The Essential Leonard Cohen

The Essential Leonard Cohen

by Leonard Cohen

CD(Remastered / Special Edition)

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The tracks on this two-CD, 31-song anthology, spanning Cohen's career from his 1967 debut album through 2002's Ten New Songs, were chosen by Cohen himself. It could thus be regarded as an accurate mirror of how Cohen sees his own career path and catalog highlights. And there are many of the songs you would expect from any decent Cohen retrospective: "Suzanne," "Sisters of Mercy," "So Long Marianne," "Bird on a Wire," "Famous Blue Raincoat," and "I'm You're Man," for instance. Still, the balance and selection isn't ideal. There's just one song ("Famous Blue Raincoat") from Songs of Love and Hate, and no songs at all from Death of a Ladies Man. Cohen's 1988-2002 period is arguably overrepresented, with about half of the package's tunes dating from that era. And because his later period is so prominently featured, most listeners won't be able to get around the fact that his voice declined in expressive range in the later years, and his material was less striking than his best early songs. Still, for those who've enjoyed Cohen all along, it's a good dose of much of his better work, and certainly doesn't skimp on the running time, with each of the discs lasting 78 minutes.

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The Essential Leonard Cohen 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
There was a British sitcom called "The Young Ones" and one of the characters, a depressed hippie named Neil once remarked, "I would say something right now but it wouldn't do any good because nobody every listens to me anyway. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record!" While it's true that Leonard Cohen's albums haven't sold all that much, his talent and his influence has now become undeniable. If people wonder where alternative rock performers like Morrissey, Hope Sandoval and The Jesus & Mary Chain got some of their inspiration from, they can look straight to Leonard Cohen. The Canadian-bred singer-songwriter originally wanted to be just a poet. Yet, his songs can be considered poetry. Nearly all of his songs deal with lost love, missed opporutnities and even death. Compared to the beginning of his career, Cohen's voice has become deeper, almost Barry White deep, you might say. But would White ever do a song about terrorism like "First We Take Manhattan"? Or "A Singer Must Die"? For those coming late to discover Cohen's talent, "The Essential Leonard Cohen" is an excellent place to start. It covers every aspect of his career, including when he was almost pidgeonholed into being a folksinger on songs like "Suzanne" and "That's No Way To Say Goodbye". There are a few songs that are now familiar to people since they have been included in a number of movies, such as "Hallelujah" (in the movie "Shrek") and "Waiting For A Miracle" (in the movie "Natural Born Killers"). There is also a 3.0 version of this collection that features a third disc of worthy material, including "Death Of A Ladies' Man", Cohen's aborted sessions with producer Phil Spector, which sounds unusually like a Pink Floyd song. The 3.0 version is worth having just to hear that. True, Cohen's subject matter, which is rife with sadness, is not for everyone. Yet, you listen to any Cohen song and you know right away that it's him and only him. How many singers today are capable of doing that?
mikewalk More than 1 year ago
Simply one of the best songwriters of the past 50 years. Unique in his material and presentation
Anonymous More than 1 year ago