Five years after his death, Leonard Cohen has a new music video


It has been five years since Leonard cohen made his signature exit from the world of the living – the Canadian poet and songwriter passed away on November 7, 2016, a day before the 2016 presidential election and two weeks after releasing his seminal farewell record, You want it darker.

Nonetheless, the mere fact of being dead did not diminish the quality, resonant meaning or output of the master composer’s work (remember that in his 1988 piece “Tour of the song”, Cohen sang: “You’ll hear from me baby, long after I’m gone / I’ll talk sweet to you from a Song Tower window“).

Figuratively speaking, Cohen’s promise will always stand true: Endowed with inimitable observational skills, the songs he brought into the world will forever shed priceless light on the grayness of the human condition. But even on a literal level, Cohen – with the help of his former collaborators and family – remained an active artist in the years following his death. In 2019, his last studio album was released: Thanks for dancing, a collection of poems and vocal parts that Cohen recorded in the period just after You want it darker has been completed. Produced by his son, Adam Cohen, the pieces show how Cohen’s literary prowess came to an end.

Now, as of November 5, the music video for the song “Puppets” has been live on YouTube, marking the last official clip for the new music from Cohen’s long and colorful catalog.

Directed by Daniel Askill, who previously worked on Cohen’s video “It happens to the heart”– the moving new video features actor Bobbi Salvör Menuez walking down a strange alley before setting himself up in a poetic shot reminiscent of Thích Quảng Đức’s self-immolation, one of the most visually powerful acts of protest in annals of resistance history.

“It was such a gift to have the opportunity to create these visual responses to Leonard Cohen’s music,” Askill said in a statement. “Cohen has an incredible ability to bridge the gap between the sublime and the prosaic, the metaphysical and the political. In ‘Puppets’ he does so while tackling dark themes with poetic insight. This video was born out of a wonderful and ongoing dialogue with Adam Cohen. It’s kind of a darker counterpoint to the first movie we made for “Happens to the Heart”. Shot on location in New York, this film follows the symbolic journey of a single figure through darkness to transcendence. In many ways, this visually indicates the idea that Leonard often conjures up beautifully in different ways – that the darkness and light of our experience are deeply intertwined – and perhaps on a fundamental level, they are in fact one. one and the same thing.

As Askill pointed out, for as much symbolism as there is in the video, there is an even richer tapestry of meaning in the lyrics themselves. Watch the video above and read the full lyrics below:

German puppets burned the Jews
Jewish puppets did not choose
Puppet vultures eat the dead
Puppet corpses they are fed
Puppet winds and puppet waves
Puppet of sailors in their graves
Puppet flower, puppet rod
The time of the puppets takes them apart
Me puppets and you puppets
Puppet german
Jewish puppet

Command of Puppet Presidents
Puppet troops to burn the earth
Puppet fire, puppet flames
Feed on all the names of puppets

Puppet lovers in their happiness
Turn away from it all
The puppet player shakes his head
Take his puppet to bed
Me puppets and you puppets
German puppets, Jewish puppets

Command of Puppet Presidents
Puppet troops to burn the earth
Puppet fire, puppet flames
Feed on all the names of puppets
The night of the puppets comes to play
After the act to the day of the puppet

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