#19: Leonard Cohen – Leaving The Table


I have been saying for a while now that this final phase of Laughing Lenny’s career has included his finest work, and now with ‘You Want It Darker’ bringing that phase to a mournful completion, I am more certain than ever. Encyclopaedias have been written about the retro-poignancy of Bowie’s final recorded words, but Cohen here is mining a similarly bottomless well of mortal contemplation. “I am leaving the table, I’m out of the game,” he sing-whispers throughout this typically wry track. He had been talking about death and the afterlife for fifty years, but he never seemed more at ease with his uncertainty as he did here. You cannot take on a mightier subject in a pop song, and you cannot deliver it with more powerful grace and timing.


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