The keyboardist-producer who helped shape Madonna's work in the late 1980s has given Leonard Cohen's new album Popular Problems a consistently bluesy tone full of keyboards, horn sections and an occasional solo violin. Patrick Leonard, who co-wrote three songs on Cohen's last album, co-wrote eight of the nine songs on Popular Problems, which Columbia Records will release Sept. 23, two days after Cohen turns 80. The pair also has half of another album in the can.
"It was a very agreeable collaboration because of an absence of ego and an abundance of musical ideas on Patrick's part," Cohen explained during an interview with Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum, after the album was played at the residence of the Canadian Consulate.
"I would have a rhythm in mind and a position" on tempo and accompaniment, Cohen noted. "I had the function of the veto. Most of the musical ideas were Patrick's, with a bit of modifications. Whether there were horns or violin, all of those things were decided mutually."