1. The Future 6:41
2. Waiting For The Miracle 7:41
3. Be For Real 4:28
4. Closing Time 5:58
5. Anthem 6:05
6. Democracy 7:12
7. Light As The Breeze 7:14
8. Always 8:02
9. Tacoma Trailer 5:56
Leonard Cohen's deeply personal first LPs came out at a time when many of his peers were issuing furious, counterculture inspired rants; he clearly had little interest in sticking with the pack at the time. So it makes a certain kind of contrary sense that Cohen would put out an offbeat, topical collection two and a half decades later. The Future is an odd duck of an album; it's also brave, funny, and fascinating. "Give me back the Berlin Wall Give me Stalin and St. Paul", Cohen petitions sardonically in the title track, adding, "I've seen the future, brother: it is murder". "Can't run no more with the lawless crowd/ While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud", he intones in "Anthem"; in "Democracy", he name checks Tiananmen Square while surveying the United States ("The cradle of the best and of the worst"). Cohen has only improved with age as a vocalist; here, he sounds like a cross between Mark Knopfler and Barry White. While the polished production takes some getting used to, it's somehow suitable that cooing background vocals and programmed tracks temper these low boil diatribes. This is, after all, The Future.
Leonard Cohen's 1992 release, THE FUTURE, is both a cynicalattack on civilisation and a spiritual edification, with the gruff-voiced theme "I've seen the future it's murder". From the sinister whisper of the opening title track, the mood moves to the redemptive optimism of "Light As A Breeze", and the sardonic political march, "Democracy". There's a highly unlikely cover of Irving Berlin's "Always"; peculiar for an artist known more for his lyrical poetry than for his interpretive skills. But Leonard Cohen's voice translates uniquely to interpreting pop standards, and he gives the song a highly original bluesy read. Another unlikely cut is the closing instrumental, "Tacoma Trailer", featuring fine Synclavier work by Bill Ginn.
THE FUTURE is brimming with the tormented poetry for which Cohen is so well known. His foghorn voice is close to a murmur on many songs, and he sets the mood (dark and foreboding), as he often does, through the able assistance of his omni-present female back up singers. With the superb lyrics of songs like "Waiting For The Miracle" and "Closing Time", Leonard Cohen remains rock's preeminent poet.
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