Thanks for the Dance: posthumous Leonard Cohen album announced

New album has been arranged by singer’s son Adam and will feature various collaborators and previously unheard material

A collection of previously unheard Leonard Cohen material will be released as Thanks for the Dance, an album described by representatives for the late songwriter as “an unexpected harvest of new songs” and “a continuation of the master’s work”.

Cohen had asked his son, Adam, to complete the sketches left over from their prior collaboration on You Want It Darker, released in October 2016. Cohen died a month later, aged 82. Seven months after his father’s death, Cohen Jr began working on the material alone in a garage near his father’s old house, later inviting other contributors to be part of the process.

Leonard Cohen 2019 handout

Those included Javier Mas, the Spanish laúd player who formed part of Cohen’s band for his last eight years of touring, and indie music stars including Beck, Bryce Dessner of the National, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, Damien Rice and Leslie Feist.

Thanks for the Dance will feature further contributions from composer Dustin O’Halloran, producers Daniel Lanois and Patrick Watson, the Stargaze orchestra, Berlin-based choir Cantus Domus and the Shaar Hashomayim choir who performed on You Want It Darker. Former Cohen collaborators Jennifer Warnes and Michael Chaves will also appear.

“In composing and arranging the music for his words we chose his most characteristic musical signatures, in this way keeping him with us,” said Adam Cohen. “What moves me most about the album is the startled response of those who have heard it. ‘Leonard lives!’ they say, one after the other.”

The album’s release has been trailed with a new song, The Goal, in which Cohen confronts his mortality: “Settling at last / Accounts of the soul / This for the trash / That paid in full.”

Leonard Cohen: The Goal – stream

In an interview with the New Yorker published a month before his death, Cohen expressed doubt that he would be able to finish his unreleased song sketches.

“Maybe I’ll get a second wind, I don’t know,” he said. “But I don’t dare attach myself to a spiritual strategy. I don’t dare do that. I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

In September 2018, Adam Cohen published The Flame, a collection of his father’s final poems and lyrics. He told the Guardian that his father “was very interested in preserving the magic of his process and not demystifying it”. In Cohen’s final months, said Adam, “he was a man on a quest, on a mission”.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Leonard Cohen: new album, Old Ideas
Singer previews first studio album in eight years with new song, Show Me the Place

Sean Michaels

23, Nov, 2011 @11:13 AM

Article image
Leonard Cohen: Thanks for the Dance review – a sublime final statement
This posthumous album finds the poet and singer on reflective, insightful, deadpan form, ‘settling accounts of the soul’

Dave Simpson

22, Nov, 2019 @9:30 AM

Article image
Leonard Cohen, Opera House, Manchester

Opera House, Manchester

Dorian Lynskey

18, Jun, 2008 @2:31 PM

Article image
My favourite album: Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen

Our writers are picking their favourite albums. Here, Andrew Pulver explains how he fell for the dark charms of a figure who used to be a joke to him

Andrew Pulver

06, Oct, 2011 @2:59 PM

Leonard Cohen – review

So eager are people not to miss a beat that they don't even sing along. And Cohen's voice is bassier than ever – A Thousand Kisses Deep sounds almost as if it's being sung by a submarine, writes Catherine Shoard

Catherine Shoard

23, Jun, 2013 @5:34 PM

Article image
Leonard Cohen shows there's life in the old dog yet with launch of new album

Songwriter on Old Ideas, his first album in eight years: 'This record invites one to be swept along, even if you have written it'

Alex Needham

19, Jan, 2012 @1:47 AM

Article image
Leonard Cohen to release new album
Canadian singer says first studio album in six years will sound like 'something good, I hope'

Sean Michaels

21, Jun, 2010 @8:42 AM

Article image
Famous blue leotard: the Leonard Cohen dance show the singer never lived to see
The gravel-throated legend gave his blessing to a show set to his greatest songs, but died before rehearsals began. As Dance Me hits the UK, its performers describe feeling his presence on stage

Lyndsey Winship

30, Jan, 2023 @8:00 AM

Article image
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas: exclusive album stream

Be among the first to hear Leonard Cohen's new album

23, Jan, 2012 @4:26 PM

Article image
Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems – exclusive album stream
Listen to Leonard Cohen’s 13th album ahead of release and let us know your thoughts

Guardian music

15, Sep, 2014 @10:36 AM