Leonard Cohen
Mar 7, 2005 at 10:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

AdamWill

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So, purely cos I'm bored and I don't remember seeing anyone else mention him here since I joined...

Leonard Cohen is fantastic. Discuss.
 
Mar 7, 2005 at 10:17 PM Post #2 of 20

markl

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I have all his albums. I would qualify that by adding, "...early Leonard Cohen is fantatsic." Have you actually listened to Dear Heather, his latest? A very worthless "effort" (or lack thereof), a real waste of time, a pity. At this point he's *completely* given up on trying to sing.

I like everything he did up until I'm Your Man. Cohen has a fetish for antiquated and primitive synthesizers which he collects, but which were justifiably discarded ages ago because they SUCKED. His more recent efforts all suffer from those plinkety-plink, rinky-dink, squeeking, honking, bleeping, tiss-boom-tiss-boom CHEEZY synthesizers. Set the controls of your cheap little Yamaha for "bossa-nova" and *boom*, he has a "song".
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The "production values" (and I put that in quotes on purpose) of his recent work leaves a lot to be desired, IMHO. It really cheapens and wrecks his songs for me.

Personally, I would LOVE it, if he would record an all-acoustic album with REAL INSTRUMENTS. Just my own disgruntled opinion, FWIW.

If anyone wants specific recommendations on what versions of what albums to buy, I have them...
 
Mar 7, 2005 at 10:38 PM Post #3 of 20

pank2002

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I think Cohen is really cool -- that said I only have the essential double disc. Everybody knows and (of course) Hallelujah and the songs where he sings with a lady whom I don't know are fantastic (plus a lot of others which I don't know)
 
Mar 7, 2005 at 10:45 PM Post #4 of 20

AdamWill

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markl: yep, I have all his albums also. Dear Heather is odd but interesting, Ten New Songs was basically normal Cohen, and I *love* The Future, it's nuts enough to be great fun. Various Positions is my least favourite - IMHO it's definitely the Cohen album which suffered from '80s Syndrome' the most (not just the crappy synthesisers, but the frickin' *gospel choirs*...)

Recent Songs, Songs of Love and Hate, New Skin For The Old Ceremony, Death of a Ladies' Man (yes, Spectorisation and all) and The Future are my favourites.
 
Mar 8, 2005 at 3:13 AM Post #6 of 20

sno1man

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Cohen is a great writer/poet first and foremost (dear heather not withstanding) and is hit and miss as a recording artist.

He has also liked the odd bit of instrumentation from the beginning. The mouth harp in Bird on a Wire for example.

His best IMHO

1. Songs From a Room
2. Death of a Ladies Man
3. Recent Songs
4. The Future

If his voice is a bit tough to take, check out Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes doing Cohen songs. A terrific album made better by her singing. She also sings on several of his albums.

Another good one is a tribute album called "I'm Your Fan" which is more covers by the likes of REM and Nick Cave
 
Mar 8, 2005 at 5:53 AM Post #7 of 20

Nightfall

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markl said:
I have all his albums. I would qualify that by adding, "...early Leonard Cohen is fantatsic." Have you actually listened to Dear Heather, his latest? A very worthless "effort" (or lack thereof), a real waste of time, a pity. At this point he's *completely* given up on trying to sing.

Dead on Markl. What an utter waste of money "Dear Heather" was. His early work was absolutely inspired and hes written some of the finest songs of recent decades, but recent efforts have bordered on parody of his quality work.


JC
 
Mar 8, 2005 at 11:47 AM Post #8 of 20

catachresis

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@ Snoman: Grrrr, Death of a Lady's Man's a very scary album produced -- of course -- by de scariest Bad Mans in the record business, Phil Spector.

Yes, it's grand but shambolic, commencing with the Bossa "True Love Leaves No Traces" and then proceeding to demonstrate how every relationship leaves one irrevocably scarred and disfigured. Disco Anthem -- Don't Go Home with Your Hardon! Phil puts his gun to Lenny's head. Leonard says, "I love you too, Man." Very scary, Boys & Girls!
 
Mar 8, 2005 at 5:08 PM Post #10 of 20

sno1man

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Quote:

Originally Posted by catachresis
@ Snoman: Grrrr, Death of a Lady's Man's a very scary album produced -- of course -- by de scariest Bad Mans in the record business, Phil Spector.

Yes, it's grand but shambolic, commencing with the Bossa "True Love Leaves No Traces" and then proceeding to demonstrate how every relationship leaves one irrevocably scarred and disfigured. Disco Anthem -- Don't Go Home with Your Hardon! Phil puts his gun to Lenny's head. Leonard says, "I love you too, Man." Very scary, Boys & Girls!



I don't disagree with you. A lovely mess is another way of putting it. I hated it at first but have grown to appreciate it over the years. Considering when it was made I think that the music may have been over the top deliberately as a musical commentary. When even the idea of love hurts, this album resonates.

I saw him perform live in Santa Fe NM years ago, right after the future came out. He was terrific and he performed several songs from ladies. He introduced don't go home with the statement, "some of you will like this and some of you will head for the exits"

In any event i like it and he was the epitome of cool onstage that night. He made Robert Palmer look like a he got his clothing from Kmart
 
Mar 8, 2005 at 7:37 PM Post #11 of 20

AdamWill

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oh, another thing I forgot to mention - Field Commander Cohen is a fairly recently released live album of 1970s shows, which surprised me with the quality of both the performances and the recordings. I was always a bit worried he'd suck live (his live singing is famously a touch-and-go affair...there was an odd show on British radio about Cohen a few years ago, written by the comedian Arthur Smith, and one of his lines was something like 'despite only knowing four notes, Cohen frequently started off a live song by singing the wrong one'...:>)
 
Mar 8, 2005 at 10:25 PM Post #12 of 20

Andrea

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Ten New Songs -- an enchanting and 'fresh' album. It seems astonishing to me that at 75 years he was still able to touch such artistic heights.
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Mar 8, 2005 at 10:48 PM Post #13 of 20

sno1man

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AdamWill
oh, another thing I forgot to mention - Field Commander Cohen is a fairly recently released live album of 1970s shows, which surprised me with the quality of both the performances and the recordings. I was always a bit worried he'd suck live (his live singing is famously a touch-and-go affair...there was an odd show on British radio about Cohen a few years ago, written by the comedian Arthur Smith, and one of his lines was something like 'despite only knowing four notes, Cohen frequently started off a live song by singing the wrong one'...:>)


Thats an interesting album, not one of my favorites. I think that it was studio sweetened to the max if I remember correctly from the time and that takes a way a lot for me. The song choice is quite good though.

When I saw him perform his singing was not great, but it didn't matter for some reason. I guess there is a lot to be said for presence and charisma. (he was with Rebecca DeMornay at the time)
 
Mar 9, 2005 at 8:42 PM Post #14 of 20

AdamWill

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sno1man
Thats an interesting album, not one of my favorites. I think that it was studio sweetened to the max if I remember correctly from the time and that takes a way a lot for me. The song choice is quite good though.


Aha, that would definitely explain it. Curse you for telling me, I was living in blissful ignorance.
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Mar 10, 2005 at 1:05 PM Post #15 of 20

Riordan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I can't believe another generation is talking about Leonard Cohen as if he were only 20 instead of 60+!!! Tea and Oranges all the way.
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actually he's 70+, almost in a league of his own... he is older than jerry lee lewis, and was born before elvis presley!

as others have said, great man, fantastic poet, fine singer, good composer, with an abysmally awful taste in instrumentation. if someone in the seventies had smashed his evil plinkaplonka toys and either forced him to use the guitar or provide him with REAL electronica equipment, he would have done the man and us a great service.
 

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