“It’s not because I’m old / It’s not what dying does / I always liked it slow / Slow is in the blood,” Leonard Cohen sings on the opening track of ‘Popular Problems’, ‘Slow’.
He’s 80, but still sounds incredible. You can hear his age; he takes his time and his band gives him space, making this album, lucky number 13 for the Canadian singer, cool and utterly enchanting.
His gravelly spoken-word is gruff and bluesy, as characterful as Tom Waits, as raw as Springsteen, and as soulful as Louis Armstrong. Riffs of Hammond tangle with his female backing troupe, sounding straight out of New Orleans.
There’s the occasional unsavoury trumpet sample and simplistic lyric, but also wonderful surprises like the David Crosby-folkiness of ‘Did I Ever Love You’. The great just gets greater.
Words: Gemma Hampson
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Listen to ‘Popular Problems’ in full via Deezer, below…