God Wanted It Darker – An Appreciation For Leonard Cohen

I can’t number the times I have laid awake at night listening to the music of Leonard Cohen in my earbuds. His Jewish background made him a constant reflector on the biblical story and its insights into what it means to be human. His years as a Buddhist priest quieted him and gave him the aura of man who was in touch with awful truths.

He came onto the music scene when I was in college in ’67 after years as a poet and novelist. Dylan-like in his music, unlike Dylan he never did leverage his music into the top echelons of the industry yet he was constantly there. His most famous song is “Hallelujah.” 

He died in November, 2016, and his final album, “You Want It Darker,” brought it all together. The album is named after its central song. It is the story of God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and the truth that the promise of God led him into a darkness Abraham could not have imagined, to be stripped by his own hand of the life of his only son. God wanted it darker. Abraham saw that and accepted it. It was the only way to the light. Joel Osteen Cohen is not!

The album was released six weeks before Cohen died at age 82. The New Yorker Radio hour has an interview with Cohen shortly before he did die. Intriguing. I commend it to you.

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