Just starting out...

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vlcoats
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Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:25 pm
Location: Idaho

Just starting out...

Postby vlcoats » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:38 pm

I am a new to Leonard Cohen and to the forum, and I have started on his albums chronologically at the good advice of “its4inthemorning”.
I posted in “Hello, I’m new…” about how much I loved the first album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen”.

I am on "Songs of a Room" now, and my first thought when I heard this album was "Oh no! Your inner cynic was right; you don't like it as well as the first". One thing I had done different with this album was to read the lyrics through before putting on the CD. That may have had something to do with my first reaction. What bothered me the most I think is that it was different—simpler and more country sounding and he sounded like he was drinking too much on a couple tracks and like he was trying to be Bob Dylan on a couple others. But after listening a few more times, I have no valid complaints. Yes, it is different from the first album which I love so much that nothing could come close to it, but I wonder how I would feel if I had heard it first. And how can I complain that it sounds country, when I was raised on that genre? Neil Young once called my favorite album by him the "most liquid album" he ever made, so that is no complaint either. If Leonard Cohen reminded me of Bob Dylan on a couple of the tracks, he has just recently toppled Mr. Dylan from the #1 spot on my personal musical and poetry charts, so I should allow him that at least. I guess I just loved the first album so much. It is easy to see why Leonard Cohen means so much to everyone. It is not just the lyrics or the music or his voice. He is much more than the sum of all his parts.

So I got over myself, and "Songs of a Room" has reached its rightful spot in my heart. My favorite songs are “Lady Midnight”, “You Know Who I am” (that guitar with that voice) and “Story of Isaac”. “Bird on a Wire” is the kind of song I like to sing to my donkeys when I check on them before bed, and it gets stuck in my head. I like the bonus track of “Like a Bird” even better than the original.

Still, I have to admit that I remain stuck on “The Stranger Song” from his first album and wonder if there will ever be another to touch me like that. Do any of you have that one? The one that stuck with you on first hearing and then nothing ever came close again? Or as I listen to his other music, maybe I will get over that. I have a long way to go, I know.
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Just starting out...

Postby LisaLCFan » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:11 pm

Hi! My experiences with Leonard were similar to yours, in that the very first album of his that I heard (in my case, it was "I'm Your Man") was my absolute favourite and it is what got me hooked on his music in the first place, and when I bought more of his albums, at first I was a bit disappointed because they were so different (especially his early albums -- it didn't even sound like the same person!). However, eventually I became enamoured of all of his albums (well, most of them, anyway ;-) ), and the fact that they are all rather different from one another is one of the things that I love about his music -- some artists churn out album after album that are so similar, whereas Leonard's "style" has such great variety!

As for a single favourite song, as you get to know more of them, you may find that that changes over time (and with different moods, etc.!), at least, that's how it has been for me. I could not possibly name just one favourite song (nor even one from each album, nor even a favourite album!), at least not for more than a limited period of time, even though at various points there may have been one song (or album) of which I could not get enough, until a different song/album captured my full attention.

I suppose the main thing is, there is no one right way to enjoy Leonard's music -- it will affect each of us in our own ways, and in different ways at different times. Because the songs are so very deep, with so many layers, hopefully you will continue to discover new delights at every turn, with every new album, with each repeated listen, for many years to come. Don't try to rush the process, and if you do happen to come upon an album or song that doesn't resonate with you now, put it aside for awhile, and perhaps next time you hear it, it will be in a whole new light, with new appreciation. Have fun, and enjoy the journey!
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vlcoats
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Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:25 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Just starting out...

Postby vlcoats » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:12 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:Hi! My experiences with Leonard were similar to yours, in that the very first album of his that I heard (in my case, it was "I'm Your Man") was my absolute favourite and it is what got me hooked on his music in the first place, and when I bought more of his albums, at first I was a bit disappointed because they were so different
Thank you Lisa. I had a feeling that might be the case, even though I haven’t been emotionally attached to the first work I heard of any other artist. Maybe it's just the way he hits you. It's true in other important things you know... you never forget your first.

I have his next 3 CDs, but they can wait a little bit. I am not ready to move on from "Songs from a Room" quite yet.

Thanks again!
Vickie

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