On his 82nd birthday, the legendary Leonard Cohen decided to give his fans a special gift in the form of an dark, brooding new song titled “You Want It Darker.”
Released following the announcement of Cohen’s 14th (!!!) studio album of the same name, “You Want It Darker” is a haunting track described as “an unflinching exploration of the religious mind” on the songwriter’s website. Cohen enlisted the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir to evoke “sounds from [his] youth” in the song, which also features backing vocals by Cantor Gideon Zelermyer.
As The A.V. Club noted, it’s hard to listen to Cohen sing lyrics like “I’m ready, my Lord,” without thinking about death, particularly his death, especially considering his old age. But death and dying have long been themes in Cohen’s work, so “You Want It Darker” seems to fit right in.
Additionally, in August the Canadian poet penned a touching letter to his former muse Marianne Ihlen, who died after a battle with leukemia. In it, he noted, “I am so close behind you, that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”
No word yet on whether Cohen will do any touring for this album, as his last public performance was in December 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. These days, he’s rarely seen in public.
“You Want It Darker,” the follow-up to 2014’s “Popular Problems,” goes on sale Oct. 21. You can see the tracklist and read descriptions for each song on Cohen’s website.