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Aural Pleasure Review

Leonard Cohen: 'Old Ideas'

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It's a wonderful thing when artists you love surprise you with just how good they can still be, and that's exactly how I felt upon first hearing Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas. Like many Cohen fans, I adore the songwriter's early work but have a hard time getting into his records from the 1980s on because of their glossy production. I was slightly afraid that Old Ideas would fall into the latter category, but instead the record is an understated delight, full of extremely well recorded minimal arrangements. This makes the record closer in aesthetic to classic Cohen while subtly pulling the songwriter's sound in all sorts of infectious new directions. There's a true joy in hearing Cohen completely solo again on "Crazy to Love You," but there's just as much of a thrill in hearing the songwriter stretch his limits by getting funky on tracks like the downright sexy "Different Sides" (keep in mind: this is Cohen's funk, so it's danceable but still heartbreaking). Most importantly, all these production techniques suit the man's lyrics, which are spiritual but still lined with his sardonic darkness. Old Ideas is a refreshing album from one of the all-time best.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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