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Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate (1971)

October 16, 2019

[Album 678/1001]

How old is your oldest ‘draft’ post?

I found this one recently, it looks like it was originally slated to be review #532…and has been completely neglected ever since, languishing in the draft folder since April 2017!

So I thought I’d listen to Songs of Love and Hate again and see if the original post draft by 2017-me still applies.

2019-me will chime in again at the end, enjoy!

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(Draft From April 2017)

[Album 532/1001]

At the risk of being too profound, when I listen to Leonard Cohen, it’s because I want to listen to Leonard Cohen.

Deep, I know.

Which is probably why I couldn’t be more pleased with this album’s opening track, Avalanche: an understated Leonard-solo vocal, with a galloping classical guitar accompaniment provided by Mr. Cohen as well.

But then on a track like Diamonds in the Mine, which may be an album highlight for others, there’s just too much going on for my liking.

At one point on Diamonds, he says to the backup vocalists, “you tell them now.”

Admirable though it may be for him to share the spotlight, it’s just not what I signed up for: I don’t want them to tell me, I want to hear it from the source!

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Though perhaps that’s part of the appeal of Songs of Love and Hate (and to be clear, it’s an album I find quite appealing).

If he’d opted for an entirely subdued set, it might have been derided as Songs from a Room Part Deux, accusations of self-plagiarism might have flown.

And if he’d gone all-backup-singers-all-the-time on this album, others would moan that the change was too drastic.

Love and Hate are antonyms; if this album does indeed feature songs about both, it’s difficult to imagine listeners walking away with the same feeling from each individual track.

(End of 2017 post draft)

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Well, if I may say so as my 2019-self, that 2017 version of me makes some compelling arguments!220px-Songs_of_love_and_hate

Upon re-listening, I still believe that Leonard’s at his best when he adheres to the less is more maxim for his accompaniment.

And as someone who is often oblivious to lyrics, I find I’m genuinely interested in hearing what Leonard has to say.

With Songs of Love and Hate, he’s further solidified his place among my Top 5 favourite lyricists.

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Verbalize the Positive

Many rough copies never see the light of day for a reason!

So it was a pleasant surprise here to find a rough copy that:
a) still described, as Pierce Brosnan might say, my sentiments exactly
b) didn’t require me to exert much effort before clicking publish!

 

From → 1970s

9 Comments
  1. My oldest draft is around 3 years old. I will get to it eventually! Great album by the way.

    • Then at 2 & 1/2 years old, this draft was practically brand new! And agreed, all 4 of his on the 1001 list have been solid

  2. jprobichaud permalink

    My wife says that no one should cover Cohen but she might be okay with Cohen covering Cohen. This is a great album either way.

    • I know our friend Aaron @ the KMA feels that way about Cohen too, especially about the oft-covered one about the secret chord!

  3. May 2017 is my oldest post sitting in draft. It’s just an old Blu-Ray review that I could never get a handle on. Should probably delete it. Sarah is the Cohen fan around here. I like Closing Time.

    • It’s funny – I had less than no use for closing time when it came out but now I’m a big fan!

  4. It seems my oldest is from December 28th 2015. Subject being Tiny Music…

    Anyhoo, I’m awful fond of this one… one of my favourite Cohen albums, actually. Plus, I really like the album cover.

    • I’d be keen to read that Tiny Music post should it ever move out of the draft folder!
      I too appreciate both the album contents here & its album art!

      • I’ll see what I can do, Geoff. It’s been a while since I posted something, so maybe that’d be a good one.

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