Leonard Cohen Is Putting His House in Order

'New Yorker' profiles 82-year-old
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2016 9:45 AM CDT
Updated Oct 15, 2016 10:53 AM CDT
Leonard Cohen Profile Offers Rarity: Bob Dylan, Music Critic
In this 2013 photo, Leonard Cohen performs in Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Sandro Campardo)

Leonard Cohen is 82 now, and fans will not be thrilled to learn in a lengthy New Yorker profile that he's almost certainly done touring—his body just isn't up to the rigors. But he's still making music, and an album out this month is classic Cohen in that it's "obsessed with mortality, God-infused, yet funny," writes David Remnick. The profile is much larger in scope, however, tracing the arc of the Canadian-born Cohen's life, including his time with muse Marianne Ihlen. And it includes a rare treat: the normally reticent Bob Dylan going into depth on why his friend Cohen is so brilliant. “When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius," says Dylan. "Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs," he adds. "As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music."

Dylan, in fact, was one of the first to recognize the brilliance of Cohen's much-covered Hallelujah, the piece notes. As for Cohen, he lives in LA now, with money trouble involving a shady business manager now behind him, and he considers himself "extremely blessed." He's free to focus on music and writing, though he doesn't expect to finish all the songs in his head. "At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order," he says. "Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable." (Click for the full piece, in which Remnick recounts getting lectured at length by Cohen over a mixup on a meeting time.)

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