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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Today's Greatest Poets
As far as I am concerned Leonard Cohen is one of the greatest poets, living today.
I find his work uplifting, rhythmic, soothing and enlightening. Of course I cannot pretend to know Cohen's meaning behind many of his songs, that does not matter at all. Like with all great poetry, I rely on my own interpretation.
This CD is particularly ingenious.
Let me...
Published on July 17 2002 by Gary Selikow

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars frustrating
Laughin Lenny writes great simple melodies and brilliant complex lyrics, but he doesn't seem to take a firm hand when it comes to arranging and producing his records. When he's got sympathetic collaborators who give him folk arrangements, the albums are brilliant. When his collaborators try to bring him "up to date", the results can be very frustating.
The...
Published on July 31 2002 by glubak


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Today's Greatest Poets, July 17 2002
By 
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
As far as I am concerned Leonard Cohen is one of the greatest poets, living today.
I find his work uplifting, rhythmic, soothing and enlightening. Of course I cannot pretend to know Cohen's meaning behind many of his songs, that does not matter at all. Like with all great poetry, I rely on my own interpretation.
This CD is particularly ingenious.
Let me refer to a few of the songs on this compilation. It rings a real chord with me in this postmodern age, where it is so difficult to make sense of a world that seems to have become an Orwellian nightmare gone real.
First We Take Manhattan: deals with a man's frustration with being unable to make a difference in an uncaring, immoral society, and a dream of conquering the world to set things right. Of course it speaks of influence through music, a love that Leonard Cohen and me share. Leonard Cohen, although not an observant Jew, is quite obviously very conscious of his Jewish heritage. Take this line:
"I'd really like to live beside you baby, I love your body and your spirit and your clothes,. But you see that line moving through the station? I told you I was one of those'. This is particularly relevant at a time when hatred of Jews and Israel is greater in the world, than anytime since World War II
He generally takes a swipe at the shallowness of the world:
'I don't like your fashion business, mister. I don't like those drugs that keep you thin.'
Ain't no Cure For Love: A beautiful and passionate love ballad .His love songs have a profound and passionate depth and are nothing like 'those silly love songs' referred to in a song by Paul McCartney.
Everybody Knows: A strong indictment of the horrible predicament that the world finds itself in today. A seemingly complete absence of morality and spirituality, with a horrible blend of monopoly capitalism and Bolshevik political correctness dominating the world today. It touches on the coming AIDS epidemic, written in 1991, which now really is now wiping huge populations in the world today. He includes a powerful warning to change their morality and way of running. The song is almost telling us that the horrible prophecies of Orwell and Huxley are coming to pass.
I'm Your Man: A powerful song about the desperation born of love.
Take This Waltz: Strong imagery of Vienna there. I have visited that city and can strongly see that imagery in my mind, while listening: '
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows' -'in some hallway where love's never been'. Anyone who's explored Vienna can understand this. It's all about loneliness, deep depression and extreme emptiness in one of the worlds most intriguing and beautiful cities.
Jazz Police: All about the PC cultural commissars that tell us which music, art, literature etc we can and cannot like.
How about the last two songs on this album , I entirely leave up to you , gentle reader.But they are certainly hauntingly beautiful.
These are my interpretations. Others may see completely different things in them.
Finally the beauty of this compilation is enhanced by the haunting, sensual and powerful female vocals of Anjani and Jennifer Warnes.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cohen's Best, March 7 2009
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
This is Leonard Cohen's best album. While NOBODY in popular music - not Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan - has ever equalled Cohen's lyrics, and some would want to proclaim Songs of Leonard Cohen as his finest work, never before has this poetic genius recorded an album with four classics - First We Take Manhattan, Ain't No Cure For Love, I'm Your Man, and Tower of Song. Those songs are breathtaking!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're my man? Darn right you are!, June 11 2002
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
This album has a perfect title. When listening to Leonard Cohen, I frequently point to the CD player and excitedly exclaim "You da man, Leonard, you da man!" And he is da man, my man and the man for everyone who loves a sweet, sad ballad sung by a voice that drains every teardrop from the lyrics, and sets them to music that washes over you like rain. The man's a poet, I know it, and anyone who hears him will know it too. You da man, Leonard, you da man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lorca and more, Oct. 22 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
This 1988 work which followed 1984's Various Positions, is very much a pop album in tune and sound. Lyrically it has moments of profundity as in all of Cohen's work but there is a lighter touch. Although keyboards are prominent, John Bilezikjian & Raffi Hakopian whose inputs made Recent Songs so special, respectively embellish Everybody Knows and Take This Waltz.

Jazz Police & Everybody Knows were co-written by others while Take This Waltz is based on the Lorca poem Little Viennese Waltz. On every track Leonard's voice is supported by either Anjani Thomas or Jennifer Warnes, and by both on Ain't No Cure For Love. It is worth noting that First We Take Manhattan lacks the dramatic German newscast intro of the Jennifer Warnes interpretation on Famous Blue Raincoat.

The sing-along melody of Ain't No Cure For Love contrasts strikingly with Cohen's biblical imagery and references like: "It's written in the scriptures, it's written there in blood ..." And his version of Everybody Knows is still the best compared to all the covers, mainly due to the `oud' (oriental lute) of John Bilezikjian which adds a special dimension to the sound. The song was co-written by Sharon Robinson who later collaborated with Cohen on Ten New Songs.

Based on Federico Garcia Lorca's Pequeño Vals Vienés, the elegant Take This Waltz has an undulating mid-tempo arrangement that brings 1920s Vienna to life in striking imagery. It's an extraordinary tapestry of nature symbols tied to oblique expressions of yearning, ecstasy and sadness, e.g. "a garland of freshly cut tears." The tone is enhanced by Raffi Hakopian's violin and the voice of Jennifer Warnes.

Tower of Song has been interpreted by artists as diverse as Marianne Faithfull and Nick Cave and lent its title to a disappointing 1995 tribute album. The experimental track Jazz Police with its jerky arrangement, semi-spoken vocal and absurd lyrics is not one of LC's lyrical or musical masterpieces but it does display some impressive instrumental flourishes.

Judging by the many cover versions, these songs are popular under musicians; two are covered on Famous Blue Raincoat, five on I'm Your Fan, three on Tower of Song and five on the soundtrack album Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man. Although this one is not amongst my top personal favorite works by the Canadian poet & singer, it definitely deserves five stars for the quality of the compositions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A change of pace for Leonard, Sept. 21 2003
By 
Jack Purcell (Placitas, NM USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
There was a time when people quipped that you get a free single-edge razor blade with every Cohen album. It's true some of his early work leaned toward depressing material, though every album had at least one song to blow you away. I'm Your Man began an entirely different phase of Cohens career. This album comes up almost all winners. I'm not overly fond of Jazz Police and First We Take Manhattan, but whatever weakness those songs involve is more than overwhelmed by all the others. If Cohen hadn't done so much and been around so long I'd be tempted to call 'Take This Waltz' my all-time Cohen favorite. In other times I've called it the best song of the 20th Century. I still might be tempted to do so. This is the best of his career up until that time, despite Suzanne, The Stranger, Bird on a Wire and a dozen others. Get it if you don't have it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ain't no cure for love, March 26 2003
By 
A. Dan "simoril" (israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
this is one of my favorite cohen's cds, unlike his more early work, which can be deep and beautiful, this albom has the addition of some very dark aura to it, the addition of a political massage, in songs like "first we take manhatten" or "jazz police" and also a lot about the proccess of writing music and the life of cohen as an artist ("take this woltz", "tower of songs"). for me this song always give me the feel of a trip to the early 80's in europ, or being in some artistic black and white movie, plus it has the tendency to feet my mood whenever i'm feeling down...
it's not the first leonard cohen cd that you should listen to, but if you are a cohen's fan, this cd is a must.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, Jan. 14 2003
By 
Jason Randall Nash "HawkeyeGK" (Council Bluffs, IA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
I was introduced to Leonard Cohen nearly a decade ago in my college freshman rhetoric class. The professor asked us to bring in samples of something that we considered poetry. Someone brought in Everybody Knows, and I have been a Cohen fan ever since.
Cohen's voice fits his dry, black, sense of humor and his grasp of the power of bitter irony like the right pair of sunglasses fit a Mafioso kingpin. They become one and the same.
My favorites on this album have changed over the years, a testament to the longevity of this work. Everybody Knows is one of the best songs ever written, and Tower of Song is pure brilliance. Feel free to skip Jazz Police, but have patience with Take This Waltz and I'm Your Man. You will be rewarded if you give them the chance to grow on you. They most assuredly will.
This album is my favorite of the Cohen releases. It may not have the classic sound of many of his earlier albums, but his ability to overlay lyrics like
"Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost"
with an underlying accompaniment that is at the same time electronic and string driven is genius, pure and simple. Cohen has the ability of the timeless masters to maintain his style and keep current gracefully.
Mr. Cohen says it best. "I was born like this, I had no choice
I was born with the gift of a golden voice"
Do yourself a favor. Spend an evening in the dark listening to this album over a glass of good wine. You won't regret it.
Five Stars only because they won't give me six.
-HawkeyeGK
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4.0 out of 5 stars Flawless Songs, Cheesy Arrangements, Nov. 18 2002
By 
S. Finefrock (Raleigh, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
The songs contained on this release are absolutley stunning. Cohen mixes a world weary point of view with a dry dark humor, and his verbage so economical that not a word is wasted. Cohen may not have the "golden voice" that he jokes about in TOWER OF SONG, but he nails the vocals on every song here with just the right emotion and inflection.
Then comes the backing tracks. This could be a primer on cliched 80's production values. Cheesy synthdrums, backing vocals worthy of Diane Warren songs and generic keyboards would destroy lesser artists or tunes. Only TOWER OF SONG and EVERYBODY KNOWS get treatments worthy of their fine lyrics and vocals.
I would love to see Cohen redo this album with a sympathetic producer, who would frame these dignified tunes with the backing they so richly deserve. It never hurts to dream.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Been listening to it for the last 10 years.., Sept. 14 2002
By 
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
What is actually incredible is not that this is a great album from Leonard Cohen. No. What is trully unreal is that this album stands out so far out infront from all his rest.
Cohen is a poet and a great poet at that, but he is a poet before he is a songwriter and this might explain it all.
In "I'm your man" everything falls together. The lyrics have the capability to grab anyone no matter what his mood or musical predisposition. The music is a perfect match and not only for the time it was written. I heard this album just this week in year 2002 (it was written in 1988) and i thought "hmm, if this had come out this year it would still be a huge hit".
Which is why this album became a big commercial success. But you see, not all commercial music is cheap.
What to mention first concerning the songs on offer here? The memorable "First we take Manhattan"? You would have to avoid not knowing this song and if you somehow have you have missed a true classic!
But songs of great stature are in abundance in "I'm your man": the eponymous song of the album is a monument of Cohen's song writting ability, a very emotional song and a love song that manages to be great without being cheesy. The "Tower song" is a bitter recollection that a lot of people will relate to regardless of age and "Everybody knows" is a doomy one that will please the conspiracy freak in you (which you SHOULD have)...
But all in all there is no song that falls below par, there is no "filler". There is no song in this album that you would want to skip.
All that combined with Cohen's at times cold and at times emphatic delivery make the whole a classic album. In fact, if i were asked what in my opinion would qualify for a perfect album then "I'm your man" would be one of the first examples that would pop in my mind.
"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded...."
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3.0 out of 5 stars frustrating, July 31 2002
By 
glubak "glubak" (Glebe, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
Laughin Lenny writes great simple melodies and brilliant complex lyrics, but he doesn't seem to take a firm hand when it comes to arranging and producing his records. When he's got sympathetic collaborators who give him folk arrangements, the albums are brilliant. When his collaborators try to bring him "up to date", the results can be very frustating.
The songwriting on "I'm Your Man" is peerless - dry and sombre moralism, witty and self-deprecating. But the production, which may have been "industry standard" in 1988, is now so dated it's a trial to listen to this from start to end. Tinny drum machines, synthesiser washes, cheesy female vocalists. Not everything suffers equally: "Everybody Knows" has a beautiful flamenco guitar counterpoint, and "Take this Waltz" features gorgeous violin and co-lead vocals from Jennifer Warnes. But it's tough to sit through the stuttering artificial drums and sweetly anonymous backing vocals of "Jazz Police".
This is one of the strongest available doses of Lenny's worldview, and I'd love this album like crazy if I could block out the 80's veneer.
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I'm Your Man
I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen (Audio CD - 1988)
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