Leonard Cohen was already 58 when The Future was released over thirteen years ago. His voice more bankrupt than ever, he flaunts the fact instead of hiding it, and delivers one of 1992’s strongest albums. His croaking voice, something of a mutation betwixt Tom Waits, Nick Nolte and Don Johnson — only deeper — is as important to his songs as Dylan’s harmonica used to be to his.
The Future, the singer/songwriter’s eleventh album, finds Cohen hanging around with Christ, Stalin, Mozart, Charlie Manson, Johnny Walker, the Devil, and the Holy Spirit. Unstuck in time like Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, he is at once at Hiroshima, World War II, and witness to the Sermon on the Mount. He travels from the Berlin Wall to Heaven and Tiananmen Square, and back to America (“the cradle of the best and of the worst”). Sounding like some sort of S&M Nostradamus, he boasts of having seen the future, and reports, “It is murder.