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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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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 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/Rock - Released September 19, 2014 | Columbia

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Rock - Released December 11, 1995 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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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 July 25, 2014 | 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/Rock - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 3, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 10, 1990 | Columbia Nashville

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Leonard Cohen's first album was an unqualified triumph which announced the arrival of a bold and singular talent, and many who heard it must have wondered what Cohen could do for an encore. By comparison, Cohen's second album, 1969's Songs from a Room, was something of a letdown. While it's a fine LP, it ultimately feels neither as striking nor as assured as Songs of Leonard Cohen. Bob Johnston stepped in as producer for Songs from a Room, and his arrangements are simpler than those John Simon crafted for the debut, but they're also full of puzzling accents, such as the jew's harp that punctuates several tracks, the churchy organ line in "The Old Revolution," and the harsh synthesizer flourishes on "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes." Johnston also had trouble coaxing strong vocal performances from Cohen; his singing here sounds tentative and his meter is uncertain, which regardless of how one feels about Cohen's much-debated vocal prowess is not the case with his other work. And finally, the quality of the songs on Songs from a Room is less consistent than on Songs of Leonard Cohen; as fine as "Bird on a Wire," "You Know Who I Am," "The Story of Isaac" and "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" may be, "The Butcher" and "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes" simply aren't up to his usual standards. Despite the album's flaws, Songs from a Room's strongest moments convey a naked intimacy and fearless emotional honesty that's every bit as powerful as the debut, and it left no doubt that Cohen was a major creative force in contemporary songwriting. © Mark Deming /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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Folk/Americana - Released October 26, 2004 | Columbia

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There is an air of finality on Leonard Cohen's Dear Heather. Cohen, who turned 70 in September of 2004, offers no air of personal mortality -- thank God; may this elegant Canadian bard of the holy and profane live forever. It nonetheless looks back -- to teachers, lovers, and friends -- and celebrates life spent in the process of actually living it. The album's bookend tracks provide some evidence: Lord Byron's bittersweet "Go No More A-Roving," set to music and sung by Cohen and Sharon Robinson (and dedicated to Cohen's ailing mentor, Irving Layton), and a beautifully crafted reading of country music's greatest lost love song, "Tennessee Waltz." Cohen's voice is even quieter, almost whispering, nearly sepulchral. The tone of the album is mellow, hushed, nocturnal. Its instrumentation is drenched in the beat nightclub atmospherics of Ten New Songs: trippy, skeletal R&B and pop and Casio keyboard- and beatbox-propelled rhythm tracks are graced by brushed drums, spectral saxophones, and vibes, along with an all but imperceptible acoustic guitar lilting sleepily through it all. But this doesn't get it, because there's so much more than this, too. That said, Dear Heather is Cohen's most upbeat offering. Rather than focus on loss as an end, it looks upon experience as something to be accepted as a portal to wisdom and gratitude. Women permeate these songs both literally and metaphorically. Robinson, who collaborated with Cohen last time, is here, but so is Anjani Thomas. Leanne Ungar also lends production help. Cohen blatantly sums up his amorous life in "Because Of": "Because of a few songs/Wherein I spoke of their mystery/Women have been exceptionally kind to my old age/They make a secret place/In their busy lives/And they say, 'Look at me, Leonard/Look at me one last time.'" "The Letters," written with Robinson, who sings in duet, is a case in point, reflecting on a past love who has been "Reading them again/The ones you didn't burn/You press them to your lips/My pages of concern...The wounded forms appear/The loss, the full extent/And simple kindness here/The solitude of strength." "On That Day" is a deeply compassionate meditation on the violence of September 11 where he asks the question: "Did you go crazy/Or did you report/On that day...." It is followed by the spoken poem "A Villanelle for Our Time," with words by Cohen's late professor Frank Scott that transform these experiences into hope. "We rise to play a greater part/The lesser loyalties depart/And neither race nor creed remain/From bitter searching of the heart...." On "There for You," with Robinson, Cohen digs even deeper into the well, telling an old lover that no matter the end result of their love, he was indeed there, had shown up, he was accountable and is grateful. Cohen quotes his own first book, The Spice Box of Earth, to pay tribute to the late poet A.M. Klein. "Tennessee Waltz" is indeed a sad, sad song, but it is given balance in Cohen's elegant, cheerful delivery. If this is indeed his final offering as a songwriter, it is a fine, decent, and moving way to close this chapter of the book of his life. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released March 27, 2009 | Columbia

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Folk/Americana - Released September 10, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Given that Leonard Cohen's international concert tours of the late 2000s were prompted by the fact his former manager made off with his life's savings, only a curmudgeon would blame the man for trying to make the enterprise as profitable as possible. Roughly 14 months after releasing Live in London, which preserved Cohen's July 2008 performance at London's 02 Arena, the venerable singer and songwriter presented Songs from the Road, featuring 12 tunes from his 2008 and 2009 concert dates. While Live in London captured the feel and flow of a single concert and featured most of Cohen's best-known songs, this set includes bits and pieces from 11 different shows, and while this album isn't exactly a collection of rarities, it does feature a number of lesser-known tunes (such as "Heart with No Companion" and "That Don't Make It Junk") and variant versions of some of his more famous numbers (Cohen juggles the order of the verses on "Suzanne" and adds a new verse to "Bird on a Wire"). While Live in London was a richly satisfying souvenir of Cohen's inspired comeback shows, Songs from the Road is less impressive in its more modest scale and less cohesive atmosphere. But the album still demonstrates that Cohen is a compelling and absorbing performer who brings his soul into every verse he sings, and his band is nothing less that superb; even when Dino Soldo's sax and Bob Metzger's guitar dip into jazz fusion sleepyland, they give Cohen just the musical support he needs, and the interplay between them and the vocalist is a marvel. Songs from the Road seems a bit pale compared to the excellence of Live in London, but both albums are enough to convince anyone that even at the age of 74, Leonard Cohen remains one of the most vital figures in contemporary music, and his gifts as a performer nearly match his abilities as a writer, no small accomplishment. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released April 23, 1987 | Columbia

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Rock - Released May 8, 2015 | Columbia

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