Photo: Lorca Cohen
Photo: Lorca Cohen

Leonard Cohen: Leaving The Table

Leonard Cohen: "Leaving The Table" (Sony):  The video for this track from the immortal bard's final album, You Want It Darker, was given its world premiere at The Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on Monday night. The album was one of the ten Polaris finalists, a fittting acknowledgment of a masterful album.

At that event, the great Nick Cave paid passionate and eloquent tribute to the album, noting that "what is important and moving is that Leonard was still working and writing beautiful songs."

That he was, though the fact that he could see the Grim Reaper approaching on a black horse on the horizon is evident on this tune. "There's no-one left to blame, I'm leaving the table, I'm out of the game," he intones in that distinctive voice, narrating more than singing the lyrics.

Some of Cohen's albums over the last decades were marred by cheesy keyboard sounds, but they're thankfully lacking here. The sparse instrumentation here is nicely empathetic, especially the pedal steel guitar.

The artful accompanying video was created by award-winning director Christopher Mills. He told Billboard recently that "the idea came from the ‘lightness’ that I imagined Mr. Cohen would be feeling right about now. “I really loved thinking about him celebrating this new journey by dancing around in the clouds, and visiting his old haunts, playing around with all the weird and cool stuff you could probably do, once you ‘cross over’ into another plane."

A star-studded memorial tribute to Cohen is set for Nov. 6 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, with guests including Elvis Costello, Feist, k.d. lang, Philip Glass, and Adam Cohen.

Our table is so much emptier without his presence.

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