Beck Plays Leonard Cohen

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I hardly need an excuse to write more about Leonard Cohen, the observant Jew/Zen Buddhist monk/poet laureate of our dreams here in the MJL home office. Let me just quote from our article — and then check out the first track of Beck’s new Record Club recordings — once a week, they’ll release new spontaneously-recorded versions of songs from the album “Songs of Leonard Cohen.” It isn’t as impassioned as Cohen’s own singing, but it’s not bad, and the music definitely captures a suitably spooky ambiance:

While Cohen is a practicing Zen Buddhist, he sees no conflict between this and his Jewish observance. In February 2009, he was described in the New York Times as an observant Jew who keeps Shabbat, even refusing to give concerts on Friday nights. “I’m not looking for new religion,” he told the Guardian in 2004. “I’m quite happy with the old one, with Judaism.”

Cohen takes a religious, humanistic approach to the predicaments of the present. His own prophetic sense relates to impending social and political collapse, as seen in his song “The Future” (“I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder”). Cohen does, however, find optimism even in imperfection, urging for perseverance and faith, despite the brokenness of everything around us.

Posted on September 8, 2009

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