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Nick Cave performing with The Bad Seeds in Budapest in June. His song lyrics, with those often melancholy, churchy organ chords, are dripping in references to what might be called sacredness. Zoltan Balogh/EPA

Friday essay: popular music’s search for the sacred in a secular world

The enquiry into sacredness is not over, it’s just beginning for the 21st century, and in wildly disparate modes and places. In music, Nick Cave, Hozier and Dr G. Yunupingu have led the way.
Leonard Cohen in 2008, just before he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

As a writer-musician, Leonard Cohen was a one-off

Perhaps more clearly than Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen showed that songwriting can be a literary art. Within his apparently simple words lies a profound sense of playfulness and enigma.
Leonard Cohen in 2012 accepting an award for his song lyrics. Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Goodbye Leonard, you brought us so much light

Leonard Cohen, who has died at 82, had both a tragic vision and a voice that was warm, funny and closely observant. His unique gaze helped fans see the world anew.

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