Jim Doss | Sykesville, MD United States | 01/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It took me quite a few listens to warm up to this CD. Cohen's voice, which has never been strong, seems to have faded to raspy whisper. The backup singers take on a much larger role than any other CD and seem to be required to carry the melody on some songs, while others are spoken word poems. The CD is filled the typical Cohen somberness, but this time delivered with a lack energy. The addition of the live version of "The Tennessee Waltz" with its steel guitars seems out of place compared to the subdued tone of the rest of the album. Highlights of the CD include "Go No More A-Roving," "Because Of," "The Letters," and "Villanelle For Our Time." All-in-all, a mildly disappointing effort from this cultural icon.
Those new to Cohen are better off starting with one of his first four albums-- the "Songs" trilogy and "New Skin for the Old Ceremony.""
Intriguing, But Certainly Not Classic
Robert L. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 04/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Leonard Cohen's dense, sometimes morbid work can be an acquired taste, whether you're reading his two novels, perusing his several books of poetry, or listening to his albums of mournful, hyper-literate songs. Until now, however, any excursion into Cohen's shadowy world has always been worth the ride. Cohen is too meticulous a craftsman ever to release a truly mediocre album, but "Dear Heather" suffers from a distinct absence of heft. Although they are undeniably well-made, the songs and poems presented here seem to lack importance; none force you, as listener, to live more vividly in the world; none enrich your experience, in the way that early songs such as "Suzanne" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" did. Which is not to say that this album is bad, by any means. But I have been a Cohen fan for nearly thirty years, and this is the only Leonard Cohen record that I have ever found to be--quite frankly--somewhat forgetable. Neophytes would do better to begin with The Songs of Leonard Cohen, or with his bizzare-but-magnificent second novel, Beautiful Losers."
Ah- the old days...
Daniel Taylor | London, UK | 07/25/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"From a tragic LC fan- just saw LC live in London and he was awesome- brought the wisdom and power of age to the old and even older lyrics! But this album lacks any sort of spark at all and is inconsistent in style. He CAN still sing as he showed in London- but doesn't even try in this album. But then to expect continued creativity at 70+ is maybe too much! Reading poetry in an album just pisses me off. And actually, that was the one moment when he didn't get rapturous applause at the gig- when he recited poetry for a few minutes. Still I'll get it out now and then probably...it's not awful, not kinda average. His worst I think."
Beguiling album, one that grows on you over time...
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 05/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many have written that this album is minor Leonard Cohen, but the more I listen to it, the more it grows in depth, sadness, poetry, and beauty. I find myself breaking it out a lot more than some of his other, better known works.
There are many pleasures in this thirteen song set. The songs are much shorter than the previous albums, but it works well here. The opener, Go No More A-Roving, is a wonderful way to start off the album. Cohen puts a Lord Bryon poem to music! Then it just gets better. The beauty of the song "Because Of" is quite beguiling and tender. I love the song Villanelle For Out Time. It started out a capella, but goes into a beautiful arrangement. Nightingale is adorable, with a beautiful musical arrangement with a Jew's harp (and wonderfully sad, moving lyrics), and the song The Faith (based on a Quebec folk song) is deeply moving and majestic. The extra live track, an arrangement of Tennessee Waltz, is enthusiastically performed. This isn't the first time Cohen has covered a standard. His version of Irving Berlin's Always off The Future is wonderful, too.
All Cohen fans should pick this one up, but don't expect to be blown away by it. It will grow on you very gradually, but you'll adore it."