|All Artists: Leonard Cohen|
Title: Songs of Leonard Cohen/Songs of Life
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 11/29/2005
Album Type: Import
Genres: Folk, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Pieter | Johannesburg | 01/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1968). The lilting poetry of Suzanne lures the listener into Leonard Cohen's world of romantic despair while introducing the essence of his sound: a deep monotone voice framed by sublime female backing vocals over simple but engaging melodies. Master Song, Winter Lady and Stranger Song reinforce the desolate landscape although the melodies are less immediate. Cohen's genius shines brightly on the immortal Sisters Of Mercy, a strange mixture of the spiritual and the sensual that must be one of the most beautiful song-poems in the English language. This delicate gem is followed by the poignant and evocative So Long Marianne and the understated Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye, both masterpieces of words, melody and arrangement - the female vocals on Goodbye is especially impressive.
Songs Of Love And Hate (1971). The intimate Famous Blue Raincoat was beautifully covered by Jennifer Warnes on her album of the same name which also contains a duet with Cohen on a longer version of the majestic Joan Of Arc. Sing Another Song Boys is Cohen at his bitter best, its harsh chorus atypical of the image of the subdued folkie but pointing to later songs like Lover Lover Lover on 1974's New Skin For The Old Ceremony. Diamonds In The Mine is in the same vein, where the celestial female vocals are particularly effective in balancing Cohen's raw vocals on this song with its stunning imagery. (In retrospect, in tone and delivery these two songs are not too far removed from tracks like Iodine or Paper-Thin Hotel on his much-criticized Phil Spector produced album Death Of A Ladies Man). With astonishing elegance and simplicity, the haunting melodies, poetic lyrics and ragged voice have a way of establishing themselves in the consciousness of the listener.
Few other artists touch the strings of the soul in the way that Cohen does. Perhaps Richard Thompson comes close now and again, as do Nick Drake, Lou Reed on Berlin, Nick Cave sometimes and definitely Swans and Angels Of Light. These two legendary albums will never be equalled.