The new lyric video for Leonard Cohen's "Traveling Light," directed by Sammy Slabbinck with the help of Cohen's son, Adam, is a brief but charming retrospective. It pulls together previously unseen footage of the late Cohen, splicing together video from different eras to line up with the You Want It Darker cut's melancholy poetry. The whole thing is lovely and you should watch it all at the foot of this page.
What stands out, though, is the opening scene. Cohen, sitting on his Los Angeles balcony, wearing a trilby hat and dark suit, sunglasses on, cigarette in hand, laughing through a description of his mornings:
I feel a lot stronger. But I'm actually a lot weaker. That's true man! I wake up in my bed[…] and I feel like, that's how I used to feel. Not exactly, but you know. And then I swing my legs off the bed and try to stand up!
Like much of You Want It Darker, it's a sly, funny comment on age and time and youth and its expiry. What quickly becomes clear is that this is the same shot as You Want It Darker's front cover. It was Slabbinck, a collage artist mostly, who designed that cover, and this is the original footage. That cover, however, was framed in black, with Cohen silhouetting out of the white light behind him. Here, in its first form, he was on his Los Angeles balcony, sun shining, cars going past, plants and civilization in the background. It's all very human.
Watch it below, via Pitchfork.
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