple, contested, and resistant to orthodoxy. He is, however, willing to lay some things on the line. "I'm slowing down the tune, I never liked it fast," he intones over a burlesque blues line in the first track on his 13th studio album, Popular Problems. "You want to get there soon; I want to get there last."

The words to "Slow" are vintage Cohen. They describe the way the tarpit-voiced raconteur's songs unfold like dirty canticles, with room for both jokes and profundities. They're also openly erotic and typically self-deprecating: "Let me catch my breath," Cohen murmurs, "I thought we had all night." But, he insists, they don't reflect his age. Shooing off his distracted lover, Cohen argues for slowness as a lifelong predilection that allows him to sit still in time's slipstream. To get there last is to last — to wrestle with impermanence by holding time's hand and calming it down.

Popular Problems flies by, with only nine songs in 36 minutes. Yet the music creates a space for reflection that expands with each listen. Produced by and co-written with Patrick Leonard, known for his work on many of Madonna's best albums, Popular Problems lands musically somewhere between Cohen's synthesizer-heavy excursions of the early 2000s and his wonderfully varied 2012 album Old Ideas. A full band appears in most tracks, but others are just Cohen and Leonard enjoying a dialogue in the studio, augmented by the ubiquitous backing singers who have long represented Cohen's anima and muse.

As he did with Old Ideas, Cohen places his poetry within enriching but unobtrusive frameworks. A Southern-soul-style keyboard line adds grease to "A Street"; "You Got Me Singing," built around Alexandru Bublitchi's honeyed violin playing, has a country feel. The slinky "My Oh My" sounds a bit like Cohen's fellow Canadian, Neil Young. Some songs are spare; none push. Cohen's vocals, mostly recitations but sometimes (as in the hymn-like "Did I Ever Love You") swelling to a full growl, are the life force around which Leonard builds his scene.

The singer's charisma is in fine form as he shares reflections on how shattering yet widely shared external events — popular problems — temper the spirit like heat on cast iron. "Samson In New Orleans" reflects upon Katrina's aftermath, while "A Street" was first written shortly after Sept. 11. "Nevermind," with Arabic-sounding backing vocals from kirtan singer Donna DeLory, speaks of exile and betrayal in wartime. As he often does, Cohen also reaches into sacred texts for inspiration — especially in "Born In Chains," an expansion on Exodus that also reflects his Zen training. The ease which which that song unfolds belies the fact that it took Cohen decades to write.

Cohen's serious subject matter never becomes ponderous — or, heaven forbid, tiresomely topical — because he's always sitting there in the middle of it with his wit, his lusts, and his hard-earned equanimity. Listeners will laugh to hear, in "Almost Like The Blues," that Cohen places "my bad reviews" alongside starvation and torture on his list of earthly burdens. But that's his point: When it comes to living with depth and compassion, we all stumble across this kind of middle way, failing to remain noble but usually trying again. Take it slow, Popular Problems advises. It gives you more of a chance to get things close to right.
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Anne R » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:50 am

1976 Oslo | 1979 Oslo | 1985 Oslo x 2 | 1988 Oslo | 1993 Oslo | 2008 Manchester, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Helsinki | 2009 New York, Langesund, Barcelona | 2010 Oslo, Helsinki, Las Vegas x2 |2012 Helsinki, (Verona)| 2013 Oslo
fusional
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby fusional » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:08 pm

Enjoying this abum.

In particular I don't understand two criticisms:

1) Too much influence from the female vocalists/backing singers. Leonard's always had a pretty bad voice that needs supplementing. As he's gotten older he's become almost completely unable to hold a tune at all. Unless you want a whole album of spoken poetry then it makes perfect sense to have this type of arrangement.

2) The production - again - I don't get all the cries for more live instruments a la the live performances. Live music is performed differently for a reason - you need a fuller, richer sound to fill an arena. Personally I have have no problem with a pared down production on the records.
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby BlizzardofIce » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:40 pm

Norwegian review:
http://www.adressa.no/kultur/article10132806.ece

Score 4/6.

Goggle translate:
"You wanna get there soon. I want to get there last, "sings Leonard Cohen in the opening track on the album has an official release two days after his 80th birthday Sunday. Nearly 50 years after his debut, and for a consistent life's work, he finally received written manifesto for those who like it fast, but slowly.

"The party's over, but I've landed on my feet," he recites in "A Street". It is possible to agree with him in that conclusion, even when we hear the text next stanza, "I'm standing on a corner, where there used to be a tree" and eventually realizes that he sings about the world after September 11 , 2001.

"Popular Problems" is classic Cohen. Not with as much and as distinctive highlights like "Old Ideas" two years ago. But he's still great to hear, still in its own division, varied in its own universe and the ability to find new twists on its own special exercises.

He sings light, melancholy and commercially distinct about lost love in "My Oh My". He creates a new, highly sitarbart manifest with "Slow" with the distinct refrain "It's not Because I'm old / It's not life I've lead, I always liked it Slow / Slow is in my blood. He notes that the war is lost in hurtin 'Nevermind' with Arabic-like background singing and languorous violin. He relives expulsion from Egypt in "Born In Chains" and Katharina ravages of "Samson In New Orleans." Krigsmetforene and Bible quotations are still easy to take up, the disarmingly humorous twister too.

Together, watches the nine songs in 36 minutes, one lp-length as we remember it from the 60s. Main partner this time, Patrick Leonard, primarily known for producing the best Madonna albums. He is credited as producer and co-composer, some songs are clearly created by the two alone in the studio - but most are with the full band, organic sound - and the distinct female harmony vocals that have characterized all albums Cohen on this side of the millennium. although he is not lit in the target over the years, and recites more than he sings.

It's a nice album to listen to, many formulations to try. It would be hard to find an unnecessary word or phrase.

Not all the songs here that will stand among Cohen's best, but both individual songs and whole impresses on an album released two years after one of the master's finest collections and created in Cohen's eightieth year.

Happy Birthday!

Highlight: "My Oh My"
There are many ways a man can serve his time
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Tchocolatl » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:30 pm

I think it was a street not a tree.

Hard to say when nothing is left but ruins.

I listened a little bit more of the album, and my feeling now is that is it a hybrid. An inextricable mix of poetry and music. He did not make a poem nor a song. He did a soem, a pong, a eomn. He created something very unusual. A 3D poem in the space. A hologram of music. An amalgam of symbols. A heart beat.

I always enjoyed electronic music, and I must say, electronic sounds. So this side does not affect me, like for other people who are more sensitive to traditional music intruments.

I really do enjoy myself listening to Popular Problems. Did I say it? Oh, yes, I did. And did.
***
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Jean Fournell » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:16 pm

Hey, fusional and Tchocolatl, I'm all with you!

• It is "where there used to be a street".

• About "lyre", my "Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English" says:
"kind of harp with strings fixed in a U-shaped frame, used by the ancient Greeks."

"Lyric" is an other, older way of saying: "He did a soem, a pong, a eomn." (And I like the word "3D poem"...)

• About the "Arabic-like background singing" in "Nevermind": it is not only Arabic-like, it is Arabic. She sings "Oh ya salam".
"Oh" is the international interjection.
"ya" means that the speaker is addressing someone.
"salam" means "peace".

So, literally, it would translate somewhat like "Oh, Mr. Peace, sir, ..."

But my Hans Wehr - J M. Cowan "Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic" says about "ya salam":
"exclamation of dismay, esp. after s.th. calamitous has happened: good Lord! good heavens! oh dear!"

(Although "esp." does not mean "exclusively". I heard the expression used when things finally went right, too. May I suggest: "Almost like the blues"?)

Now a voice far more authorised than mine says (http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/kultur/pop- ... y/23256758):
"eine Frauenstimme singt irgendwie orientalisch" (a woman's voice sings somehow orientally)
Well, a Tagesanzeiger journalist somehow put words one after the other...

• At perhaps half a dozen listens to "Popular Problems" I'm delighted indeed that Leonard Cohen doesn't need the money and can go as non-commercial as ever he pleases.

If he retires at the age of 105, following his zen-teacher's example, I'm sure that he'll do a lot more shaking me out of my laziness...
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Hartmut » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:24 pm

swisschris wrote:I like the review of Tagesanzeiger.ch: (My review would have been even harsher...)

"Someone should have really arranged and produced the songs. That much money should have been available at Sony, to be able to create
a dignified album for Leonard's 80th birthday".

http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/kultur/pop- ... y/23256758
The opinions in this review notwithstanding, this has got to be one of the worst-written reviews ever. It's filled with uninformed, ill thought through, self-satisfied sentences as well as forced, tired and unnecessarily mean jokes.
Last edited by Hartmut on Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
yoeri
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby yoeri » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:20 pm

in dutch:

http://www.kindamuzik.net/recensie/leon ... ems/25294/

" it will be strange if a better cd will be released this year."
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby Tchocolatl » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:58 pm

Hartmut for President!

Oh! Ya Salam! Oh! Ya Salam!

Hum... lyrics are flat (2D) words in any dictionnaries. What I meant is that sounds and words are melted than mixed together to create an alliage of a new kind of matter that is not a spoken poem (somebody here already stressed about the similarity) either.

Oh! well...
***
"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
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Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Postby basecamp » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:04 pm

A german review by Andreas Borcholte from "Der Spiegel" a German weekly news magazine and one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.

"Popular problem" is another triumph"

http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/musik/neue ... 91738.html

Here a google translation:
Leonard Cohen - "Popular Problems"
(Columbia / Sony, from 19 September)

"There's torture, and killing there's, and there's all my bad reviews ... it's almost like the Blues", Leonard Cohen whispered hoarsely in "Almost Like The Blues", a mocking of those, anything and everything seriously acquiring Song monuments that he wrested in long hours, chained in the Tower of Song, of course. Bad reviews ? A joke, of course. A Methuselah as Cohen has long been beyond criticism, because they would have ever been in the last 20 years. To order in time to publicize his 80th birthday, personalized Writer's block has been set correctly to the wheel: Only two years have passed since his last magnificent album "Old Ideas".
But who might be expected that in such a short time you can no masterpiece to the previous, is mistaken: "Popular problem" is another triumph of the laconic, the lustful quarreling with theological questions as amorous, with heaven and hell. A fool, however, who believes that Cohen works linearly. Some of the songs on "Popular Problems" are decades old, "Born In Chains," for example, the only one on the album that is not in collaboration with the composer and musical director Patrick Leonard was born - and also the only one with whom Cohen, as he told the "Guardian", is still not a hundred percent satisfied. Supposedly since 40 years he has worked off on the song, wrote to him again and again. What is it about? To Cohen's forever infested with doubt and skepticism Hiobscher relation to God, of course, and really at peace he is still not working. The more secular "A Street" was created in the first version after September 11, 2001 in New York. It contains the oppressive as comforting coda: "The party's over / but I've landed on my feet / I'll be standing on this corner / Where there used / To be a street"
The double content of love dedicated "Did I Ever Love You" and "My Oh My" is almost too schlager way conventional to concentrated against, to consist mostly reduced to bass groove, organ or piano and backing vocals mood of the album, both would have been unnecessary. All the more, sinister, diabolical, Cohen is in the damage done with oriental singing Soul funk of "Nevermind": "I live among you, well disguised," he breathed finally as he would, the exegete Kabbalistic mysticism, a Sleeper Agent, who is still waiting to be activated first, then to conquer Manhattan Berlin.

Likewise, feverish and soulfully the already mentioned "Almost Like The Blues" and "Slow", a mild caustic rejection of all that already imagine the aged grand seigneur, in grave nearby: "It's not: because I'm old / It's not what dying does / I always liked it slow / slow is in my blood. " God, if he exists because, so the white hair is allowed to fight again if all of the problems that his graying sheep Leonard circulated here, an ongoing for almost 50 years, dialogue with itself, the fate and faith. May he him, the witty debaters, heaven forbid a long time. And if he still sings so loud "Hallelujah". -- Andreas Borcholte
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