Leonard Cohen Says He’s Ready to Die

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Leonard Cohen is ready to say “Hallelujah” to the end of his very own life. The legendary 82-year-old singer, songwriter and poet has gone on record saying that he is ready to die. In an interview with New Yorker columnist David Remnick, Cohen’s life is profiled and Cohen comes to peace with the personal acceptance of his own death on the brink of the release of his 14th studio album.

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A career in destined for the acceptance of death

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Cohen has a long history of singing somber songs and writing less-than-cheery poems centered around death, religion and sex that spans more than five decades. In 1982, Cohen was within the somber train of thought and wrote sad poems while sitting in cold rooms at the young age of 25.

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Leonard Cohen at the Arena in Geneva, October 27th, 2008.

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Picture Courtesy of Rama

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Cohen always went against the grain. While his family was prominent, Cohen lived more of a bohemian lifestyle. Instead of settling for practical digs when arriving to London, Cohen’s first purchases were a blue Burberry raincoat and an Olivetti typewriter. The audience he sought to entertain included an unconventional mix of the likes of “Popists” and “peepers of pornography.” Yet his voice and lyrics also brought about romantics.

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In 1960, the Canada Council for the Arts rewarded Cohen with a $3,000 grant, which he lived on while he was a Montreal literary scene expatriate in London. He soon found himself performing among different venues and cities across the world, including Jerusalem and the Town Hall in New York. The singer was also at the Festival at the Isle of Wight in front of a crowd of 600,000.

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Ironically, Remnick reveals that he found these performances daunting. It’s understandable too as Cohen battled depression throughout his life. Yet the beat went on. Cohen even performed in his 70s up until 2013. Today, his health has him at home contemplating his finality with delight.

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Presently embracing postmortem

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Even though Cohen makes it a habit to wake up early to write, he’s prepared to face death, according to Remnick. This acceptance is evident in his recent studio album, too.

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Cohen’s studio album, “You Want It Darker” was released on October 21st, 2016 with high accolades from the likes of the Rolling Stone, the Atlantic and NPR. With lyrics such as, “I’m out of the game…I don’t need a lover…the wretched beast is tamed” from his song “Leaving the Table” and “Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the mall…” and “…As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap…” from his somber yet bluegrass, melodic poem-turned-song, “Steer Your Way,” it’s apparent that Cohen is embracing the inevitable.

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A look ahead to a final destination

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While Cohen explains to Remnick of his confinement to barracks in his article, he also finds solace in “putting [his] house in order.” He notes in Remnick’s article that “…[it’s] one of the most comforting activities, and [that] the benefits of it are incalculable.” 

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Cohen has reminisced on his life, including his muse Marianne who passed in July of 2016, and his latest album makes his final destination a time that he will embrace, with its cold, yet peaceful lyrics backed by Cohen’s deep, subterranean baritone voice.

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