CD Review – Leonard Cohen “The Best Of”
I know this is not a new album…however it may deserve a second listen. I have enjoyed many hours of entertainment from this album that is something like reading one of Leonard’s poetry books, but, with music accompanying it.
The music and songs on this album/CD took place mostly in the 60’s & 70’s. This was light years before Leonard went “Euro-tech” in the late 1980’s with “I’m Your Man.” As time has marched on I think I prefer this older Cohen although I did see his “Man” tour in 1988. It was fantastic and certainly timely. But, if you want to calm your nerves and be contemplative as a Monk…I would recommend “Best of” instead.
The album starts with one of Leonard’s most famous songs: “Suzanne.” This song was made famous by Judy Collins back in the 1960’s. Then it’s on to: “The Sisters Of Mercy” which can also be found on the soundtrack of the Robert Altman film: “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.” The way Leonard’s early music fits on this old Western film attests to his versatility. “Bird On A Wire” is here and the CD may be worth buying just for this cut alone. Leonard unlike so many other artists draws you in with his toned down vocals & gut string guitar.
Other songs of note here: “Lady Midnight”, “The Partisan” & one of my favorites here: “Famous Blue Raincoat” in which he sings about “Jane” and signs off: “Sincerely, -L. Cohen.” Brilliant!
More excellent depressing music can be found on: “Last Year’s Man” in which you and Leonard can feel sorry for yourselves together. Of course I’m kind of half joking here but rarely does music allow so much empathy as old Leonard Cohen.
Then there is the famous: “Chelsea Hotel No.2” where Leonard speaks of Janis Joplin “Giving him head/On the unmade bed.” Quite a scene. (“While the limosines wait in the street”).
The album/CD ends with: “Take This Longing” an introspective song where Leonard lays back once again.
This album/CD is not for upbeat Abba fans! It is for intellectuals with a poetic bent. It is almost a learning experience to hear this work. If you really want to tune in and drop out…get it. I priced it at: Music Millennium here in Portland for: $8.99. A small price to pay for such a great work!