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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs to send shivers, March 17 2010
By 
J. Bonder "A Sound Painter" (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs Of (Rm) (Ltd.Ed) (Audio CD)
2 reviews!?! I'd like to think the lack of reviews for this album merely indicates the difficulty of expressing in words the profound impact of these songs, a task perhaps only fit for the wordsmith Mr. Cohen himself. This album touches a sensitive nerve with me every time I listen to it, and it's one of the few that can reduce me to tears again and again. Not only does it strike a chord with me again and again, but it somehow manages to escalate in impact and profundity with each listen as the mysteries contained within reveal themselves gradually. Perhaps not everyone will feel this way, but there's something about Cohen's ability to convey very complex feelings and human conundrums through abstract yet direct poetics, and sparse but exacting musical backing which cuts me to the quick.

While Cohen has had a consistently strong career, always creating excellent material of a standard other artists would be lucky to even come close to, this first album is arguably his strongest. Each album is strong in its own way, and comparing them misses the point, but this album manages to move me more than any of the others (Songs of Love and Hate and Songs From a Room come close). This may just be personal bias or preference, this being my introduction to Mr. Cohen, and having heard it at a time and place that left me open to its devastating impact. But I challenge anyone to listen with an open mind to "One of us cannot be wrong" and defy them to keep from shivering or all out weeping. Listen to "Sisters of mercy" and you can't deny being buoyed by its sense of sensual deification and grace. Listen to "The stranger song" and try not to be intrigued by the mysteries like "...a highway, curling just like smoke above his shoulder." I could go on, but again, there's only so much one can say about this incredible album. It would take the words of Mr. Cohen himself to convey the emotional impact these songs can have on an interested mind and an open heart.

Just a word about the remastered version: Sound quality is top notch and a marked improvement over the old CD version, with the sparse arrangements coming forward, filling and leaving space perfectly. The bonus tracks are a very nice addition and a pleasure to hear, though they are somewhat less "necessary" than any of the original songs. Either way, a great buy and a very worthwhile replacement of the old columbia CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, Sept. 20 2012
Exactly what you'd expect, just like an original pressing, only new. The album to listen to if you want to know Leonard Cohen, the first one sets the tone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Cohen at his finest, June 6 2012
By 
Dustin C. Wheatley "DOrange" (Saskatchewan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Songs Of (Rm) (Ltd.Ed) (Audio CD)
This is Leonard Cohen's first solo release, and is arguably his finest. Although some of his later releases contained more developed music, it is the simplicity of this album that makes it essential. Some may argue that Leonard Cohen topped this album with his late 1980's work such as I'm Your Man, Although those songs on those albums are very excellent, this is his best overall album. I would recommend this to any fan of Neil Young or Bob Dylan, or anyone who liked Leonard Cohen's later work. My favorite song is So Long, Marianne, but the most famous song on this album is probably Suzanne. It is the perfect combination of lyrics and music that make this worthwhile, so pick it up soon!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful debut album, April 13 2010
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is the legendary debut. The lilting poetry of Suzanne lures the listener into Cohen's world of spiritual and romantic yearning while introducing the essence of his sound: a deep monotone 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 devotional and the sensual that must be one of the most beautiful musical poems in the English language.

This delicate gem is followed by the powerful 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 are especially impressive.

Stories of the Street appears as a poem in one of Cohen's 1960s poetry books: Selected Poems 1956-1968 and deals with a visit to Havana during or just after the revolution. Interesting fact: The line "some girls wander by mistake" from Teachers was later used as an album title by the goth band Sisters Of Mercy: Some Girls Wander By Mistake

One Us Cannot Be Wrong addresses the beloved in a series of strange images before moving on to melodic whistling and ending with bitter shouted la la lahs. For those interested in other artists' take on Cohen: Suzanne has been beautifully covered by inter alia Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy and Geoffrey Oryema: I'm Your Fan, while Sting and the Chieftains' celtic version of Sisters Of Mercy is available on the Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen tribute album.

On the I'm Your Fan tribute there are interesting interpretations of Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye by Ian McCulloch, Stories Of The Street by That Petrol Emotion and So Long Marianne by James. Stirring live versions of Sisters Of Mercy, So Long Marianne & Suzanne appear on the Live In London CD & DVD of 2008.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Debut Album, July 2 2008
This review is from: Songs Of (Rm) (Ltd.Ed) (Audio CD)
Flawless. Perfect. Awesome. Not a bad song. Lyrically brilliant. Cold, despairing, warm, optimistic and deep.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Original masterpiece enhanced, May 15 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Songs Of (Rm) (Ltd.Ed) (Audio CD)
Cohen's timeless debut has been enhanced by the addition of 2 extra tracks. The lilting poetry of Suzanne lures the listener into his world of romantic despair while introducing the essence of his sound: a deep monotone 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 musical poems in the English language.

This delicate gem is followed by the powerful 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.

Stories of the Street appears as a poem in one of Cohen's 1960s poetry books: Selected Poems 1956-1968 and deals with a visit to Havana during of just after the revolution. Interesting fact: The line "some girls wander by mistake" from Teachers was later used as an album title by the goth band Sisters Of Mercy.

One Us Cannot Be Wrong addresses the beloved in a series of strange images before moving on to melodic whistling and ending with bitter shouted la la lahs. For those interested in other artists' take on Cohen: Suzanne has been beautifully covered by inter alia Judy Collins and Geoffrey Oryema, while Sting and the Chieftains' celtic version of Sisters Of Mercy is available on the Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen tribute album.

On the I'm Your Fan tribute there are interesting interpretations of Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye by Ian McCulloch, Stories Of The Street by That Petrol Emotion and So Long Marianne by James.

This reissue booklet includes liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis, three black & white photographs of LC and two full-color paintings by the artist. Both extra tracks were originally produced by John Hammond and for reissue by Bruce Dickinson. The second, Blessed Is The Memory, is the more immediately appealing with its lovely organ flourishes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, Oct. 22 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Songs of Leonard Cohen (Audio CD)
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. The music sounds as if it is divinely inspired.

I also recommend Democracy: Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen, to enjoy her beautiful interpretations of Suzanne, Sisters Of Mercy and Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye. She was the first to cover his songs. Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes is another sublime tribute album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, Aug. 13 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Songs of Leonard Cohen (Audio CD)
This 1968 album was Cohen's debut and remains one of his finest. The lilting poetry of Suzanne lures the listener into a 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. The timeless appeal of these compositions is proven by the countless cover versions down the years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect recording., May 4 2004
By 
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
This is a perfect recording, Cohen's best. It's one of the 10 best recordings of the 1960s. This record changed the face of popular music for decades to come. I can think of so many, who came out of this one recording directly or indirectly...even today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gold standard then, a platinum standard now, March 19 2004
By 
Judy Miller (New Orleans area, Louisiana United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
I listened to Leonard Cohen when I was in my teens and early twenties. I loved Suzanne, Bird on the Wire and other Cohen songs with some level of appreciation. Thirty years later, after hearing In My Secret Life on The L Word on Showtime, I was drawn back to Leonard Cohen. I bought this cd and found on it songs that have weathered better than I have. After sailing life's seas, I found them like a lot more wise and rich than I did earlier. Listening to this compilation is like biting into a great deli sandwich piled high with rich tasty ingredients--a feast for the mind and heart, worthy of playing over and over again long after the sandwich wrapping is gone.
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