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Rock - Released October 21, 2016 | Columbia

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Given the subject matter addressed in the title and other tracks on You Want It Darker and Leonard Cohen's advanced age (82), it's tempting to hear this as a last album. In advance of its release, he told The New Yorker he was ready to die, but later walked back that comment. He wrote some of songs solo, and others with Sharon Robinson and Patrick Leonard. In declining health, and required to sing from a medically designed chair, Cohen enlisted his son Adam to produce. Cohen's sepulchral voice expresses a wealth of emotion. He is weathered but defiant in acknowledging failures, regrets, brokenness, and even anger. Typically, redemption arrives in these songs with unflinching honesty. The title track is introduced by a choir and a foreboding bassline, its lyrics as much an indictment of human concepts of religion as a confessional reflection, balanced by personal doubt and acceptance. Cantor Gideon Y. Zelermyer engages with the sacred even as Cohen wrestles with it. For every, "Hineni, Hineni/I'm ready my Lord…" there is a counter: "...Magnified and sanctified/Be thy Holy Name/Vilified and crucified/In the human frame/A million candles burning/For the help that never came…." In the final verse he asserts: "If you are the dealer/I want out of this game," but Zelermyer and the choir answer and carry him with resolute devotion. "Treaty" recalls the melody of "Anthem" as piano, synth strings, and chorale highlight the poignancy in his lyric. Cohen equates the past with earned insights and an offer of amends: "We sold ourselves for love but now we're free/I'm sorry for the ghost I made you be…." "Leaving the Table" is a bittersweet country waltz where Cohen reveals things he no longer needs (even if he wishes he did), and underscores his impending exit: "I don't need a pardon/There's no one left to blame/I'm leaving the table/I'm out of the game." The intersection of blues, and Yiddish and gypsy folk on "Traveling Light" flows through bouzoukis, mandolins, and drum loops. Their union recalls the haunted musical qualities of 1984's Various Positions. In song after song, Cohen delivers lyric juxtapositions that settle scores with God, past lovers, and himself, but almost always arrives at equanimity. He sounds like a spent Jeremiah alone in a cave conversing with God rather than the biblical figure transported to heaven in a fiery chariot. After coming to terms with the ghosts in his past and his acceptance of mortality, Cohen emits a resilient flicker of hope for total reconciliation in the shadows. A tender reprise of "Treaty" is adorned only by strings and his vocals as he expresses hope for detente: "I wish there was a treaty/between your love and mine." Amid the list of gripes, sins, and losses detailed on You Want It Darker, Cohen remains open to whatever earthly light offers even as his gaze shifts toward the eternal. He makes no compromises. These songs reveal that when all contradictions are nakedly exposed, all one can do is embrace them. Whether this is or isn't goodbye, You Want It Darker is one hell of a record. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 21, 2016 | Columbia

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Rock - Released July 25, 1989 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
On Christmas 1967, upon the release of his first album, Leonard Cohen is already 33 years old and possesses a solid reputation as a writer. This is probably why the maturity of his incredibly refined folk album imposes its charm so firmly. Though the influence of Greenwich Village’s folk scene in the sixties is undeniably felt, the Canadian singer manages from the very beginning to impose the singularity (much like Dylan, whether we hate him or love him…) of his voice haunted by a kind of sadness. A voice and a gift for writing that bewitched producer John Hammond (who discovered legends such as Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin or Stevie Ray Vaughan), who signed him with Columbia. Songs Of Leonard Cohen starts off with the legendary Suzanne, made popular a few months earlier by Judy Collins’ beautiful cover. Gifted with a hypnotic monotone voice, and an ability to sublimate despair, love and blues of the soul, Leonard Cohen is a genre in and of himself. A nonchalance coupled to a rather dark melancholy, touches of strings here, of choirs there, almost in the background, his entire universe, which may seem arid at first, requires our full attention and contemplation to be fully enjoyed… © MZ/Qobuz
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Pop/Rock - Released September 19, 2014 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Leonard Cohen's Popular Problems is an uncharacteristically quick follow-up to 2012's Old Ideas. That record, cut in the aftermath of a multi-year tour, revitalized him as a recording artist. Producer Patrick Leonard (Madonna, Bryan Ferry) serves as co-writer on all but one tune on Popular Problems. While Cohen's sound has revolved around keyboards since 1988's I'm Your Man, Leonard gets that the real power in the songwriter's lyrics are best relayed through his own own simple melodies. Everything here -- keys, female backing chorus, acoustic instrumentation, etc. -- is in their service. As always, Cohen's songs -- delivered in his deepest earth rasp -- offer protagonists who are ambivalent spiritual seekers, lusty, commitment-phobic lovers, and jaded, untrusting/untrustworthy world citizens. He is them, they are him: strangers hiding in plain sight. Opener "Slow" is paced by a blues vamp from an electric piano and kick drum. "...You want to get there soon/I want to get there last..." is delivered in a streetwise croak. It's a fine career metaphor, but the hilarious double entendre is self evident, too: "...All your turns are tight/Let me catch my breath/I thought we had all night." "Almost Like the Blues" employs a 12-bar variant exoticized by hand percussion. Cohen juxtaposes visions of global horror with worry over bad reviews; he's culpable because of his vanity. Gospel provides illustration on some of the better songs -- there are no weak ones. It's used with razored effect on "Samson in New Orleans" to address the devastation -- physical, emotional, spiritual -- left by Hurricane Katrina. Cohen really attempts to sing "Did I Ever Love You." Though it comes out a measured growl, its impact is searing. It shifts from gospel to country jaunt only to circle back, underscoring the bitter, vulnerable truth in the lyric. He observes: "The lemon trees blossom/The almond trees wither," before asking: "Was I ever someone/Who could love you forever?"; he knows the answer. The keyboards and tablas in "Nevermind," a narrative of treachery and global hypocrisy, create skeletal, tense funk. They're appended by Donna De Lory's Arabic chant for peace and safety in contrast to the lyric's scathing accusations. Gospel returns on "Born in Chains," a gentle but gripping first-person account of spiritual seeking with references to Judaism, Christianity, and Cohen's adopted Zen: "...I've heard the soul unfolds/In the chambers of its longing...But all the Ladders of the Night have fallen/Only darkness now/To lift the longing up." On set closer "You Got Me Singing," Cohen, accompanied only by acoustic guitar and violin, lays out hope: "You got me singing even though the world is gone/You got me thinking I'd like to carry on." It's an open-ended, affirmative sendoff. Popular Problems reveals that at 80, Cohen not only has plenty left in the tank, but is at his most confident and committed. This is his finest recording since 1995's The Future. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 11, 1995 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop/Rock - Released July 25, 2014 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Leonard Cohen, has always possessed a droll, self-effacing sense of humor. He expresses it on the opening track of Old Ideas in the third person: "I love to speak with Leonard/He's a sportsman and a shepherd/He's a lazy bastard/Living in a suit...." It's just of the typical Cohen topical standards on offer here: spiritual yearning, struggle, love, loss, lust, and mortality are all in abundance, offered with the poet's insight. He is surrounded by friends on Old Ideas. Patrick Leonard, Dino Soldo, and Anjani Thomas get production and co-writing credits. Sharon Robinson, Dana Glover, Jennifer Warnes, and the Webb Sisters all appear on backing vocals. Cohen mixes up the musical forms more than he has in the past. The loungey electronic keyboards on "Going Home" are balanced by Glover's female backing chorale, an acoustic piano, and Bela Santelli's violin. The sly, minor-key Gypsy jazz groove on "Amen" is played by a banjo, violin, and Cohen's guitar; it tempers his searing lyric, which posits the notion that the totality of love, divine or otherwise, can only truly be achieved when the object of desire has seen his worst, metaphorically and literally. "Show Me the Place" finds Cohen once again adopting the Protestant hymnal as directly as he did on "Hallelujah" -- albeit more quietly -- and wedding it to his simple, direct melodic sensibility. The song is a prayer, not for redemption, but to enter the cloud of spiritual unknowing before his demise, to discover the terrain where suffering itself is birthed. Warnes' gorgeous backing vocals, piano, guitar, and violin accompany his beneath-the-basement, cracked-leather baritone in delivering the song with conviction and vulnerability. Cohen's live band joins him on "Darkness," where he evokes, musically, his love of both late-'40s R&B and gospel, even as he frankly discusses the inevitable entrance into the big goodnight. He also revisits the spartan sound of his early career with "Crazy to Love You," written with Thomas, on which his only accompaniment is his acoustic guitar. Here, he wrestles with an unwanted but nonetheless nagging attachment to erotic desire. "Come Healing" is another gospel-ized hymn, with Glover's vocals, church organ, violin, and Cohen's nearly croaking vocal; he sings with reverence: "O see the darkness yielding/That tore the light apart/Come healing of the reason/Come healing of the heart...." "Banjo" is a country-blues that gives the songwriter a chance to indulge his love for Hank Williams while reflecting on Hurricane Katrina as Soldo's New Orleans-inspired horns add a haunted effect to the tune. Cohen speaks not only for himself, but the ghosts of restless spirits wandering in his vision. "Lullabye"'s lyrics, accompanied by a high lonesome harmonica and a whispering jazz organ to counterintuitively offer an attempt at comfort to the disconsolate. "Different Sides," with its slow, loopy groove, is a basic shuffle that addresses unresolved conflict in lust and law (spiritual and carnal), bringing Old Ideas to a close with an ironic tension. Here Cohen meets his well-worn topics head-on. He doesn't sound weary; he accepts them for what they are--all aspects of the same thing: life itself. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 22, 2019 | Columbia - Legacy

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From beyond the grave, Leonard Cohen has returned with Thanks for the Dance, three years after the amazing record You Want It Darker. His previous album contained fiercely determined lyrics (“I’m ready my Lord”) and that dark deep voice that makes your hairs stand on end, all layered over choir and organ melodies. Cohen died in the night nineteen days later, on November 7th 2016. But the singer already had plans for the afterlife: a posthumous album. He entrusted the task to his son Adam, who had been involved with the production of what everyone thought was the master’s final work. Adam commented: “I know my father’s sound very well and we had already discussed the arrangements during the recording sessions for You Want It Darker.” Gathering together the nine songs that were deliberately set aside, both solo and with guitar, Adam Cohen called upon his faithful colleagues for the accompaniments. “Despite everything, I went through a phase of doubt. So I decided to call on all the talented artists from the last album, starting with Javier Mas, the Spanish guitarist who accompanied my father on stage.” We find Feist, Beck (on guitar), Daniel Lanois, Damien Rice and Patrick Watson. The opus unfolds in a sober key – with just guitar, mandolin, piano and choir – and it is utterly moving throughout. We are treated to The Hills and its powerful build, the light percussion in The Night of Santiago, the dazzling brilliance of The Goal and a humble invitation to ponder life in Listen to the Hummingbird: “Listen to the Hummingbird, don’t listen to me” he sings in the closing song. But above all, it is the Canadian’s deep voice that serves as raw material, exploring all his favourite themes: loneliness, disappearance, humility, Jewishness. After the curtain fell on You Want It Darker, it’s time for the curtain call. Masterful. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Pop - Released October 22, 2002 | Columbia

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. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released November 28, 2014 | Columbia

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Leonard Cohen seems singularly determined to document his adventures in live performances which began when he returned to the concert stage in 2008, and Live in Dublin is the third live album Cohen has released in just five years. Given how satisfying 2009's Live in London was, one might reasonably wonder how badly one would need another concert souvenir, especially in such a short period of time, but comparing Live in Dublin with Live in London and 2010's Songs from the Road, one can readily see how Cohen's live show has seasoned since he returned to duty. If Live in London documented an unexpectedly revitalized and engaging performer, Live in Dublin shows he's since grown into a showman in the best sense of the word. If Cohen seemed pleased to greet his audience in 2009, on this recording of a September 2013 concert, the venerable singer and songwriter delights in the push and pull between himself and those who've come out to see him, and his songs of love and Eros have actually become more vital as Cohen's performances have gained strength, confidence, and passion; if a sandy-voiced septuagenarian could ever make a convincing seducer, it's this guy. Cohen's voice is still as craggy as one might expect from a man of 79, but his phrasing is bold and well-considered, and if his instrument sounded better in the '70s, in the truest sense Cohen is singing better than he has in his life. Cohen's backing band has gone through a few changes since his version of the never-ending tour began, and the occasional horn solos and jazz fusion accents that appeared on Live in London have faded into a more elemental sound that serves the songs much better than before, with Alex Bublitchi's violin and Javier Mas' laud and bandurria accenting the arrangements beautifully. The interplay between Cohen and his backing vocalists Sharon Robinson, Charley Webb, and Hattie Webb has only become warmer and more satisfying over the space of five years, and with three hours of music, you can't say Cohen and his band aren't delivering value for your entertainment dollar. Line in Dublin reveals Leonard Cohen is actually growing and improving as a performer as his 80th birthday looms on the horizon, and this unexpected and welcome new chapter in his career continues to reap surprising and delightful rewards. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 10, 1990 | Columbia Nashville

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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released July 25, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released May 8, 2015 | Columbia

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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Leonard Cohen in the magazine