Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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AlanM
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby AlanM » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:13 am

Many thanks for The Traitor link - I love it.
However I feel this thread is drifting off topic, so I won't comment further.
Alan
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
London 1972, Adelaide 1980, 1985, 2009
Sydney 2010; Adelaide 2010
Sydney 2013 X2; Melbourne 2013; Adelaide 2013
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B4real
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby B4real » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:04 am

Ha! Lisa, No need to plead :) I wasn't thinking of what you said then (I know it's different now) but simply the fact that we have "known" each other for many years! So quickly do they fly by!

Vickie, I knew you'd like the Munich show and I also was surprised that some of the audience were seated with their backs to him and others saw mainly his back.

Alan and Vickie, glad you both enjoyed the original The Traitor Song.
I think this thread has been that way for a while now :) Maybe they will eventually separate it or maybe not ;-)
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:30 am

B4real wrote:...Ha! Lisa, ... we have "known" each other for many years! So quickly do they fly by!...
Indeed!
AlanM wrote:... I feel this thread is drifting off topic, so I won't comment further.
B4real wrote:...I think this thread has been that way for a while now :) Maybe they will eventually separate it or maybe not ;-)
I know that "they" have been asked to move this currently active discussion about the albums, etc., to a more appropriate section, but nothing has been done, so we've just been carrying it on here.
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:53 pm

Yes, this thread has taken a turn away from "Hello, I'm new to this forum," so perhaps Jarkko should move it elsewhere. Whether it is moved or not, I would encourage others to join in, we are all fans and should welcome hearing about others' experiences, likes, and dislikes as a new fan discovers LC's music.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:03 am

Hmm, we've not heard from Vickie for a few days. Hope she's okay and just happily lost in Various Positions.

I suppose, Vickie, this little break in the action might be a good time to relocate this discussion to the Music section (so as not to continue to clutter this one).

Edit: Hi everyone: if you wish, please join Vickie/vlcoats in her journey at this new location:

viewtopic.php?p=364942#p364942
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vlcoats
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Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:43 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:03 am
Hmm, we've not heard from Vickie for a few days. Hope she's okay and just happily lost in Various Positions. I suppose, Vickie, this little break in the action might be a good time to relocate this discussion to the Music section (so as not to continue to clutter this one):
That sounds good Lisa! Let's give it a try and hopefully everyone will respond to let me know you all made it over.

Regarding my impressions of studio album #7:
I have had a different reaction to this one and it is taking me a while to sort it out. At first I was like, “Hmmm… not too sure if I like this.” I know Lisa…. shocking, right? It was nothing like DOALM of course so no worries there, but neither was it like my ‘stop the car to catch my breath’ reactions that I have had to so many of his other albums (most notably, albums #1 and #3).
The sweeping melody and harmonies and then the Casio playing on “Various Positions” all added up to something I have never been partial to….“Pop”. I mean, I know LC is often listed as a Pop artist or even Easy Listening (as well as Singer-Songwriter and Folk which are more up my alley). Maybe the genre confusion is part of why I had never made a point to listen to his music, even though I knew I should. Then he passed, and I thought to myself, “Look at all this adoration. What is it with this Leonard Cohen guy? Why does he have this nearly reverent following, not only among his fans but even other artists that you love?” to which I replied, “Yeah but he plays Pop” and countered with, “Well, what about the poetry?” So I got the book (Sylvie Simmons') and read about him and became even more curious. Then, imagine my EXTREME pleasure when I heard his first album! It was everything I loved without knowing it. I am a huge Dylan fan, and I had found someone better (!!!! Are you kidding me????) I am now a total convert and love everything Leonard now.
So when I first heard “Various Positions,” I was like, "Uh oh...here is it, here is the Pop." I was out of my comfort zone. Not totally, but enough that I was like “Dang it!” But, as I listened to it that first time, I did start to like the second half of the album more than the first. For one it starts with “Hallelujah”, and there is nothing anyone can ever say about that song that isn’t praise. Still, listening to his ‘original’ version was amazing and spine tingling and then I got over myself and said, “Vickie, stop categorizing this and just listen”. Like Lisa told me, my reaction to this album will be what I am open to, (or something like that, sorry for paraphrasing Lisa). Then I also LOVED “Hunter’s Lullaby” which is much too short in my mind and also “Heart With No Companion” (“…for the mother in confusion, her cradle still unfilled…. Though your promise count for nothing, you must keep it nonetheless….). So I listened to the whole thing again and I realized that Lisa is right. The tracks are a perfect blend of melody and lyrics!
So now I love “Various Positions” as much as the rest! Amazing. I know I will find new things to love about it as I continue to get to know it. It takes me at least a couple weeks to really experience each album. Thank you for opening my mind Leonard Cohen and to everyone here for holding my hand along this way.
We still have that dog turning our home upside down and spring is still kicking our butts on this little farm, but I will write again soon after I have more time with #7.
Thanks again!
Vickie
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby LisaLCFan » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:45 pm

Hi Vickie,

I was actually thinking that Leonard's new musical "style" on Various Positions might be a bit jarring for you -- I have heard that other people also had that reaction at the time, and I know a few people even now who much prefer Leonard's earlier acoustic/folk sound to what came later.

My experience was in the opposite direction: the "I'm Your Man" album was the first one I heard, which I madly loved, and then to hear the earlier "folk" albums was a huge shock to me, and it took me some time to come to grips with them (it didn't even sound like the same guy!). Eventually I came to love them all (actually, "Songs of Leonard Cohen" was an instant hit with me, but the others had to grow on me a bit).

Incidentally, I don't like "pop" music either (I have always preferred classical and jazz, in fact), and have never actually considered Leonard to be "pop" (I never thought anyone else did, either: I always thought that he was considered an outsider), regardless of the instrumentation used -- to me he is in a category of his own, his music having far too many facets and layers to focus on just one element.

Anyway, I am glad that you gave Various Positions a chance, and quickly came to appreciate it. Cheers!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:44 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:45 pm
I know a few people even now who much prefer Leonard's earlier acoustic/folk sound to what came later.
Maybe I will be one of those people. Time will tell. I am very curious about a few upcoming albums like "I'm Your Man" and "The Future" and "You Want It Darker".

I would love to hear what everyone's favorite album is among the later ones, beginning with "Various Positions". Please share and say why, if you can do so without giving away too much, as I haven't heard them yet.

I am listening to "Various Positions" more every day and really loving "Coming Back to You" now, and even "The Captain" especially for the conversational lyrics. There is much to discover on this album and although you might think I am taking my time on my journey through his albums, I keep being drawn back to the ones I have heard already, because I feel like I am going too fast and have already missed so much.
its4inthemorning wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:09 am
have you to thank for the opportunity to hear a "new" LC album! I am ordering it today.
Did you receive "Recent Songs" yet Curt? Did you like "Ballad of the Absent Mare"?

Thanks everyone!
Vickie
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby LisaLCFan » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:08 pm

vlcoats wrote:...I would love to hear what everyone's favorite album is among the later ones, beginning with "Various Positions". ...
Hi Vickie,

It is hard to pick a favourite, but I suppose "I'm Your Man" holds a special place, being the "first" album for me! One of things I most loved about that album was Leonard's voice, and that is also one of the main reasons why his pre-1980s albums required such an adjustment. You may have noticed that his voice was a bit deeper on Various Positions -- it gets even deeper than that! That is why I said that his early albums didn't even sound like the same person when I first heard them. Leonard's deep 1980s onward voice, to many of us who discovered him at that time (or later), became one of his most defining characteristics, and that is something that is simply not present on those early albums.

As I am sure I have mentioned to you before, another defining characteristic of Leonard's music (looking back on the whole) is that Leonard always reinvented himself in the musical aspects of his songs, unlike some "pop-stars" (including folkies) who essentially always sounded the same throughout their entire careers. Some of us joyously embrace those differences (or at least, came to!), loving the variety. Hopefully you will, too.

Have a nice weekend.
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:49 am

Happy Friday,

Did not get Recent Songs yet, so cannot comment on that.

In fact, given my failure to realize I had never heard this album in its entirety, I question whether or not I should be commenting on any albums between the first three and the last three (those I have listened to with rapt attention many, many times).

Vickie, this points out the advantage of your approach, "studying" each album before you move on. I had the opportunity to do that eight years ago and instead just jumped into all the music I had missed. And see where that left me--forced to turn in my fan card in humiliation. Seriously, I do wish I had done what you are doing...unfortunately "I didn't have the discipline." (This line is forthcoming in your next album.)

In light of the above I will refrain from answering your query about which album is my favorite out of the next several, as my answer would be based mostly on the songs in each that I have heard performed live rather than evaluations of the albums in their entirety. Maybe in a few months, after I finish my summer school remedial work.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:10 am

LisaLCFan wrote:
Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:08 pm
You may have noticed that his voice was a bit deeper on Various Positions --
Yes, yes! I did notice it. In fact, I commented to my husband on the difference, but it is not an issue at all. Although I love the natural "angst" of his younger voice, his deeper voice on "Various Positions" is a beloved thing about this album. I have loved several artists for their deep voices alone. Eddie Vedder, Johnny Cash, Greg Brown (another folksy guy but you might like him, Lisa, just for his voice). So yes, loving the timbre on this album!
its4inthemorning wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:49 am
I question whether or not I should be commenting on any albums
Yikes! Please don't desert me. You are the one who told me to do this and in this particular way, and I am forever grateful that I took your advice. If you want to refrain from answering my question about which album is your favorite, I don't blame you, but please don't refrain from commenting at all. Unless you don't have time, which I certainly understand. At this time of year on our little farm, you will see that I won't respond for a couple days or even a week sometimes...but I am here in heart and listening to LC. Like my husband said when I told him that you feel this way, "He is the one that got you in to this!". Please stick around if you can.

Not sure if there is a poetry section as well as this music index, as I tend to have blinders on when I focus on something, but if there is, I wish that I could post in both, because although I need the music and his voice to help me understand the lyrics, it is the lyrics that I am drawn to most of all in the end. The poetry. That is what will last through the years.
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby LisaLCFan » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:57 am

its4inthemorning wrote:...Vickie, this points out the advantage of your approach, "studying" each album before you move on...
Since it is my wont to be a voice of dissent, I actually would not have done things the way Vickie did. Leonard changed over the years, as many of us do, and thus, if I wanted to get to know an artist such as Leonard who had been around for so long, I would have approached it either from the latter parts of his career (perhaps with "Live in London" and "Songs from the Road", to hear what Leonard wanted people to hear on his 2008-2013 tour and what so many people fell in love with), and/or randomly choosing albums from each stage of his career (both studio and live), in no particular order, to get a taste of everything he had to offer over the years. But, that is just me -- there is no "right" or "wrong" way, we each must find our own paths.

A person is the entire sum of all their parts, which often adds to a greater whole than each individual bit or piece, and it seems rather unfair and unreasonable to judge a person (or to like or dislike them) based on only a few parts, but not the whole. Of course, what a person likes or dislikes is their business, based on their own mindedness, as narrow or as broad as that may be. Leonard was always an extremely unique artist, doing what he wanted the way he wanted to do it, and I have always admired and respected that. What others do or like with respect to Leonard Cohen is of no relevance to my enjoyment of this amazing artist and all that he has brought to my life over many years through his music. Other people's mileage may vary, as they say, and that's fine, too.

I have nothing more to add to this discussion, because the way I do/did things is my own, and no-one else's, and the way others do things is theirs, not mine, thus I shall take my leave, because this is not my path. Have a nice journey.
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:10 am

LisaLCFan wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:57 am
I have nothing more to add to this discussion, because the way I do/did things is my own, and no-one else's, and the way others do things is theirs, not mine, thus I shall take my leave, because this is not my path. Have a nice journey.
I am so sorry if I said something wrong. I have valued everyone's feedback and comments and have appreciated you all.
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby LisaLCFan » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:12 am

Oh, Hi Vickie, I see that you made a new post. No, of course you said nothing wrong!

I am glad that you have found Leonard, but we must all go our own ways and follow our hearts and minds, and my way is a quiet and private one, and I could not possibly express everything about Leonard that I admire and love -- it is of a deep nature and not really of words (and it does not compare to any other artist -- Cohen is unique, as are my feelings about his work). I need to go back to that path now -- this online chatting thing is not really "me".

Incidentally, there is a poetry section (this forum is quite clearly laid out by subject on the "Board Index" page -- it should not be too hard to find), although it tends to focus on the non-song poems, not the song poems. There have been many discussions about the poetry of the songs, by album, and maybe you could take a tour through the forum one of these days and you may find all sorts of things that interest you, and people who like to chat about them (if they are still around -- there is some current, ongoing chat about You Want it Darker).

All the best!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:40 pm

I am feeling badly. Sort of like a few weeks after the honeymoon when something minor (I've told you to put the toilet seat down and you ignore this tiny request) leads to a misunderstanding and unmeant harsh words. I am not sure where things went awry on this thread, I hope there are no ill feelings.

Everyone got acquainted with Leonard's music differently, probably a direct result of when in his career they discovered him and (in my case) if there was an extended period when they were out of touch with his music. There is no right or wrong way, I think we all know and agree upon that.

Faced with Vickie's original inquiry of how she might make her journey, I answered truthfully that moving through his catalog chronologically seemed like an attractive method, as she would experience how Leonard responded to several decades' worth of changes in the music world. His responses did, indeed, change the overall impact of his music on the listener, but in ways that almost always adhered to the proviso that a good song must have a good tune or melody, and that never compromised his lyrics.

So it is not unusual that there would be a little trepidation each time Vickie unwraps a new album. We've all experienced this throughout our lives, because it was/is common in the music world for a songwriter/band to put out two or three albums that we absolutely loved, only to eventually follow up with a train wreck. I recall when I was younger always experiencing a little fear when I first listened to any band's third or fourth album, fear that this would be the one demonstrating that they had run out of material!

The true test of whether or not a songwriter/band has successfully evolved his/its music is not how one feels after the first listen, but how one feels after a series of listens. Other than the unfortunate DOALM, it has never taken me more than a few plays (at most half a dozen) before I came to really like 75%-90% of the songs.

I think I said in an earlier post that "witnessing" some one else becoming acquainted with Leonard's music was interesting because it allows others to recollect their feelings back when they first became fans. That has proven to be the case, especially since Vickie is so generous about sharing her thoughts and feelings. Others have done this as well, and I hope they will continue to.

As for your earlier question, Vickie, Various Positions is my favorite album in the later group through Dear Heather. My favorite song is "Dance Me to the End of Love," perhaps in large part due to its being the first song in every concert we were fortunate enough to attend. Clear as a bell I can recall sitting and waiting, then "ten minutes," "five minutes," lights going down, and shadows moving on the dark stage, then the Webb sisters' "La-la, la-la, la-la-la-la-la-la,..." and finally Leonard's voice as the stage lights up. Hope subsequent listens to Various Positions have made the "pop" label fade away.

Really off this general topic, but it is related to Vickie's dog incident. In my town there was a dreadful incident yesterday involving a pit-bull/pit-bull mix. A young single woman owned the dog for about 2-1/2 years apparently without problems. Then yesterday neighbors responded to screams, and they found her being mauled relentlessly by the dog on her deck. By the time neighbors got the dog off her (requiring a gun shot), she was bleeding profusely, and she died on the way to the hospital. No one can fathom what prompted the attack, according to the police the dog appeared to be very well cared for.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!

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