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5.0 out of 5 stars Lorca and more
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...
Published on Oct. 22 2006 by Pieter Uys

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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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 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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Lorca and more, May 26 2002
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)
The singalong melodies of "Manhattan", "Aint No Cure" and "Everybody Knows" contrast well with Cohen's trademark preoccupation with romantic despair and judeo-christian imagery as in: "It's written in the scriptures, it's written there in blood ..." or "everybody's got this broken feeling/Like their father or their dog just died." John Bilezikjian's oud adds a special dimension to "Everybody Knows." The elegant "Take This Waltz" is a lilting song that brings the Vienna of Federico G. Lorca to life in a series of vivid images underpinned by a fervent longing for the beloved. The brilliant arrangement is enhanced by Raffi Hakopian's violin and the voice of Jennifer Warnes. The wistful "I Can't Forget" has been covered by The Pixies, while "Tower of Song" has been interpreted by artists as diverse as Marianne Faithfull, Robert Forster and Nick Cave and lent its title to the 1995 tribute album. I'm not crazy about either the experimental "Jazz Police" or the title track, but I am evidently wrong since "I'm Your Man" has been covered by Elton John and Bill Pritchard.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!, Feb. 2 2002
By 
Jack Dempsey (South Miami Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
To start, let me explain that I gave this 4 stars for a very personal, selfish reason: the length of the cd. I wanted more. I want more...it is just too short!
I just came across this cd while digging through some old boxes. How it ended up in some forgotten box, I'll never know. But, there it was...along with some old, much loved, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Smiths, Bauhaus and Cult cd's. I know, I know, I know....it's atrocious that such incredible music was in the boxes. But, I ask for your forgiveness.
I remember when this cd came out. The video used to air on 120 minutes, back when MTV was halfway decent and Kevin Seal used to host 120 minutes. The black and white video, beaches, gloom...it was awesome. The video for "First We Take Manhattan" that is. I was mesmerized. Where had I been this whole time L.C. was making records? Well, it's never too late I suppose.
So, back when I had to slave endlessly to earn about $3.00 per hour after taxes, I saved up and went and bought the cd. It never left my side for years afterwards.
Get this cd, get this cd, get this cd. It is amazing. It is beautiful, prolific and enchanting. I cannot say enough about it. I truly can't. Give it a listen, you too will understand.
It has to be one of my favorites among favorites by L.C.
Also, check out the newly released "Field Commander Cohen" live cd. It is absolutely one of the best cd's he has ever released.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Well, my friends are gone and my hair is grey...", Dec 20 2001
By 
P. Nicholas Keppler "rorscach12" (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
During that musically confused decade, the eighties, an artist who debuted twenty years earlier renovates his style, adapting to new technology and a new lyrical approach after a long period during which his work received little attention. It sounds like a recipe for absolute ruin. Surprisingly, cult hero, Leonard Cohen, undergoes this process and comes out as a shining success, creating one of the best albums of his career with 1988's I'm Your Man. Despite introducing significant changes to his form, such as a polished, synthesizer-infused sound and a darkly ironic approach to lyrics, similar to recent work by alternative rock pioneers such as the Pixies and REM, the songs of I'm Your Man emphasize many things fans have always loved about Cohen: the wryly confrontational attitude ("First We Take Manhattan," a sinister song about Cohen's disdain towards the placid, yuppie fashion and music industries of the era, "Everybody Knows," which echoes disappointment at the post-civil rights era), the glum self-depreciation ("Jazz Police," the magnificent "I Can't Forget") and the helpless romanticism ("Ain't No Cure for Love," the title track, in which Cohen sounds like either Allen Ginsberg attempting to woe a woman or Dean Martin trying to creep out his usual audience). Cohen does not come off as desperate and he does not sell-out. On I'm Your Man, he merely reevaluated his musical persona and was ready for the exceptional second phase of his career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Decades Most Defining Works, Sept. 18 2001
By 
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
So Begins the second phase of Mr. Cohen's career. The penultimate folkie in the seventies, he has written several novels, had two seperate tribute albums praise his work, stole the show on the otherwise noneventful "Natural Born Killers" soundtrack and had his lyrics endlessly quoted in love letters, studied in lonely bedrooms, and scribbled on countless high school notebooks. And deservedly so. As much a poet as a singer, and perhaps even more so, he has always carried a heavily literate heart and tempered it with exquisite beauty. "I'm Your Man" is a much more modern and fully developed album than his previous work. Songs such as "First We Take Manhattan," and "Everybody Knows," are surprisingly and affectingly eerie, flushed out with dark waves of synthesizers and strings. "I'm Your Man," along with REM's "Murmur," and Lou Reed's "New York" is one of the works that best document the gray despair of the Regan/Thatcher decade. Merging joyless romance and a smiling cynisism, Cohen's narrators never seem to find what they're seeking, whose small triumph's are quickly spoiled but oft remembered. Cohen's voice is famously average, but perhaps the only weaknesses on this record are the intrusive back up singers who seem like they would fit much better on a Jermain Jackson album. All in all a terrific album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, intelligent, gravelly voiced songs., Oct. 10 2000
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
Leonard Cohen's reputation is as follows: Are you feeling happy? Contented with life? but you want to feel depressed? Then put on a Leonard Cohen album! Feel the waves of desperation and melancholy wash over you! With Leonard Cohen, the outlook is "bleak".
So, that's what I was expecting. BUT! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard this, the first time I really listened to a Leonard Cohen album. The sound is very 1980's, with early synths all over the place, and some girly backing singers here and there (actually, when I heard it, I reckoned it was probably circa 1981, from the sound of the synths, and not 1988, but if that's the way he wanted it.....). Cohen's voice is deep and gravelly, and he seems to be singing softly with the mike right up to his face, but, again, if that's how he wanted it, fair enough. What I heard, though, were funny, catchy songs, with nice musical licks - the total opposite of what I expected!
But the really good thing about this album is the lyrics. The lyrics are witty and funny, but not too clever. He sings about himself and women quite a bit, but tongue in cheek and with a lot of irony. They're the kind of lyrics you could quote to people, and some of them are quite thought provoking. Some samples:
"They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom For trying to change the system from within I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin", or
"Ah but a man never got a woman back Not by begging on his knees Or I'd crawl to you baby And I'd fall at your feet And I'd howl at your beauty Like a dog in heat And I'd claw at your heart And I'd tear at your sheet I'd say please, please I'm your man".
See what I mean? A lot better than the usual syrupy drivel about "love" that you usually hear! Overall, this is a very interesting album, but one that you would have to listen closely too the first few times until you got to know it well. After that, I suspect that you would stick it on every now and then whenever you wanted a bit of cheering up, believe it or not!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Poet., March 17 2000
By 
Jason Stein (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I'm Your Man (Audio CD)
I love finding artists that most people are unfamiliar with. Leonard Cohen is one of these artists. I first heard him in the 1990 film "Pump Up The Volume" starring Christian Slater. I wondered who he was. Later, in 1993, he appeared again on the soundtrack to Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers." By this time I knew who he was but was unfamiliar with the majority of his work. In 1997 I bought all 9 of his studio cds. I'm Your Man is his most accessible and catchy. So is 1992's The Future. I am only reviewing I'm Your Man because it contains 8 tracks that non-fans would appreciate. I think it's a classic recording. Though, his 1968 and 1969 and 1970 cds are all classic in their own rights. I'm Your Man features great songs like "Everybody Knows", "Tower of Song", "I'm Your Man" and "First We'll Take Manhattan." Cohen's distinctive bass vocals lend his lyrical poetry more validity. It's like a poet in some darkened smokey basement reading his own poetry. A classic recording and a must have for any rock collector.
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I'm Your Man
I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen (Audio CD - 1988)
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