Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2012: Leonard Cohen

Did I say good? I’m sorry. I meant GREAT!

It’s amazing what a couple of good records and a little time can do.

There I was back in August, feeling a little down because music - and by extension, the world - wasn’t living up to my expectations. Then, I pick up records by (in order of stupenditude) the Small Faces, Imperial Teen and the Stone Roses and suddenly things were looking up.

Oh, a couple of other things helped, like the election and my passing a professional certification exam, which I mention only to say how great it is to study to Leonard Cohen.

I’d picked up (or rather, loaded down) the The Essential Leonard Cohen back in January.  Poor Leonard was one of the victims of my move from Vinylandia.  His original Best Of was one of the last vinyl albums I ever bought, back in 1989, and as such, he got banished to the basement shortly after getting only a few spins.

But Essential is two full CDs worth of LC moaning quietly by himself accompanied only by a guitar (the early stuff) and then moaning again, accompanied by backup singers and a huge band (the more recent stuff), and all of it pretty darned slow. The pretty, early stuff was nourishing during the cold winter months, but I found the later songs - with the except of “Tower of Song” - much longer to begin with, and taken in such huge chunks, positively oppressive, especially as the warmer weather came in.  So I put LC aside for a few months.

And then one summer Friday night when left to my own devices and could thus oppresGoods only myself,  I couldn’t think of anything better to put on than this record. And between the beer and the extreme heat and the pizza and the internet and the chocolate chip cookies, I began to notice words like “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” And it all began to engulf me. Suddenly, for that moment, LC was my man.

Cut to November when I was studying for my exam, what better to put on to not distract me but LC? And I did, every night, and Mrs. Jaybee didn’t complain. (There was one study session in particular where I played it three times in a row.) Until finally, while we were doing the old “What would you like to hear?” “No, what would you like to hear?” thing, I called her bluff and said “Leonard Cohen”.  She busted out laughing, knowing I was only kidding.  I couldn’t put her through all 35 songs again.  After all, she didn’t have to take a test.  

But then again, she’s not one to do the beer/pizza/internet/chocolate chip Friday night thing, either.

Suffice to say, attempting to take in the entirety of the record should only be done under special circumstances as specified above. Nonetheless, here was something that I’d almost dismissed at one point, and then became obsessed with at another.

It’s a big chunk of trance, an iceberg of solace I’ll happily slam into on the right occasion. A-

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