Steer Your Way - Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker
I wrote this post yesterday, fully expecting to wake up to the news that America would have elected their first female president. And instead, the world is a little, okay a lot, darker today. All I can say is that we need beauty more than ever. That you are required to make something beautiful and that this is even more imperative. We need to find and share all the light we are able.
This is certainly not a review of Leonard Cohen's new album, You Want it Darker, but an appreciation by someone who has loved his music and poetry for a very long time. All the Canadian poets I have known have his words deeply embedded in their subconscious and I'm no different. Today, the words and music on this album take on even another layer of meaning.
There's a good song by song interpretation on the CBC site, but I haven't even reached the point where I could express meanings.
What I'm so glad about with this album is the way the voice comes through, deep, chocolatey. You want to pair this album with some rich red wine, some dark chocolate. It's holy and its haunting and it's dark and it is light and it sounds like the truth. It travels light and it travels dark. It "steers your way" "thought by thought."
From "Steer Your Way":
Steer your way through the ruins
of the Altar and the Mall
Steer your way through the labels
of Creation and The Fall
Steer your way past the Palaces
that rise above the rot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought
I've listened to the album at my desk and in my car for a week. And it's still sinking in and through. I also took out a stack of Cohen's books and read some of the parts I'd dog-eared and underlined (yes, I'm the kind of person who dog-ears...but only my own books).
I was drawn to a couple places in particular in Book of Longing:
When hatred with his package comes,
You forbid delivery
If You Are Lucky
You Will Grow Old
A Life of Errands
You Will Discern
What People Need
And Provide It
Before They Ask
Cohen has helped so many steer their way, thought by thought. And look what he's done with this album: given people what they needed, before they thought to ask. I'll be listening to this album today, drinking in that dark chocolate mood. And remembering, 'when hatred with his package comes, you forbid delivery."