“I feel a lot stronger, but I’m actually a lot weaker…” says Leonard Cohen, and he laughs. So begins the music video for “Traveling Light,” a song from the master songwriter’s final album “You Want it Darker.” Watch it here.
Just four months ago, after a long career of writing and performing monstrously poetic, heartbreaking songs, Leonard Cohen died in his sleep.
The music he left behind stands strong, his songs are works of elegant architecture. They grow in your heart like a great tree with every listen. Bob Dylan aptly stated that Leonard’s songs are like hymns.
In the new video a black-and-white collage of footage is shown: from the songwriter’s triumphant rise in the sixties as a musical poet on par with Dylan, through his slow and steady increase in popularity over the years, as well as Cohen in his later decades as he morphed visually into the old-world sage his fans had always known him to be.
He is an inspiration for any writer or songwriter worried that they have not had a Beatles-esque teenybopper rise to fame: Leonard did not play a stadium show until age 77.
In the video Leonard Cohen walks over a flat, bleak landscape with a suitcase. He is by the beach in a sweater and jacket. He is singing into a microphone with dark hair and singing into a microphone with gray hair. He softly picks a nylon string guitar on a dark stage.
All the while the new song strains a funeral dirge of mandolins, gypsy fiddle, a female choir and Leonard’s unmistakable growl.
Then he’s smiling on a plane, in the window seat next to a smart-looking blonde. He’s taking a knee onstage, wearing a suit and fedora. He is bald and in long robes walking down the plain stone steps of a monastery and through the door outside.
The final clip is Leonard walking out of a house toward the sidewalk. He’s in a suit and it’s a sunny day. He turns around with a half smile, a look of peace. Happy travels, Leonard.