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Leonard Cohen Gives 'Thanks For The Dance' From Beyond The Grave

Leonard Cohen's posthumous new album, <em>Thanks for the Dance</em>, comes out Nov. 22.
Kezban Özcan
Courtesy of the artist
Leonard Cohen's posthumous new album, Thanks for the Dance, comes out Nov. 22.

When Leonard Cohen died in November 2016, the enigmatic icon left behind a catalog of dark, thoughtful treasures — 14 studio albums' worth of bleakly soulful, eminently quotable poetry. With help from an assortment of past collaborators, including his singer-songwriter son Adam, Cohen is set to return with a new collection of missives from beyond the grave. Titled Thanks for the Dance, it's due out Nov. 22, with a teaser dropping today in the form of a short piece called "The Goal."

"The Goal" runs just a little more than a minute, so think of it as a spoken-word palate cleanser for the album to follow. But for such a short work, it packs in quite a few portentous observations about Cohen's own fate.

I sit in my chair
I look at the street
The neighbor returns my smile of defeat
I move with the leaves
I shine with the chrome
I'm almost alive
I'm almost at home

Leonard and Adam Cohen had collaborated on You Want It Darker, the former's seemingly final 2016 album. So it only made sense for Adam to flesh out and finish some of the other songs his father had written late in his life — songs for which Leonard Cohen laid down vocal tracks. In the years since, those works have been finished with the help of an impressive array of collaborators, including Damien Rice, Leslie Feist, Bryce Dessner, Daniel Lanois, Jennifer Warnes, Beck, Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, an orchestra and several choirs. The goal: to re-create Cohen's sound the way he would have wanted it.

"In composing and arranging the music for his words, we chose his most characteristic musical signatures, in this way keeping him with us," Adam Cohen says in a press statement. "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."

Thanks for the Dance comes out Nov. 22 via Columbia. Track list below:

1. "Happens to the Heart"
2. "Moving On"
3. "The Night of Santiago"
4. "Thanks for the Dance"
5. "It's Torn"
6. "The Goal"
7. "Puppets"
8. "The Hills"
9. "Listen to the Hummingbird"

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)