Leonard Cohen died three years ago, but we’re about to get a new Leonard Cohen album anyway. When he died, Cohen left behind sketches of nine unreleased songs. His son Adam Cohen fleshed those sketches out into complete songs, and he got help from people like Beck, Feist, Bryce Dessner, and Daniel Lanois, turning them into the new LP Thanks For The Dance. We’ve already heard “The Goal,” one of the songs from the album. Today we get another one: A darkly meditative number called “Happens To The Heart.” We also get a video.
The song itself is pretty great. It’s a simple track, with Cohen intoning heavily in the deep, ravaged voice we heard on his goodbye album You Want It Darker. He gives us one of his inimitably evocative opening lines: “I was always working steady, but I never called it ‘art’ / I’ve got my shit together, meeting Christ and reading Marx.” The song uses fluttery flamenco guitars, and the music slowly wraps itself around Cohen’s voice.
The video, done for Nowness, is part of a new series, with directors offering visual interpretations of the songs on Thanks For The Dance. The “Happens To The Heart” video comes from Sia collaborator Daniel Askill, who focuses on the five years that Cohen spent as a Buddhist monk. Talking to Rolling Stone, Askill says, “This film is a quiet, symbolic narrative that charts the letting go of ego and the trappings of fame.” In the video, an androgynous model, dressed as Cohen, walks through a deep forest, shedding clothes and seeking enlightenment. Watch it below.
Thanks For The Dance is out 11/22 on Columbia/Legacy.