Leonard Cohen‘s gritty and soulful meditation on aging, “Traveling Light,” soundtracks a powerful new lyric video filled with archival and previously unseen footage.
Cohen’s son, Adam, crafted the clip with Sammy Slabbinck, the musician’s creative collaborator on his final album, You Want It Darker. The “Traveling Light” clip opens with a shot of Cohen smoking a cigarette on a balcony and noting with casual dark humor, “I feel a lot stronger, but I’m actually a lot weaker … I wake up in my bed and I feel like, ‘That’s how I used to feel.’ Not exactly but, you know. And then I swing my legs off the bed and I try to stand up!”
The rest of the video comprises a meticulous montage, with old and new footage of Cohen overlapping as he growls over soft guitar, “I’m traveling light, it’s au revoir/ My once so bright, my fallen star/ I’m running late, they’ll close the bar/ I used to play one mean guitar.”
Cohen died last November at the age of 82, less than a month after releasing You Want It Darker. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Adam Cohen spoke about making the record with his father, despite his worsening health.
“At times I was very worried about his health, and the only thing that buoyed his spirits was the work itself,” Cohen said. “And given the incredible and acute discomfort he was suffering from in his largely immobilized state, [creating this album] was a great distraction.”