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Customer Review

on February 27, 2000
The Rare Genius of a Maestro
The unmistakable talent of Leonard Cohen was apparent from his early days, but when one looks at his work in chronological order (see below), then his need to break from his almost folksy style occurred after "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" (1974). His first experiment with a different form of expression was Death of a Ladies' Man in 1977, arguably his worst performance, and one that he himself denotes as a "catastrophe". That was also the last time that Cohen had allowed someone else (in this case, Phil Spector) to influence his work.
Recent Songs appeared in 1979, and although not always widely acclaimed, contains some of his best work as an artist. The old Cohen is still there, but the power of his poetry blends extremely well with his beautiful but haunting delivery.
Here is the watershed that is the hallmark of true art - allowing the author to break free entirely from the bonds of method and style, culminating in an exceptional and unique piece of work. In contemporary music there really is no equivalent.
On this record Cohen covers the gamut - from his cynical and outright scary "The Guests" - where he deals with his struggle to understand God - to the "Ballad of the Absent Mare" - which is an absolute testament to the power of the artist. All his work on this album is outright marvelous, but especially the cuts "The Window", "The Traitor" and "Ballard of the Absent Mare" deserves further mentioning. Here Cohen combines reason, rhyme and beauty in an apparent effortless fashion, and proves beyond any doubt why he should be considered as possibly the most outstanding English balladeer of modern time.
The record is a must for the truly discerning mind.
Releases in sequential order:
1997 - More Best Of Leonard Cohen
1994 - Cohen Live
1992 - The Future
1988 - I'm Your Man
1984 - Various Positions
1979 - Recent Songs
1977 - Death of a Ladies' Man
1975 - The Best of Leonard Cohen
1974 -New Skin for the Old Ceremony
1973 -Live Songs
1971 - Songs Of Love And Hate
1969 - Songs From A Room
1968 - Songs Of Leonard Cohen
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