Another year gone by, another year filled with musical delights. We lost quite a few musical legends starting in December of 2015 – Scott Weiland, Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael to name just a few (and let’s not mention an overall list of artists who have left us in 2016). I lost my Aunt unexpectedly back in February the morning after attending a Black Sabbath show. The year was filled with unexpected highs and unexpected lows for me. As with anything in life, sometimes you have to feel bad to feel good (and vice versa). I made some friends, lost some friends, and reconnected with some old friends. Throughout it all, I had music playing. Here are my top albums of 2016:
Strange as it may sound I didn’t full investigate the rich musical discography of Leonard Cohen until I heard Waiting For a Miracle on 2000’s Wonder Boys soundtrack album. Taken from 1992’s The Future it entranced me with its musical mysteries and Cohen’s deep, deep vocal delivery. Little did I know that it would begin a 16 year (and ongoing) odyssey into the world of Mr. Cohen. Lyrically, I find Leonard Cohen to be unparalleled. Words or phrases that would seem simple on their own become complex thoughts when tied into other trains of thought. Others – as in Hallelujah – become an ode or lament to carnal desires. Sometimes, within the same song. Hell, sometimes within the same verse. Jeff Buckley may have delivered the definitive version vocally, but the words are Leonard’s. To be misunderstood for eternity it seems. Late 60’s to late 70’s Cohen had a higher vocal registry and was keyboard free. From the 80’s on Leonard Cohen could be found experimenting with keyboards and delivering modern hits such as First We Take Manhattan and Everybody Knows. After a decade away, Cohen returned in 2001 with 10 New Songs – a stunning statement of intent. You Want It Darker is Cohen’s 5th studio album since his return and his 3rd since 2012. It may also be his finest.