The passing of songwriter Leonard Cohen last Thursday added another mournful chapter to an already difficult week. The prolific and underrated artist—most famous, perhaps, for his aching ballad “Hallelujah,” popularized by John Cale, Rufus Wainwright, and Jeff Buckley—had a long career of ups and downs. Cohen was 73 years old in 2009, when his album Live in London came out. His standout baritone, which lent a somber touch to his music back in the 1960s and 70s, had been enriched by time. It provides a beautiful gravity to the rootsy live track, “In My Secret Life.” The tasteful organ and soulful vocals of backup singers Sharon Robinson, Charlie Webb, and Hattie Webb offer the perfect counterpoint to Cohen’s introspective dirge in this sad song, which says so much in just a few short minutes.
Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte, tNY.press, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program.