Reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Blackstar,” Leonard Cohen’s final album finds the legendary performer recording on what would be his literal deathbed, and that funereal mood unsurprisingly defines the entire album. Given its subject matter, much of the material is dark and difficult to hear, often approaching the shattering heartache of, say, Antony and the Johnsons, but there’s a softness to Cohen’s music that shines through and manages to dignify the slow march of death. Songs like the title track, “Treaty” and (my favorite) “Travelling Light” stamp the album with Cohen’s unmistakable lyrics and guttural, oddly erotic vocals, and while it may take a few spins before the melodies register, this is nevertheless a touching and artistically rewarding farewell to his fans that will be remembered as a unique entry in Cohen’s distinguished discography.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)
You can watch the lyric video for “You Want it Darker” here: