Leonard Cohen albums poll

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it didn't seem as though this was done previously. i'm including the live albums as well as 'old ideas', which will have been out for a few weeks by the time this poll closes.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Songs of Love and Hate 16
I'm Your Man 15
New Skin for the Old Ceremony 10
Death of a Ladies' Man 8
The Future 7
Songs of Leonard Cohen 5
Songs from a Room 4
Live In London 3
Various Positions 2
Recent Songs 1
Old Ideas 1
Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 0
Cohen Live: Leonard Cohen In Concert 0
Dear Heather 0
Live Songs 0
Live At the Isle of Wight 1970 0
Songs From the Road 0
Ten New Songs 0


omar little, Friday, 27 January 2012 19:08 (five years ago) Permalink

none of his albums lacks a clunker or two, but my favorite would be a combination of New Skins, I'm Your Man, and The Future.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 27 January 2012 19:09 (five years ago) Permalink

i'm curious about the quality of his recent live albums, i heard songs from the road is pretty great

omar little, Friday, 27 January 2012 19:24 (five years ago) Permalink

or maybe live in london?

omar little, Friday, 27 January 2012 19:25 (five years ago) Permalink

Voting 'Death of a Ladies Man' just cos it's so batshit, drunken, and psychedelic. I love the production, it's like swimming in a bottle of wine.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 27 January 2012 19:29 (five years ago) Permalink

I would say Songs of Leonard Cohen is pretty much entirely without clunkers.

dsb, Friday, 27 January 2012 19:50 (five years ago) Permalink

i only have songs of love and hate and i'm your man, i love both but would go w/the former.

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Friday, 27 January 2012 19:56 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm Your Man would basically be flawless without Jazz Police. But in spite of not liking the song, I kind of admire how spectacularly awful it is.

America's Mobile, Friday, 27 January 2012 20:47 (five years ago) Permalink

the future, which is a glossy record about dirt and terror (this describes most of his career post-ladies man but i feel this record is the apotheosis), with two cover songs that sort of perversely lighten the mood, and an instrumental that i only recently figured out is completely beautiful.

Whiney vs. (BradNelson), Friday, 27 January 2012 20:50 (five years ago) Permalink

http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/jazz.html

I clearly haven't given enough thought to Jazz Police.

America's Mobile, Friday, 27 January 2012 20:55 (five years ago) Permalink

Various Positions is crazy good but Love and Hate and From a Room and Songs of have more "this song is forever" numbers

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Friday, 27 January 2012 20:57 (five years ago) Permalink

this is basically impossible, i guess songs of love and hate is his BEST but i'm really partian to NEW SKIN and RECENT SONGS (which is underrated it seems)

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 27 January 2012 20:59 (five years ago) Permalink

first album by a nose from the second one.

ban this sick stunt (anagram), Friday, 27 January 2012 21:02 (five years ago) Permalink

haha -- no consensus!

The last live record is extraordinary.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 27 January 2012 21:38 (five years ago) Permalink

totally feel the 'affection for new skin vote' but yeah songs for love & hate. what a comfort, what a mood, goes so far with so little. i always had it on cd, which doesn't have the awesome inscription on the LP:

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2440/4052657281_83a595d3cb_z.jpg

so much of the lp simmers or flames under the same kind of weird godly sanctity

quick brown fox triangle (schlump), Friday, 27 January 2012 21:47 (five years ago) Permalink

The last two live records (chronologically) are outstanding. Made me wonder why people were so blown away by the Isle of Wight show - he's so much better now!

EZ Snappin, Friday, 27 January 2012 21:49 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm tempting to rep for Recent Songs here--same band as on the "Field Commander Cohen" live album, with an oud and all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVeEmsAGHvw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbFOiIKVmRA

Burritos are one of the things I'm nostalgic about!!! (Eazy), Sunday, 29 January 2012 04:40 (five years ago) Permalink

I was also tempted by Recent Songs but had to go with Death of a Ladies Man.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Sunday, 29 January 2012 17:32 (five years ago) Permalink

"I Left a Woman Waiting" is way gorgeous.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 29 January 2012 18:01 (five years ago) Permalink

this about clunkers is crazy,most of his albums lack clunkers!
i'll probably vote ten new songs or future("democracy" and "anthem" are killing me recently)

zhalgiris, Sunday, 29 January 2012 19:12 (five years ago) Permalink

none of his albums lacks a clunker or two

Songs of Leonard Cohen
Songs From a Room
Songs of Love and Hate
New Skin For the Old Ceremony

...all lack a clunker. But the answer is Songs of Love and Hate, which combines amazing songs with the most imaginative structure of his albums.

windborne grey frogs (dowd), Sunday, 29 January 2012 19:40 (five years ago) Permalink

"Diamonds in the Mine" started as a clunker to me, but I grew into it.

I'm glad to have looked up the potential Recent Songs clunker on YouTube, because both of these improve it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKXBgavdDFY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V-Rth-NKk4

Burritos are one of the things I'm nostalgic about!!! (Eazy), Sunday, 29 January 2012 20:22 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm not a fan of the earliest work.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 29 January 2012 20:32 (five years ago) Permalink

I know Cohen best from the Essential set that's gotten some talk on another Cohen thread recently, & so don't know the albums well-enough. Of the songs I know well from the earliest work, I tend to prefer covers, e.g. Fairport's "Bird On A Wire" & "Susanne", but I don't know the albums well-enough to say whether I think this generally.

A trawl through the Cohen corpus has been on my short list of musical trips in the next quarter or so.

Euler, Sunday, 29 January 2012 20:42 (five years ago) Permalink

i don't know that i'd say any albums save for dear heather have "clunkers" on them. there are some duller songs on songs from a room, various positions, maybe the future.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 29 January 2012 20:52 (five years ago) Permalink

dull = clunker

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 January 2012 01:51 (five years ago) Permalink

I don't believe in the inviolability of Cohen albums (or anyone's).

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 January 2012 01:51 (five years ago) Permalink

maybe sometimes an album's imperfections only serve to make it shine brighter

omar little, Monday, 30 January 2012 02:00 (five years ago) Permalink

Exactly! I listen to DOALM more than any of its predecessors, and it's often horrible.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 January 2012 02:02 (five years ago) Permalink

Gotta have garbage and flowers, Mozart and bubblegum.

Burritos are one of the things I'm nostalgic about!!! (Eazy), Monday, 30 January 2012 04:51 (five years ago) Permalink

or crack and anal sex

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 January 2012 11:57 (five years ago) Permalink

ok, I've lived with these albums for years now. let's see (studio albums only, I can never get behind live albums in a 'best of' poll):

s/t – unfuckwithable. the imagery is rapturous and the guitar just keeps thrumming along in that darkly menacing way. I think it's the occasional shaft of light from the other instruments and the more generous/loving/hopeful aspect of some of the lyrics that gives this one the edge over the next two.

songs from a room – jeez, this one is bleak. he said in an interview somewhere that he was suffering from depression at the time and it sounds it. nevertheless this is the first LC album i ever heard so it will always remain special to me.

songs of love and hate – also genius but i think the first one just edges it because the songs on this one aren't so concise, they tend to meander somewhat.

new skin – def a couple of clunkers here ("is this what you wanted", "leaving greensleeves") along w/the obvious classics. "take this longing" is the real sleeper though, in my top ten LC songs of all time. never seems to get a lot of attention, that one.

death of a ladies' man – yeah, horrible.

recent songs – v interesting, stylistically diverse album. out of print for a long time, i had to hunt high and low for this one in the 80s when i was picking up his records.

various positions – love the twangy sounds on this one. country music seems like a pretty good fit for cohen, if only because his spare and rigorous lyrics create such a delicious tension w/the more obviously maudlin elements of the music.

i'm your man – got to say i never really cared for this one, "take this waltz" excepted. in another interview at the time he talked about finding a "dead, flat language" to get out of the stylistic corner he felt he'd written himself into. that's my problem w/the lyrics here, and the synths just don't move me. and cohen should be nothing if not moving.

the future – half a great album. "be for real", "always" and "tacoma trailer" seem like filler to me. i suspect he had problems putting an album together for release. "democracy" originally had 80 verses or something.

ten new songs – a bit polite for my liking. "alexandra leaving" is also top 10.

dear heather – only ever played it once, which says something.

old ideas – haven't heard it yet.

ban this sick stunt (anagram), Monday, 30 January 2012 12:56 (five years ago) Permalink

I love Ten New Songs as really perfect background music, it reminds me of ronan's deep dark slinky night music youtube thread, a bit. And yeah the songs are perfect for his live shows. I saw him a few years back play at a winery in the country at night and the whole thing was O_O

Tim F, Monday, 30 January 2012 13:24 (five years ago) Permalink

But I'd have to think about which LC album is actually my favourite.

Tim F, Monday, 30 January 2012 13:24 (five years ago) Permalink

Live In London would be my desert island LC album, and I also adore Cohen Live: Leonard Cohen In Concert. I like Leonard best when he's live.

mike t-diva, Monday, 30 January 2012 14:33 (five years ago) Permalink

I gained newfound appreciation for "A Thousand Kisses Deep" after The Good Thief used it so shrewdly.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 January 2012 14:38 (five years ago) Permalink

Ignoring Jazz Police, I'll go for I'm Your Man, one of those albums where everything sounds like a standout. At least three of these are in my all-time Cohen top 10. Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs of Love and Hate are the other two masterpieces. The Future has the most frustrating classic/dud collision.

Meme Rogers (DL), Monday, 30 January 2012 15:51 (five years ago) Permalink

First album's genius only fully hit me when I saw McCabe and Mrs Miller, where these incredibly specific, detailed songs he'd written years earlier somehow seemed to have been tailor-made for those characters.

Meme Rogers (DL), Monday, 30 January 2012 15:54 (five years ago) Permalink

anagram mostly right - except for New Skin. I had a flatmate who would only allow that album of Cohen's to get played, so I kind of got used to it. And 'is this what you wanted' is great! I mean:

You were Marlon Brando,
I was Steve McQueen.
You were K.Y. Jelly,
I was Vaseline.
You were the father of modern medicine,
I was Mr. Clean.
You where the whore and the beast of Babylon,
I was Rin Tin Tin.

And I've always loved 'leaving green sleeves':

I sang my songs, I told my lies,
to lie between your matchless thighs.
And ain't it fine, ain't it wild
to finally end our exercise

Then I saw you naked in the early dawn,
oh, I hoped you would be someone new.
I reached for you but you were gone, so lady I'm going too.

windborne grey frogs (dowd), Monday, 30 January 2012 19:49 (five years ago) Permalink

i don't think death of a ladies man is the bees knees, and i hope it never gets unduly elevated in the cohen canon b/c of some challopsy fans, but no way is it horrible or terrible full stop. at the very least, it is an interesting experiment.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 30 January 2012 20:00 (five years ago) Permalink

i like death of a ladies man just for its singularity in Cohen's catalog. such a crazy left turn, in terms of how he made records. don't know whether the songs are up to his usual standard, but it's entertaining! i've played it for people who don't like the earlier stuff and gotten a good response.

tylerw, Monday, 30 January 2012 20:13 (five years ago) Permalink

songs of love and hate is maybe my favorite album of all time so i guess that

the parable is the parable of the (Lamp), Monday, 30 January 2012 20:35 (five years ago) Permalink

this poll is gonna be all over the place

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 30 January 2012 22:02 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah i have no idea what to vote for tbh

tylerw, Monday, 30 January 2012 23:12 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm leaning toward Live In London because 1) it's great and 2) it covers all these other great albums

EZ Snappin, Monday, 30 January 2012 23:13 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm still really tempted to vote Recent Songs, but the songwriting on Various Positions is really my favorite. Basically I think he's writing at a Yeats level there (really).

Burritos are one of the things I'm nostalgic about!!! (Eazy), Monday, 30 January 2012 23:40 (five years ago) Permalink

"If It Be Your Will" is my favorite Cohen song.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 January 2012 23:42 (five years ago) Permalink

who can guess which one I'm voting for

Full Frontal Newtity (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 January 2012 23:45 (five years ago) Permalink

sorry, long day, but it's an amazing rec no challop

bear, bear, bear, Thursday, 15 March 2012 13:15 (five years ago) Permalink

well it pains me to say it but I do have to agree with Geir.

btw Geir you need to get over to the Ask Geir thread, there are some outstanding questions there.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Thursday, 15 March 2012 13:25 (five years ago) Permalink

i love death of a ladies man, but didn't vote for it. as shakey's vote shows, it's the album for people who aren't big fans of cohen's other work -- either the delicate arrangements of the early stuff or the slimy synth pop of the 80s stuff.

tylerw, Thursday, 15 March 2012 15:06 (five years ago) Permalink

I voted for it. It's my favorite. All his other records, while amazing, make me too sad. That one is sort of sad but in a happy, silly, drunken way.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 15 March 2012 15:10 (five years ago) Permalink

Perhaps we should be asking why the record with "Jazz Police" got 2nd place!

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 15 March 2012 15:11 (five years ago) Permalink

btw Geir you need to get over to the Ask Geir thread, there are some outstanding questions there.

better yet, go there and stay there.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 16 March 2012 02:49 (five years ago) Permalink

geir has only made one post in this thread which I happen to agree with, should I get out of here as well then

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Friday, 16 March 2012 08:32 (five years ago) Permalink

Recent Songs should've done better and I'm Your Man should be wayyy lower.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Friday, 16 March 2012 11:44 (five years ago) Permalink

the right album won imo

Lamp, Friday, 16 March 2012 16:30 (five years ago) Permalink

as shakey's vote shows, it's the album for people who aren't big fans of cohen's other work

yeah I am not being a contrarian, it is genuinely the work of his I enjoy the most. I find the baritone+acoustic guitar sparseness and general humorlessness of his early records genuinely irritating in their "I AM SERIOUS ARTISTE" presentation. he has tons of wonderful turns of phrase and some striking melodies but, for example, watching early clips from his career of performing these songs he looks like a really sad statue. totally blank/motionless. I find myself waiting for a pigeon to land on him and poop on his shoulder.

The only post-70s stuff I've heard of his are the original version of "Everybody Knows" (don't care for it) and the cassette that my mom bought of "The Future" which I found unbearable.

In general I think he's a good songwriter who is usually not the best presenter/vehicle for his songs. Spector collab really bears that out imho.

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 16:36 (five years ago) Permalink

The very end of the title track on DOALM is so great, the way it just gets slower and slower and dreamier, the whole thing just evaporating into a fizzing cosmos.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 16 March 2012 16:42 (five years ago) Permalink

I can't separate his droll, gravelly timbre from the arrangements, especially in the post-'88 songs. His voice started to SOUND like a cheap $15 Casio synth -- a huge plus.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 16 March 2012 16:43 (five years ago) Permalink

general humorlessness of his early records

gtfo they're full of jokes they just haven't been telegraphed by the production for you

plastic surgery dizbusters (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Friday, 16 March 2012 16:53 (five years ago) Permalink

Steven Wright stole his schtick amirite

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 16:59 (five years ago) Permalink

general humorlessness of his early records

does not compute

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Saturday, 17 March 2012 05:30 (five years ago) Permalink

He's definitely funny sometimes, but are they really FULL of jokes?

timellison, Saturday, 17 March 2012 05:48 (five years ago) Permalink

by songs of love and hate i'd say yes. not so much JOKES but lots of wry humor.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Saturday, 17 March 2012 06:38 (five years ago) Permalink

Doesn't this man ever rest? A new round of European tour dates for the autumn announced today.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Monday, 26 March 2012 15:07 (five years ago) Permalink

well he's broke so no

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 26 March 2012 15:26 (five years ago) Permalink

is he still broke? might've thought that last world tour would've replenished the coffers. he was selling out huge places.

tylerw, Monday, 26 March 2012 15:27 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah he doesn't need to tour any more, the last round of activity has seen to that. he's obviously doing it for love.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Monday, 26 March 2012 15:29 (five years ago) Permalink

its crazy to imagine my 80-year-old father in law undertaking something like touring, but I guess Cohen must be in pretty good shape.

tylerw, Monday, 26 March 2012 15:34 (five years ago) Permalink

think you guys may be overestimating how much touring brings in

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 26 March 2012 15:44 (five years ago) Permalink

think you may not be entirely clear what "broke" means

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Monday, 26 March 2012 15:57 (five years ago) Permalink

did i vote in this, songs from a room got robbed ROBBED

lag∞n, Monday, 26 March 2012 16:00 (five years ago) Permalink

EARLY (LEONARD) COHEN v LATE COHEN

lag∞n, Monday, 26 March 2012 16:35 (five years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Four votes for Songs from a Room is wtf.

heaven parker (anagram), Friday, 11 November 2016 08:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Too much? Or not enough?

Eallach mhór an duine leisg (dowd), Friday, 11 November 2016 09:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Not enough.

heaven parker (anagram), Friday, 11 November 2016 10:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

His most successful album in the UK, perhaps (got to no 2, as did Old Ideas). Perhaps it's lack of success elsewhere (outside of Canada) is a reason it polled low?

Eallach mhór an duine leisg (dowd), Friday, 11 November 2016 10:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

even more befuddling is this

Death of a Ladies' Man 8

Wimmels, Friday, 11 November 2016 12:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Yeah, not enough

Darcy Sarto (Ward Fowler), Friday, 11 November 2016 12:25 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I'm drunkenly moping in a Songs of Love and Hate shirt, so I agree with the top answer. The rest not so much.

Eallach mhór an duine leisg (dowd), Friday, 11 November 2016 13:03 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i agree with these results but i think ten new songs should have at least ten votes

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Friday, 11 November 2016 17:43 (eleven months ago) Permalink

interesting, say more about that

Tell me who sends these infamous .gifs (bernard snowy), Friday, 11 November 2016 20:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

10ns is a masterpiece

did we ever get wizz sorted (wins), Friday, 11 November 2016 20:18 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I probably wouldn't have voted for it but 0 is painful

did we ever get wizz sorted (wins), Friday, 11 November 2016 20:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I like five of the Ten New Songs but it's one of those times I thought getting someone else to write the music -- even if that person is Sharon Robinson -- produced a lethargic record.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 November 2016 20:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I think I said upthread (and many years ago) something to the effect that 10 New Songs is his best mood music album, and the lethargic quality actually feeds into that a lot. I think that dynamic of barbed, whispered lullabyes over soft somnambulant keyboards on the one hand seems like a kind of hack's idea of late era cohen, but on the other, well, sometimes I like to be fed lines by hacks.

Obviously the last few albums have also leaned hard into that post-I'm Your Man noirish sound, but none with the same air of massaged consistency that I'm sure many find boring. But it's probably the Cohen album I reach for most often (translation: I am old and sad and need comforting).

Tim F, Friday, 11 November 2016 20:38 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i love the ten new songs vibe. a thousand kisses deep was used to great effect in 'the good thief', which is the first time i heard cohen from that particular style, having really only known his acoustic work and a few choice '80s cuts.

nomar, Friday, 11 November 2016 21:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

tim otm, there's an aesthetic continuity to it that's kinda like being folded up in velvet; it's what i want from the future but that record distracts from it with its covers. i also think "in my secret life" and "alexandra leaving" are unmatched in his catalog, as songs and as poems; they're in many ways his most crisp compositions, a style he arrived at imo by way of "anthem" and "tower of song," and which he continued to build on in the last run of records

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Friday, 11 November 2016 21:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

a bit from me this am:

Ten new songs, recorded virtually alone in his house, whispering so as not to disturb the neighbours, the sprechgesang never more intimate, and how one song comes back to haunt another, both written in common meter (amazing grace how sweet the sound) so you know it's really One Old Song.

did we ever get wizz sorted (wins), Friday, 11 November 2016 21:23 (eleven months ago) Permalink

which I guess was my way of saying tim otm, though I couldnt have known it at the time

did we ever get wizz sorted (wins), Friday, 11 November 2016 21:24 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Every song y'all praised on TNS wold be a keeper, and "In My Secret Life" and "A Thousand Kisses Deep" are all time. Also:

a thousand kisses deep was used to great effect in 'the good thief',

otm. I can't think of the song w/out remembering the movie (which deserves more love btw).

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 November 2016 23:06 (eleven months ago) Permalink

A great line I had forgotten from "That Don't Make It Junk" (on 10 New Songs):

"I fought against the bottle... but i had to do it drunk."

Tim F, Saturday, 12 November 2016 07:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

Such a beautiful song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU5FPAR7ass

Week of Wonders (Ross), Friday, 6 October 2017 03:27 (one week ago) Permalink

indeed

niels, Friday, 6 October 2017 07:14 (one week ago) Permalink

What's wrong with Jazz Police? It's eccentric and likeable.

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 6 October 2017 11:07 (one week ago) Permalink

it's a bit noisy

niels, Friday, 6 October 2017 11:31 (one week ago) Permalink

"Jazz Police" and "Boogie Street" are two rare duds for me.

Eazy, Friday, 6 October 2017 14:25 (one week ago) Permalink


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