Night Comes On

Leonard Cohen, 1977.
Photograph by Arnaud Maggs. Found at Library and Archives Canada. 

Since I am, for obvious reasons, in rather a morbid mood, let me remind you that Leonard Cohen is 81 years old and will probably die soon. Night comes on for everyone sooner or later, of course, but nobody likes to be reminded that mortality exists. Cohen’s unique schtick (if you can call it that) has always been to write in the voice of someone in his twilight years. Even as a relatively young songwriter in the 60’s, Cohen had the persona of a man with a lot of weary years under his belt. It suited him then and suits him even better now, which is rare. (Tom Waits is another who seems increasingly at ease in his persona as he gets older.) At the time, it set him apart from the rock’n’roll generation and their so-called youthquake culture, but now the rock’n’roll generation has outlived its own revolution and everyone has too many years behind them. And if there’s beauty to be found in decrepitude, it will be found by someone who was never one of the pretty things in the first place.


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