Listen: Leonard Cohen Shares Hypnotic “You Want It Darker”

New album arrives October 21st

Master lyricist Leonard Cohen has shared a new song on his 82nd birthday, the eponymously named “You Want It Darker” taken from his album coming later this fall.

As described in a press release, the new song is “an unflinching exploration of the religious mind”. The morose new single features Cohen’s signature spoken-word narration, while the haunting voices of Montreal’s Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue ring out.

If it sounds slightly familiar, that’s because a portion of the song technically premiered during a recent episode of Peaky Blinders, — though this is the first full listen through.

The new record, You Want It Darker, produced by Cohen’s son Adam Cohen is due out October 21st. A press release has provided a breakdown of the new record along with lyric samples that can be seen below.

1. “You Want It Darker”
Hypnotic groove. The surprise of a great synagogue choir. An unflinching exploration of the religious mind.
“Didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim.”

2. “Treaty”
One of Cohen’s signature melodies. A confession of the selfishness of love and the hope of a correction.
“Only one of us was real—and that was me.”

3. “On the Level”
An old man’s take on desire.
“I was fighting with temptation, but I didn’t want to win”

4. “Leaving the Table”
A slow, relentless, and somehow joyous ballad of letting it all go by. A guitar solo you will remember.
“I’m leaving the table, I’m out of the game.”

5. “If I Didn’t Have Your Love”
A classic Cohen love song: the deep gratitude felt by one heart opening to another.
“That’s how broken it would be,
what the world would seem to me,
if I didn’t have your love to make it real.”

6. “Traveling Light”
A seeker hits the road and finds the joys of solitude.
“I’m traveling light
It’s au revoir
My once so bright
My fallen star”

7. “It Seemed the Better Way”
The feeling of a prayer that’s been there forever, but the spiritual comforts of the past no longer available.
“Lift this glass of blood, try to say the grace.”

8. “Steer Your Way”
A song of courage as the heart moves into the darkness.
“Steer your heart past the pain that is far more real than you.”

9. String Reprise/Treaty
A brilliant reimagining of “Treaty” as a string quartet; a truly glorious moment ending with a few words from Leonard himself.
“I wish there was a treaty we could sign.”