All rise: The church of Leonard Cohen is back in session. The piano progression that introduces the Fedora Man’s new single feels holy, with the lyrics not letting up on the religion. “Show me the place; help me roll away the stone,” Cohen murmurs deeply. “Show me the place; I can’t move this thing alone.”
Show Me the Place is a restrained spiritual co-written and produced by Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard. It touches on themes of love, god and mortality – no doubt the type of tried-and true allusions to be found within Cohen’s forthcoming album, the modestly titled Old Ideas, set to drop on Jan. 31, 2012, on the Columbia label.
Cohen speak-sings tenderly in a craggy, desiccated baritone. His “head is bent and low,” and the titular plea is done in a dignified manner. He (and the listener) is comforted by plush organ chords, a sympathetic violin and gentle brow-wiping from the choir-sung backup of old friend Jennifer Warnes, her blue raincoat ready on the coat rack.
“Show me the place where you want your slave to go,” is a key refrain. This is about devotion, in whatever form one needs to take it. On her own single, cool star singer Feist asks, “How come you never go there?”
And Cohen? He so goes there, one more time.