Leonard Cohen will commemorate his 80th birthday next month by releasing a new LP entitled Popular Problems. While Cohen’s representative could not confirm the album, word of the release dropped last week at Leonard Cohen Event 2014, an officially sanctioned fan convention held in Dublin. There’s also a September 22nd release date for Popular Problems listed on Amazon France.
“Leonard has worked hard on his next studio album of entirely new songs,” read a foreword to the event booklet written by Jarkko Arjatsalo, a finnish accountant that runs Cohen’s authorized fan site The Leonard Cohen Files and serves as a liaison between the singer and his fan community. “He asked me to let you know that Popular Problems will be out at the end of September, shortly after his 80th birthday.”
In an e-mail to Rolling Stone, Arjatsalo confirmed the statement and said he received the information “directly from Leonard.” When news hit Cohen’s fan community, Arjatsalo posted to clarify Cohen’s upcoming plans. “There are no tour plans!” he wrote. “We are now looking forward to a great new studio album.”
Cohen publicly thanked Arjatsalo for his tireless work at a 2012 show in the webmaster’s hometown of Helsinki. “There was someone from this town that began a website called The Leonard Cohen Files,” he said. “Through his efforts, my work was kept alive for all these years. The man’s name is Jarkko Arjatsalo. I want to thank him for the spectacular effort he’s made on my behalf. I am deeply grateful.”
Cohen’s last album was 2012’s Old Ideas, though in the year leading up to the album’s release, the singer-songwriter unveiled new songs onstage that failed to make the album. “I rehearsed some other songs on the road – new songs that didn’t make it onto the record,” he told Rolling Stone in 2012. “So I have a new record [after this one], at least two-thirds of it, anyway.”