Iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen will mark his 80th birthday by releasing a new studio album, Popular Problems, on September 23rd via Columbia. (Cohen was actually born on September 21st.) As an early birthday present to us, the album is streaming in full below (via the Guardian).
The nine-track collection serves as the follow-up to 2012’s Old Ideas and his thirteenth album to date. While much of the material is new, Cohen has been working on several tracks for some time. In fact, the gospel ballad “Born in Chains” is one that Cohen has been “kicking around for 40 years. “I’ve rewritten the lyric many times to accommodate the changes in my theological position, which is very insecure.” Meanwhile, the song “A Street” was written in the wake of September 11th, but Cohen was only just now comfortable in releasing it.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cohen offered insight into his songwriting process:
“A lot of young writers ask me for advice – mistakenly, because my methods are obscure and not to be replicated,” he explained. “The only thing I can say is, a song will yield if you stick with it long enough. But long enough is way beyond any reasonable duration. Sometimes a song has to hang around for a decade or two before it finds its expression. Some of them came together with shockingly alarming speed,” said Cohen, who recorded many of the songs at his home studio. “Usually, I take a long, long time – partly because of an addiction to perfection, partly just sheer laziness.”
Pre-orders for the album are ongoing. Below, watch Cohen perform the album track “My Oh My” in 2010.
Popular Problems Tracklist:
02. Almost Like the Blues
03. Samson in New Orleans
04. A Street
05. Did I Ever Love You
06. My Oh My
08. Born in Chains
09. You Got Me Singing