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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful debut album
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...
Published on April 13 2010 by Pieter Uys

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars so I was disappointed.
I was expecting a vinyl record, not a cd, so I was disappointed.
Published 3 months ago by Heather Hutchinson


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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
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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 Original masterpiece enhanced, May 15 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Songs of Leonard Cohen (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
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Wine and Bread, July 3 2003
By 
Levi Stofer (Lawrenceville, GA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
The first album of Leonard Cohen is his best. Moody, mysterious, dark, romantic, and spooky. Yes, spooky. Songs of Leonard Cohen are all of these and more. His deep nasal voice mixed with John Simon's light soundscapes is timeless. This is truly a classic recording that should be owned by any fan of music. This is not simply folk music. It is excellent poetry, beautifully arranged instrumentation, and simply haunting music.
What really draws me into Cohen's music is the way he uses biblical imagery to tell interesting stories. "Just some Joseph looking for a manger...", "And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water..." As a Christian, I found this very intriguing, especially how his songs may or may not have anything to do with these references at all.
I have listened to other Cohen recordings, but this is Leonard in his purest form. This is not music to work out to, but if you are in the mood to relax or listen to something light that makes you think, this would be one of the top ten albums in that category.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, June 11 2003
By 
S. Sroczynski "stevenuccj" (Boston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
And I don't use that work very often when describing albums. In fact, I feel as though the word "masterpiece" is thrown around too often and too loosely by many reviewers, but the word unquestionably applies to Cohen's debut album.
"Suzanne," "So Long Marianne" and "Hey Thats No Way to Say Goodbye" are songs you may or may not know with singalong choruses and beautiful imagery.
"The Master Song," "The Stranger Song," "Stories of the Street" and "One of Us Cannot be Wrong" are intense lyrical works. "Master" and "Stranger" might be the highlights of the album for me. Cohen effortlessly speaks of weird, scary, romantic visions of the isolation and pain of being alone or aloof, with some moments of ecstatic joy thrown in every now and then.
"Teachers" blends a vicious Spanish-based lead guitar with a speedy rhythm riff and a vocal by Cohen that sounds scary and deeply unsettling at times.
For those who haven't heard this, you're missing out on a staggering work of lyrical and musical excellence. Cohen himself could never match this effort, even 30 years later.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE ORIGINAL MASTERPIECE, May 22 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Songs Of (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 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 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 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 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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mood music for dusks and dawns, July 19 2002
By 
Brooke Pennington "Renaissance girl" (Pocatello, ID USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
When a friend of mine asked me to make a "Best of Leonard Cohen" CD for her, I had to fight the urge to simply copy this album for her and tack a few later gems like "Everybody Knows", "Chelsea Hotel #2", and "Waiting for the Miracle" onto the end. As an English scholar, I firmly believe that this man is the most evocative lyricist modern music has yet produced. This album is not marred by the lackluster filler songs (think of "Jazz Police") that his later albums contain. For whatever reason, he has hit the mark with every song here, and when Leonard Cohen hits the mark it reminds me of why I believe humans create art in the first place. My memories of this album are chiefly associated with hearing it while driving through Indiana in the middle of the night, with flatness all around me, smoking a whole pack of cigarettes in two hours and being unable to find a motel with any vacancy. This album made me think, "Someone else out there knows what I'm feeling and expressing it even better than I could." And I felt more alive and human knowing that there was someone who I could make that emotional connection with. And that is why I think humans create art.

Cohen's most sincere poetry is here, in songs like "Suzanne", "So Long, Marianne", and "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye". Somehow, while giving these women names and very specific personalities, Cohen paradoxically makes you feel that he is singing about the woman who just left you, or whom you just left. This is not an album to listen to lightly or at parties, unless they're two-person wine-and-weep parties with your closest friend in the world. It demands your attention in the same way that a whisper in a loud room can make everyone shut up and listen to who's whispering.
I suppose this record is not for everyone, though I've never met anyone in that group. Cynics, fans of simplistic pop lyrics, and those who dissect songs as if they were algorithms may want to look elsewhere. But for anyone who's ever just felt alone, or who has realized too late that all love ends, or anyone young who thinks that no one understands their desire to run off into a field at midnight and just scream because there's so much pain in the world, this is a record to own. Trust me, Leonard feels the same way. And that, somehow, makes it just a little bit easier to take.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Cohen enters the world of music, Dec 6 2001
By 
P. Nicholas Keppler "rorscach12" (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
Leonard Cohen had always been nervous about entering the music business. He had been composing songs long before he started his career as a novelist and poet but his dry, croaky voice and gloomy songwriting style always led him to believe there would be little market his work in the Chuck Berry-based world of popular music in the nineteen-fifties and early sixties. That changed when Bob Dylan and the folk-rock movement of the mid-sixties proved that stark production, an unspectacular voice, a sole and somber acoustic guitar and a set of seriously inspired and graceful verses could muster magic and find a fanbase. When July Collins scored a hit with Cohen's song, "Suzanne" in 1966, the writer finally decided to try his hand at recording his debut album.
The first take on Cohen's distinct musical vision was an excellent one. Cohen muses about the gentle beauty of love ("Sisters of Mercy," "Suzanne") and the warm safety of illusion ("The Stranger Song," "Winter Lady") and howls at the desolation of betrayal, loneliness and loss ("Stories of the Street," "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong," "So Long Marianne"). The listener always feels as if he or she is with the artist and his cast of abused and abusive lovers, walking through their gray, wintery world. The utter iciness of Songs of Leonard Cohen can become a bit tedious but the fine story telling, shocking intimacy and levels of lyrical cleverness and elegance virtually unknown to Cohen's folk rock peers ("I loved you in the morning/Our kisses deep and warm/Your hair upon the pillow/Like a sleepy golden storm/Yes many loved before us/I know that we are not new/In city and in forest they smiled like me and you/But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie/Your eyes are soft with sorrow/Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.") nicely save it.
Despite its merit, Songs of Leonard Cohen did not bring Cohen a sizable audience or a significant standing in the folk rock world (There was not yet a sect of that flowery, sentimental world for work as dark as Cohen's). It did, however, provide him a small, cult audience for whom he could comfortably record follow-ups to Songs of Leonard Cohen. But the singer would, to this day, remain a lone wolf. The talent, skill and originality that would always set this shadowy, sullen figure apart and above the typical folky was already in full bloom on his stunning debut.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "God's first album", Aug. 10 2001
By 
Bill R. Moore (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
An astonishingly accomplished debut album, Songs is considered by many to this day to be Leonard Cohen's finest album. With more than a decade's worth of poetry and novel writing under his belt, not to mention having written Suzanne, already a hit by two different people before Cohen himself put it out, it's really no surprise that Leonard made as fine an album as he did here. The album opens beautifully with the aformentioned Suzanne, a song which surely needs no introduction, and it continues on with fine songs throughout. Some of them, such as Master Song and The Stranger Song, astound with their poetry; and some in other ways, such as Teachers with it's breathless delivery and interesting musical backing, and So Long, Marianne with it's beautiful arrangement of acoustic guitar, female backing vocals, and pounding drums. This is an astonishing, touching, heart-breaking, and yet redemptory album. I've seen this album come out on top in polls such as "Best Lyrics On An Album" and things like that, and, I don't hesistate to say, it deserves it. A masterpiece, a must-own.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like No Other Album, Like No Other Artist, June 19 2001
By 
"marleyscott" (Long Island, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs Of (Audio CD)
Orginally released in 1968, The Songs of Leonard Cohen was an album like nothing else comming out at that time. Then again, Leonard Cohen is artist like no one else before him. This was a time when political cynicism was echoed in the lyrics of Country Joe's Super Bird, (an ode to LBJ) and Dylan's Rainy Day Woman tested the airwaves with the refrain "everybody must get stoned".
So what was it about the ultra-cool Canadian with the stoic attitude and monotone voice that was so captivating? To begin with the songs were plaintive, desperate, at times almost suicidal. The deeply religious overtones added to the mystery of the entire experience. In short this collection of poems was so profound, I can remember listening to it almost exclusively for three or four months. Even today, when I play The Songs of Leonard Cohen, I become so engrossed, so enraptured, that I drop everything and have to listen to it in its entirety, without interruption. I honestly can't say that about any other album.
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