At 80, Cohen still going strong

Leonard Cohen turned 80 on Set. 21, but don’t expect him to hit the breaks on his storied career anytime soon.

In fact, many people — including me — wrongfully viewed his 2012 album “Old Ideas” as a fitting finale for his career.

Well, he pokes at that notion in the with the first words of his 13th studio album, singing, “I’m slowing down the tomb; I never liked it fast.”

As expected, Cohen brings his poetic touch, his musings on mortality and the spiritual reflection of a monk — yes, he was ordained in 1996 — to “Popular Problems.”

On much of the album, including the opening “Slow,” Cohen progresses at his own pace and in his own style. “Popular Problem” sets aside the grandiose undercurrents of “Old Ideas” for a more lively tones. Much of “Old Ideas” felt like a man reflecting on his years in the face of his own mortality. “Popular Problems” proves Cohen, a much-praised poet and writer, still has much more to say.

“Almost Like the Blues” is one of Cohen’s best songs in years, and it’s already been printed in the “New Yorker” as poetry. It reads like a potent take on today’s world.

Like most Cohen albums, this is one to listen to with his lyrics pulled available to read along with the music. “Samson In New Orleans” invokes powerful images by juxtaposing Hurricane Katrina and the Biblical story of Samson.

I’ll spare readers my interpretations of Cohen’s lyrics. Listen to the album, read the lyrics or look up any number of forums — there’s plenty of debate and discussion. The album, like most poetry, makes listeners think.

“Popular Problems” is sure to delight Cohen fans, but it’s unlikely to woo many newcomers.

As on his recent albums, Cohen sings in a coarse, raspy voice that’s taken on a spoken-word quality. Cohen uses this to his advantage, and enhances his old sage persona.

Despite his weathered voice, Cohen proves he can still craft great music, as closer “You Got Me Singing,” is one of his most beautiful songs in recent memory.

Cohen is arguably one of the most skilled poets recording music, so he’s not to be ignored. “Popular Problems” may not attain the level of classics like “The Songs of Leonard Cohen,” but it’s a worthy addition to a legend’s career.

 

Mower County

Mueller looking forward to building on county successes

Agriculture

Register for the Agriculture and Food Science Exploration (AFSE) Day

Mower County

In Your Community: County employees honored for completion of leadership training

Mower County

In Your Community: Joseph Company donates to Cedar Valley Services

Austin Living

On her own terms: Breanna Bortner tells her story of cancer bravely, beautifully

Brownsdale

In Your Community: Brownsdale Study Club

Education

Education Briefs: Accolades

News

Robots with hoes show farmers possible future of weed control

News

Wellness programs aim to support police officers through stressful work

News

Tobacco-like warning label for social media sought by US surgeon general who asks Congress to act

News

Deadly ATV crashes on pace to surpass last year’s total

Business

Expanding Opportunity: Austin Ford Chrysler breaks ground on addition, renovation

Mower County

Volunteers are needed for the statewide bumble bee survey

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions June 3-10

Mower County

MnDOT asks motorists, riders to safely share the road during motorcycle convention in Rochester

Mower County

City of Austin to spray for mosquitoes

Mower County

Ikes to host steak cookout

Education

Education: Accolades

Blooming Prairie

Education: Blooming Prairie Honor Roll

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Mower County

In Your Community: Mower County Senior Center

News

Family of bystander killed during Minneapolis police pursuit files lawsuit against the city

News

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on rapid-fire rifle bump stocks, reopening political fight

Agriculture

New influenza testing rule for dairy cows going to Minnesota fairs