Popular Problems - Album Reviews

This section is dedicated to the new studio album and the Dublin concert video
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:03 pm

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by Midnightchoir37 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:54 am

I just thought I'd add my review to the mix here. I posted a review on my music blog. Here is the link: http://michaelsmusiclog.blogspot.com/20 ... 14-cd.html
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:41 pm

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by sebmelmoth2003 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:48 pm

bbc radio 4 - front row - review by the one-and-only ruth barnes - https://twitter.com/ruthbarnesmusic

Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:06 am
Location: far north of Scotland

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by davidrichards » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:38 pm

Have to agree with Zimmy. Maybe there are contractual difficulties but the touring band is infinitely superior to that used on this recording and "Live in London", for example, recorded "on the road", is I think a much better production with a far superior musical arrangement. Although it will not go down well with many I am sure, I am not convinced that the collaboration with Patrick Leonard does anything to enhance Leonard's work. For me it has exactly the opposite effect. Having been listening to, and collecting his recordings since the 1960's I am sadly disappointed with "Popular Problems".
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 6:13 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by amcgee » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:20 pm


Overall i think it is a great album, i tend to prefer his live albums as opposed to his studio ones, the last few studio ones for me were only ok, this is better and more bluesy
a good mixture of songs, one or 2 are passable, one in particular "Did i ever Love you" is ok, but once the corus comes in i just want the song to end, dreadful. amerturish at best, but thats my opinion.
my oh my , Nevermind, and almost like the blues. are great tunes, overall its a great album, not bad for an 80 year old
Born With The Gift Of A G
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 6:08 pm
Location: Manchester, England

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by Born With The Gift Of A G » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:49 pm

"Little lady.....I AM Kris Kristofferson....."
London: 10 & 11 May 1993; Manchester: 17, 18, 19 & 20 June 2008; Vienna: 25 September 2008; London: 17 November 2008; Paris: 26 November 2008; Manchester: 30 November 2008; Liverpool: 14 July 2009; Paris: 28 September 2012; Manchester: 31 August 2013; Leeds: 7 September 2013.
Posts: 243
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:29 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by Athnuachan » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:13 pm

Have resisted streaming,etc., and am enjoying getting to know LC's latest.
Nothing beats the thrill of seeing a Leonard Cohen album on the new releases rack in my local Golden Discs!
Except of course buying it, taking it home and listening to it in peace and quiet.

This man is full of surprises!
On "Dear Heather" he sounded weary and past it. (Though I still love a few tracks on it, especially "Nightingale" )
On "Old Ideas" he sounded rejuvenated.
On "Popular Problems" he sounds as if he could go on forever!

Much as I loved the concerts and the touring band I can see how difficult it would be to get all those people together long enough to make a recording. ( They are scattered and trying to make their own livings)
I am glad Alex made it though, with his gorgeous violin playing.
I am eagerly looking forward to a new "from the road" dvd, but I love this too.
It makes a very satisfying half hour's listening.
"Samson in New Orleans" is the one I will listen to most, I think, whereas "Born in Chains" is the one I will skip - tedious. (Never liked it anyway!)
I like the humour of "Slow" at the beginning and "You got me singing" at the end. (Really? He's reciting more than singing here!)
"Did I ever love you" and "Nevermind" are strange concoctions, but interesting - the former with its sudden change of tempo, the latter with its haunting Arabic refrain.
Some of the others could be described as pleasant ditties, nothing wrong with that either.
The whole thing sounds fresh and energetic, not bad for an 80 year old!
Ring the bells that still can ring...
User avatar
Posts: 601
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:55 pm
Location: London

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by lightasabreeze » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:27 pm

by Zimmy66 on Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:25 pm

I'm going to get 'pelters' for this on here but I don't like the production at all. It's lazy.

The poetry and words are all Leonard's. But the rest? Amateurish.

You Got Me Singing is the best track on the album.

Why doesn't Leonard get his 'touring band' into the studio with him? All of these songs/poems would sound so much better.
I agree with you Zimmy66 I think the arrangements are just ordinary. I have only played it twice up till now, but it does not make me want to play it again just yet. Usually I will play his CD's over and over.
Somebody must have died for you
A Thousand Kisses Deep

London 02 x 3..... Radio city New York... Wet Weybridge..... Wembley Arena... Brighton..
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:44 pm
Location: wirral, uk

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by cohenadmirer » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:05 pm

Zimmy66 wrote:I'm going to get 'pelters' for this on here but I don't like the production at all. It's lazy.

The poetry and words are all Leonard's. But the rest? Amateurish.

You Got Me Singing is the best track on the album.

Why doesn't Leonard get his 'touring band' into the studio with him? All of these songs/poems would sound so much better.
Can imagine live versions of these songs would be fantastic - and hope that's' not completely left to imagination !
Leonard's work resonates
Brighton 1979; Dublin , Manchester june 2008; glasgow, manchester Nov 2008; Liverpool july 2009 ; Barcelona Sept 2009 ;marseille, lille september2010: Ghent August 2012;Barcelona October 2012;Montreal x2 November 2012: 2013; Saint John NB April 2013; Brussels June 2013;Manchester August 2013; Leeds , Birmingham September 2013; Amsterdam September 2013
User avatar
Posts: 4110
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by sturgess66 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:59 am

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/mu ... 7079976128
Album reviews: Leonard Cohen, [et al.]
October 04, 2014 12:00AM

Leonard Cohen gets the funk up on his latest effort. Source: AFP

THIS week’s album reviews from The Courier-Mail (ratings out of five stars):
Popular Problems (Sony)


OH LEONARD, you got funky. In a very Leonard way, of course, but listen to that slippery bass on the sublime Almost Like the Blues, which naturally enough isn’t quite a blues but is certainly the kind of song which invites you to shake your hip.

Then there’s the ominous Hammond organ and punchy brass on A Street. This is a similar sound to the one we’ve heard on his late-career world tours. A different band but that same sumptuous R & B pulse. And My Oh My, with its Memphis-style horns. It’s Cohen as if produced by Isaac Hayes.

He is moving into uncharted territory now. Painters have done great work at 80, classical composers, poets. But songwriters? Cohen, born in 1934 and an adult long before anyone coined the term singer-songwriter, is still with us, the spirit willing and the creative muscle as match-fit as ever. And after that period of messing around with those dinky Casio keyboard sounds in his records, the sound here, with producer and co-writer Patrick Leonard, is rich and warming, his verses honed to a razor-sharp edge.

It is wrong to say that Cohen’s career is all about the lyrics, he has always found interesting musical settings for his examinations of the human condition. But when you drink up those words, that’s when the music really catches fire.

As ever, there is a twinkle in the eye, the sly R & B groove of Slow, which spins off his preference in music and love: “I like to take my time/All your turns are tight/Let me catch my breath/I thought we had all night.’’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLcV ... VegcCcMNS4

Elsewhere, it’s those old pains of the heart, songs of love, desire, remorse and even hope, often presented with the imagery of war, apocalypse, the Old Testament.

He’s been at this since the release of his first album, at 34, in 1968. And there are still very few working in music who can match his lyrics for clarity, for economy, for precision, for grace.

Almost Like the Blues begins: “I saw some people starving/There was murder, there was rape/Their villages were burning/They were trying to escape …’’

He might be talking to an old lover in A Street, or to a nation, and either way the best of times have passed. Nevermind begins with a metronomic beat, introduces Papa Was a Rolling Stone-like strings, female vocals singing from a Middle Eastern scale, with Cohen delivering a tale as old as humanity itself, concluding “My woman’s here/My children’s too/Their graves are safe/From the likes of you.’’

Born in Chains is somewhere between hymn and Percy Sledge’s When a Man Loves a Woman; Samson in New Orleans could be written by someone abandoned in that city, abandoned by their faith, abandoned by their country.

And Did I Ever Love You will certainly be the most tender letter to an old lover you will hear this year, as Cohen observes: “The lemon trees blossom/The almond trees wither/Was I ever someone/Who could love you forever?’’

At 34, at 50, 60, 80, do you think the human heart is ever over that?

You can try to pretend otherwise. Leonard’s here to tell you it’s not so.

He’s telling us what all the great ones do. We are not alone.

Noel Mengel
User avatar
Cheshire gal
Posts: 805
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:54 am
Location: Al. USA

Re: Popular Problems - Album Reviews

Post by Cheshire gal » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:02 am

Thank you sturgess for posting, what has to be, the best review of Popular Problems I have read so far. It's great to see how much respect Leonard is getting these days, after years of neglect, for his fine albums of the past. This is a wonderful tribute to him.
Thank you Noel Mengel
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
Post Reply

Return to “2014 releases: Popular Problems & Live in Dublin”