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Various Positions

4.5 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 7, 1995
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 1995)
  • Original Release Date: 1984
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002AZX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,991 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Uys HALL OF FAME on January 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This 1984 album, the last of Cohen's folk masterpieces and one subtly spiced with country, never grows stale due to the intricacy of its arrangements - vocal & instrumental - while perennially revealing deeper layers of metaphysical & symbolic significance. Or as one ages one understands better! Particularly sublime is the interaction of male & female vocals calibrated to bring out the best in both. The devotion and the vocals of Anjani Thomas and Jennifer Warnes make a major contribution to the music's enduring beauty.

Cohen's gift of melody & rhythm finds buoyant expression in Dance Me to the End Of Love which may sound catchy and even frisky like a simple pop tune but if one pays attention multiple meanings & possibilities emerge. In contrast, Coming Back to You unfolds slowly and solemnly through a graceful melody wed to imagery that navigates delicately between romantic & divine love. The two tracks The Law and The Night Comes On evoke something of John Berryman's poetic sensibility ... The Moon and the Night and the Men, The Song of the Tortured Girl and above all, Sonnet number 34.

The Night Comes On may be the absolute highlight of this album, a rare gem ranking amongst the greatest of Cohen's songs. Like assembling a pearl necklace, it strings striking images of the domestic & personal, the universal, the spiritual, historical and prophetic on a thread of longing. As the song unfolds, the symbolism unleashes an almost supernatural power that stirs the psyche hinting at or conjuring vague specters of ancient memories.
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Format: Audio CD
Obviously Leonard Cohen has numerous great albums out there, however this is one of my favorites. I consider "Various Positions" to be part of my essential trilogy, along with "I'm Your Man" and "The Future". Truth be known, I almost skipped this review because I felt this album is beyond description. The music and lyrics are just absolutely amazing, and I feel bad for those who have yet to discover Leonard Cohen. This is one of few albums I can put on in my livingroom, and just stare out the window for 45 minutes. Listening to it is an event. His perfect songs "Dance Me To The End Of Love", "Hallelujah", and "If It Be Your Will" are all here, but I also love "Law", "Coming Back To You", and "Hunter's Lullaby". If looking for a collection, I suggest "More Best Of", or his 2-disc "Essential Cohen".
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Format: Audio CD
In this album Leonard Cohen displays the full range of his genius.

It begins with the richly melodic `Dance Me To The End Of Love', with it's distinct Mediterranean/Israeli style, which remind me of hot romantic summer nights, by the sea.
It also includes such magnificent works as the passionate and intense love ballad, `Coming Back To You' and the fascinating mix of romantic and satirical `Night Comes On', the biting satire of `The Captain' and `Heart With No Companion' which embodies a heartfelt and deep explanation of the terrible experience of loneliness and isolation.
The greatest track on this album however, is the majestic and spiritual `Hallelujah':

"They say there was a sacred chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It went like this, the fourth, the fifth
the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah"

I also love Jennifer Warnes' rich, melodic, sensual voice, which particularly adds beauty to `Dance Me to The End of Love' and `Hallelujah'.
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Format: Audio CD
Though it's not as strong as the subsequent two albums of his "comeback"-I'm Your Man and The Future-Various Positions is a strong and poignant album. Some of Cohen's most sentimental and thoughtful lyrics persist here. From the "love conquers all" mysticism of Dance Me To The End of Love to the religious ambivalence of Hallelujah (which contains the nominal verse "You say I used the name in vain/But I don't even know the name/But if I did, well really, what's it to ya?/There's a blaze of light in every word/It doesn't matter which one you heard/The holy or the broken hallejulah"), to the poignant, touching war story The Captain, Cohen is a lyrical genius here. This album is also notable because it is the last one where Cohen has complete control over his voice. Indeed, since it also manages to do without the keyboards and such that would come to dominate the textures of his next two album (particularly I'm Your Man) you could call this the last of Leonard Cohen's folk-styled albums. A must for any fan of his.
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Format: Audio CD
This album wasn't released in the USA because of lack of interest in Cohen's work, but did very well in Europe. It's Cohen's most personal work about his longing for religious comfort and human warmth and reflects memories from his past. It took me a while to fully appreciate it because it can't be compared with his earlier stuff, but I do now agree with Cohen himself that this probably is one of his best albums. My favourite songs are "Night comes on" and "The law", but all the songs are good. "If it be you will" is an excellent prayer and to many people one of Cohen's most enchanting songs. Cohen did it again, a great album
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