Darkness - Leonard Cohen

from the album Old Ideas (2012)

Leonard Cohen is a master songwriter and performer.  He is included on a short list of mature artists that have earned my deepest respect - including Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Jimmy Cliff - as they continue to create great, new, original music.  I really dig the song Darkness from his album Old Ideas.  The long list of things I admire in this song include:

-->  The acoustic guitar introduction that lays down the blues progression and simple hook that carry the song
--> The first verse that establishes the song's dark imagery and story line:

     I caught the darkness, it was drinking from your cup
     I caught the darkness, it was drinking from your cup
     I said "Is this contagious?", You said "Just drink it up"

-->  The perfectly subdued beat and groove
-->  The "tickling" piano accents
-->  The organ solos, beautifully counterbalanced by the seductive backing vocals
-->  The hushed, gravelly vocals that give the song authenticity
-->  The almost invisible saxophone, adding just the right amount of texture to the song
-->   The fifth verse, with its contrasting imagery beginning with the line "I used to love the rainbow / I used to love the view"

I recommend this song to any aspiring songwriter looking for a deeper understanding of the craft.

Click Here to view a live version recorded in Helsinki, Finland earlier this year.


  1. This song really grinds on a nerve that is associated with how the mind deals with relationships. Albeit it also focuses on the danger of the love you cannot deny, but will suffer through for the pleasures that it brings.
    I added a little something to the intro.

    I caught the darkness, it was drinking from your cup.
    I asked "is this contagious", you said "just drink it up!"
    You see the evil lurking and there is no turning back.
    The depth of such a promise ensures that pleasure never lacks.
    Love is such a pleasure, but with it comes the cup!


Post a Comment