Top critical review
A Wide Variety of Stylistic Interpretations
on June 9, 2000
I've never been a big fan of Leonard Cohen singing Leonard Cohen for two reasons. One, his voice is dry, husky and nonmusical. Cohen's delivery is closer to a speaking recital than popular singing. Second, his high-art intellectual poetry is generally moody and dark. Overall, the result of Cohen doing Cohen is usually weary and depressing.
Interpretations of Cohen's material by other artists (especially nonfolk-poet artists) can be entertaining, moving and inspirational. I'm Your Fan offers such a variety. The Pixies 'I Can't Forget' is a screaming guitar rocker with a group of ladies singing lovely harmony vocals. The romantic crooner Lloyd Cole gently rocks 'Chelsea Hotel.' For luscious vocal harmonies, try 'True Love Leaves No Traces' by Dead Famous People. R.E.M's powerful 'First We Take Manhattan' sounds threatening and ominous. And moving from bands to folk balladeers, my favorite artists include Geoffrey Oryema's dreamy rendition of 'Suzanne,' French artist Jean-Louis Murat with a very mysterious 'Avalanche IV,' and the childlike 'Who By Fire' by the House Of Love.' Finally, John Cale's 'Hallelujah' is spiritually moving. Because of the wide variety of stylistic interpretations, I'm Your Fan lacks the continuity found on Cohen's own albums. However, if you favor the pure poetry of I'm Your Fan, you may find Leonard Cohen's original work worthwhile.