Leonard Cohen - Ten New Songs
Reviewed by Matt Rowe on December 24, 2001
Leonard Cohen has produced some of the most intense and deeply introspective poetry/lyrics this generation, or generations before it, has been blessed with. This effort is Cohen's first in quite a few years since 1992's "The Future." All songs on this CD are immensely satisfying. That is not to say that Cohen is for everyone; he isn't. But for those that "get" him are rewarded with the richest of poetic expression.
There are ten songs, all with sparse instrumentation, depending largely on mood setting drum beats, piano taps,etc and Leonard's deeply whispered meanderings through the darkness of life which gives no salvation, only realization that life is a struggle. And there are no reprievals here, only observations, only acceptance.
My favourite of the collection, "By The Rivers Dark", an upbeat production. It looks at life as redemption and failure. Failure hunts man who is ignorant of it's own end. Belonging to Babylon and never finding redemption even as the truth of redemption remains.
The other nine pieces are equally dark "Love Itself" and "You Have Loved Enough" reflects the tangled mess that occurs when love has exited a person's life and crawled away like multi-legged insects on flesh.
"The Land of Plenty", a plea, a prayer but yet a knowingly useless prayer sung anyway. You can actually hear the sadness in this dark hymn. This song frightened me the most and filled me with the dread of a million prison cells, without light...but praying for it anyway.
Cohen sings of despair of alcohol/drug battles that cannot be won; of lost trust; of misplaced faith. In fact, he runs the gambit of all that is caught in the crook of a drain, filling with all the refuse that is fed to it while backing up and regurgitating it.
Like a blues singer in the dark belly of a small, smoky bar, Cohen speaks of all the wrong in the world and of the inescapable conclusions. The conclusions that give way only to sad acceptance.
Ten New Songs is a masterpiece that demands to be heard. In my opinion this is one of the year's best in its category and may be the year's best in any category. I recommend that you buy this CD and be reminded that there is hurt in this world....and one man who knows.
Copyright © 2002 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
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