LEONARD COHEN Thanks For The Dance (Sony) Have you been reading Nick Cave’s letters online? The ones he sends in reply to people who write with questions about his life and music, grief and artistry, relationships and faith – and pretty much anything else. Those letters are so often not just insightful but touched with grace, offering comfort and pleasure and respect and depth from the perspective of someone who, whatever the image to the contrary for so many years, genuinely
More than a year after he died, Leonard Cohen won a Grammy at the weekend for this album. Best rock performance weirdly enough. This review, from October 2016, may have been lost in the mix back then so here’s a reprise. LEONARD COHEN You Want It Darker (Sony) You want it darker? You want it funnier? Deeper? More soothing? More spiritual? Tick, tick, tick, tick and tick. Leonard Cohen is happy to please. And please he will in the most fundamental way because whatever else is
The best songs of the year were all over the shop as numbers 11-20 showed, and numbers 1 to 10 are no different. Brandy Clark tops the list with something sharp and punchy (and closes the list with something sad but potent, if you remember) which sounds nothing like the pulse-and-sooth of Underworld or the Indo-Australian hip hop melange of L-Fresh The Lion. Clark is not the only country act on the list but at this end of the table she’s sharing space with the liquid R&B of D
First, but not last, end of year thing from this pen/keyboard. A summation of a year dominated by people who won't be making music again but not ruled by it because it was also a year driven by people who made music socially and politically relevant again,
Also a top 10 that somehow doesn't include Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree. Still not sure how that happened. Can I have a Top 11 please?
(I'll be writing about the top 10, or 11, or 20, elsewhere soon.) BLACK DAYS, BLACK STAR
Total Control – Typical System Jenny Lewis – The Voyager Jason Isbell – Southeastern Lucinda Williams – Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone Chromeo – White Women Laura Jean – Laura Jean HTRK – Psychic 9-5 Club Buried In Verona – Faceless Joelistics – Blue Volume Wild Beasts – Present Tense Eno+Hyde – High Life #1 Dads – About Face FKA twigs – LP 1 Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems Chet Faker – Built On Glass Peep Tempel – Tales Caribou – Our Love The Acid – Liminal Courtney B