RSU Radio Remembers Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has passed away at the age of 82.

When a star in the music world dies, the world mourns together. When a poet dies, the world reminisces about the impact of writer’s words. Leonard Cohen was a combination of the two. He was not a technically great singer; he would be the first to people that, but that isn’t what he was known or loved for. Cohen’s appeal came from the genuine feeling that was put into, and came out of, every word in his music. Cohen’s work rose above spoken poetry through the interplay between his introspective and moody lyrics, choruses of background singers, and either haunting, romantic, inspirational, or nearly operatic accompaniment.

Cohen’s career spans six decades, and has touched generations of listeners. While the instrumentation of his compositions may have changed throughout the years, the feel of the music was always consistent: genuine and expressive. His latest album, You Want It Darker, has a modern-retro cool feel throughout. Cohen’s often utilized string accompaniment plays alongside a subtle electronic drum set on some songs. Others are spiked with a Rhodes-style piano that may make the listener feel like they are in a dark, smoky bar.

The influence and work of Leonard Cohen should be mentioned alongside Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, or Lou Reed in terms of expressive songwriting prowess. The work of Cohen touched on love, war, isolation, relationships, death, and other topics that may be difficult for listeners to articulate, all expressed in a thought provoking yet pleasant to listen to manner.

Cohen’s legacy will stand with poets, songwriters, musicians, and singers for generations to come. With each release over 60 years, Cohen proved that he could remain original, unique, genuine, and could appeal to new generations of music and poetry fans. A memorial to Cohen is planned in Los Angeles in the near future.