Ten New Songs

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:34 am

Actually, you've just introduced an additional facet to what I was saying, i.e. cherishing anything Leonard Cohen. The I'm Your Man and The Future albums are both more "modernistic" in their electronic sounds, whereas his earlier albums hearken back more to the "60s" and all that, that encompasses. The musical tastes of the I'm Your Man and The Future albums would be less likely to encompass Ten New Songs, than the tastes of those who are now closer to Leonard's age and have come through and are anticipating similar life [as well as death] experiences. Does that help you to read what I meant a little easier? However, I like and agree with your cherishing aspect.
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Post by Aisling » Wed Mar 19, 2003 2:53 am

I see your point, but I have to disagree a little. I have a friend who's been a fan since his first album came out, and she also prefers his earlier work to Ten New, I think it's simply a matter of taste. I do like Ten New, and there are parts of it that I can really identify with, sometimes I listen to it for days on end when I want a good bout of nostalgia! More often, though, it's just not my cup of tea, and I think that has more to do with personal preference than age or length of fan-hood.
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Post by Robert » Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:10 am

I think there are a couple, at least, dynamics at work here.

One is the ability to recognize the "cohen essence" in a lyric. It is like seeing someone you haven't seen for years, but you still recognize him immediately even though he might have gained weight, gone bald, and is wearing a beard. You recognize that certain something of Leonard that the artist projects into his work.

The other dimension is the evolution of musical expression that the different works represent. From 50's beat music to the present mellow easy listening leonard.

Tennyson said that "all experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled word whose margin fades forever and forever when I move."

Leonard's art is Leonard's life. It is the young man, the island poet, the wanderer, the monk, and the sage. And on it goes, always Leonard and always moving. So it may be said of us all.
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:30 am

Hi Robert ~
I really like your Tennyson quote a lot, as well as the excellent distinctions you've made regarding Leonard and his lyrics. I wasn't even addressing either of those elements. In addition, what I was addressing, I wasn't doing sufficiently enough. For whatever reason, the things I've been trying to say today have simply not been getting said adequately. Perhaps I'm not drinking enough water. Or perhaps world affairs have me to the point of distraction.

It occurred to me enroute home tonite that my comment regarding his I'm Your Man and The Future albums as being more modernistic and the older fans perhaps being more open to Ten New Songs, it seemed I may have been suggesting that Ten New Songs is some way similar musically [or otherwise] to his earlier music, which is not at all what I meant. What I meant [and as Aisling has pointed to with the word "nostalgic"] is that the state of mind and being of older fans is more likely to be in closer alignment with the current-day Leonard, which led to this album. By sheer number of years, we also are more likely to have "more" to be nostalgic about. Though we would like to consider ourselves "sage," few of us would claim that position, though we are certainly able to recognize, experientially, some of the truths put forth by Leonard....."except to say it isn't worth a dime."

Of course, we must also keep in mind that the melodies and arrangements are primarily Sharon generated....however, Leonard said he preferred what she did with his songs to what he was doing with them....hence, they still represent Leonard.

So, so, so, so true what you're saying regarding recognition of the essence of his lyric and an old friend, regardless of external changes. Older fans have had more years of friendship building in that regard and the patina of those friendships is unique unto itself, as a result. I believe there's also a certain camaraderie that comes with survival, period.

With what you are saying, Aisling, I'm not suggesting that the younger groups don't like Ten New Songs.....however, it does seem from the feedback I've seen that the stronger stands against it tend to come from younger people, or people who have not been listening to Leonard for the past 30 [or nearly so] years.
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Post by Robert » Wed Mar 19, 2003 5:04 am

Dear Lizzy,
I don't think you should need to apologize for or denigrate anything you have to say. If this is a day you consider yourself less than fully cogent, then I'll be pleased to while away time with you in pleasant, scintillating conversation on any such day.

The quote is from Tennyson's "Ulysses". It is perhaps my favorite poem and especially so as the years go by. Instead of the youthful warrior of the Trojan War and the Odyssey, Tennyson's Ulysses is an aging king looking not at the past, but desiring to "follow knowledge like a sinking star far beyond the utmost bounds of human thought."

He finishes the poem with this exhortation:

"Come my friends,
its not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order,
smite the sounding furrows.
For my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset
and the baths of all the western stars
until I die. I may be
that the gulfs will wash us down
It may be we shall reach the happy isles
and meet the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides
And though we have not now
that strength that in older days
moved earth and heaven
that which we are we are
One equal temper of heroic heart
made weak by time and fate
but strong in will,
to strive
to seek,
to find
and not to yield."
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Mar 19, 2003 7:40 am

"Wull thanks, Robert" :) ....I sure didn't anticipate a supportive response having to do with me expressing myself. Thanks, for sure, however. It's been a distracting kind of day, punctuated by a most incredible full moon tonite. Even though it had an amber glow, it reminded me of silvery, winter-night moons on Christmas cards that say, "Silent night / holy night." I wished that the coming nights would remain silent and holy, and wondered if the hemispheres are such that the soldiers were seeing it as well, or if they're seeing only a portion, or none at all.....as I recall hearing that the plan was to attack when there's no moon, and hence total darkness. There we go again, thoughts are quite circular these days, and just keep returning....

Thanks for the concluding passage of Tennyson's poem. Such worthy aspirations to carry to the end, overflowing with hope and beauty. It prompts an inspiration that catches the breath. I get the impression it's become your personal credo. I can understand that.
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Ten New...

Post by David » Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 am

re: "Ten New..."

...I think that parts of the set are among the most brilliant he's ever done (e.g., "Alexandra"), although the dragged-out tempos sometimes tend to rob the lyrics of their continuity, and thus their immediacy-- but ooooh! How I wish he'd left that utterly devastating verse about "the Belsen heap" in "A Thousand Kisses" -- my spine tingles whenever I read it.

But, although I've been around since "Songs" first came out, I may not be the best one to evaluate Leonard's recent output. I don't have all that much trouble with his modernist conteporary backing, because that gravelly voice cuts through everything and makes it exquisitely human and sensually charged. However, almost alone among all people I know or have read, I thought "I'm Your Man" was, on purely lyric terms, just about his least satisfying ever. Only "Everybody Knows" and "Take This Waltz" (which wasn't even technically his own song) stand up to anything approaching the best of his other work.

I found the title tune to be mostly trite; I found "Tower Of Song" to have its witty moments ("I'm aching in places where I used to play"), but to me it vastly outlasted its own conceit. "Ain't No Cure For Love" seemed to me like an uncharacteristic attempt at pop-song banality ("Memories" without the irony); "Jazz Police," aside from that wonderfully and wickedly barbed "freeom-loving racist... beautiful and spacious" verse, seemed like a witty idea stillborn. "I Can't Forget," to me, is among the weakest efforts Leonard has ever committed to wax.

So... what do I know!?
"Nothing is said that is not sung."
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10 new songs

Post by witty_owl » Wed Apr 30, 2003 8:48 am

I first picked up a copy of 10 new songs nearly 18 months ago at CD sale and bought it out of curiosity. Listening to it outstripped my feeble expectations. I was very much into Leonard's music in the early 70's and learned to play many of his songs then. After 'Love and Hate' I lost track of his career for decades. So I did not know what to expect really- but I had read some press about his sojourn in a Zen retreat, so I was curious.
Needless to say I think the lyrics are awsome and listening, many of the songs elicited tears. I heard a very mature man coming to terms with himself and the world.
Musically I was seduced and I think this had as much to do with Sharon as it did with Leonard. The female voice is a perfect harmony to Leonard's deeply sonorous vocals. I know that many will find this modern, partly sequenced treatment insipid but for me it is a welcome relief from the angst and aggro of much modern, rock/grunge, rap and hip hop claptrap. Sharon has clearly done a lot of hard yards in learning how to use the new (sequence) technology to its best advantage. As a minor singer/songwriter who has spent time working alone in a studio with old and new technologies; I know how difficult the process is and how much effort it takes to achieve a satisfactory result. I think it is perfect for Leonard at this time in his life for he is not an angry young man any more. He has matured like a full bodied, vintage red wine and the years in the cellar (or on the mountain top) have achieved the desired result.

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Post by Linda » Mon Jun 23, 2003 6:38 pm

I was able to sit back and really listen to and enjoy Ten New Songsagain after quite some time. Line after line with so much meaning and that voice of his. WOW
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ten new songs

Post by mastersong » Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:13 pm

Hi everyone,

I don't want to use words like ' the old-guy has still somethings to say '. Cause Cohen or such old-men will always have things to say and will always have more things to say and better things to say and will get stronger and stronger. I find the lyrics of Cohen on this album as the best album of ALL TIMES. yes the all times. I have not listened to any other album from anybody else, this cauregous, this hopeful and this beautiful and I don't think that there will be somebody else who will be able to make the perfect realtion between music and the poetry. Ten new songs is just perfetctly done.

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Post by lizzytysh » Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:58 pm

Excellent commentary, mastersong. I like your calling of it as being courageous, hopeful, beautiful, and perfectly done.

~ Lizzytysh
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Post by Boogahbo » Tue Nov 25, 2003 10:03 pm

Reading your posts here makes me want to kick my age -now really, why I couldn't been born earlier? Now only thing left to do for me is to try to catch the past :?

About Ten New Songs: I find it to be an excellent album. Of course I know nothing about music or writing but I find the lyrics to be wonderful and the music is soothing. I like to listen to it at night when it's dark and silent. The music covers me completely and there's nothing more in the world than Leonard's voice and the lyrics.
"Who's the criminal? Who's Jack the Ripper in the Room?"
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Re: Ten New Songs

Post by bruinsy19 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:03 pm

I have listened to Ten New Songs almost everyday since purchasing it a couple of years ago.I think it is just brilliant.I think it is his most consistent album.Other albums by LC certainly have great songs scattered throughout them but the whole doesn't come together in the way TNS does.
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Re: Ten New Songs

Post by lonndubh » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:26 pm

Yes I too think that TNS is a work of art. I was so intrigued by Alexandra Leaving that I just had to find the inspiration behind it and discovered it came from a Poet named C Cavafys and the Poem was called " the God abandon Anthony. It must have been the luxury of embracing solitude up in Mt Baldy ( and the special brew ) that brought him to these heights
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Re: Ten New Songs

Post by woolf » Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:11 am

I was a few years that I hadn't listened to that album and I started listening to that again last month and I sighed a lot that I had taken all this great songs for granted for all this time. My favorite songs of this album are A Thousand Kisses Deep and Boogie Street.
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