RECENT SONGS ALBUM

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
MarioJoel
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RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby MarioJoel » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:50 pm

There's so much to look at and up an Leonard's work; that most of the time, it's precisely time the only tool we are left with to measure the impact of this man's work. Fort some reason, I have gone back to Recent Songs, and after having listened to and thought about it for over several days. I feel that this album is definitely "underrated". At the distance of thirty years, this album comes back an install itself as one of L.C's best ever. The album is flawless and its unity is surprising. More and more, it starts to look like one of the Beatle's monster albums. The more you listen to it, the more you like it.

take a listen. Wine and cigars can definitely make the occasion better.

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Mario Joel
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John Etherington
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby John Etherington » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:11 pm

Hi MarioJoel,

"Recent Songs" is definitely Leonard's "masterpiece unsigned". It's always been one of my favourite albums, and possibly my favourite. "The Window" and "Ballad of the Absent Mare" are totally exquisite,and there are so many other gems - "The Guests", "Came So Far For Beauty", "The Traitor", "Lady of Solitude", "The Gypsy's Wife" and "The Smokey Life". Even "Humbled in Love" has its place. The only possible improvement that could have been made to the album was (as Jim Devlin suggested) the replacement of "The Lost Canadian" with "Misty Blue", which Leonard was performing live around that time. Somehow the album got missed by many, coming as it did in the wake of "Death of a Ladies Man". However, it was the work that put Leonard right back on his true path. I must say that it feels good to still have "Recent Songs" as such a well-kept secret!

All the best, John E
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby UrPal » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:41 pm

Not so recent an album any more though is it?

Same goes for Ten New Songs.

It's strange that such temporally fixed titles have been chosen for albums, since they inevitably pass a virtual "sell by date" soon after release. Of course, for newcomers the whole back catalogue becomes "new" on discovery so to that extent the title remains an allurement. The name keeps it artificially fresh, so to speak. And perhaps also serves to confuse the relativist!

Many of LCs album titles lack the lyrical imagination that lies beneath - "Songs of...", "Songs from..", "Live Songs", "Cohen Live" etc. Is it a case of the author being so exhausted by the pre-production process he can't spare the energy to spend much time agonising over peripherals such as the album name? Or is there some hidden text? Deliberate concealment of hidden treasure by hiding it in a brown paper bag? Or just plain modesty and avoidance of ostentation?
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby MarioJoel » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:47 am

Hello,

Good point! There's almost no attractive title in LC's albums: Ten New Songs, Recent Soongs, etc, but again, he doesn't care. I bet "I came so far for beauty" could have made the trick. But now that you mention it, probably none of the greatest albums in history have a suggestive catchy title at all.

BEst,
MArio
brokenhill
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby brokenhill » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:41 am

UrPal wrote:Not so recent an album any more though is it?
Many of LCs album titles lack the lyrical imagination that lies beneath - "Songs of...", "Songs from..", "Live Songs", "Cohen Live" etc. Is it a case of the author being so exhausted by the pre-production process he can't spare the energy to spend much time agonising over peripherals such as the album name? Or is there some hidden text? Deliberate concealment of hidden treasure by hiding it in a brown paper bag? Or just plain modesty and avoidance of ostentation?
Intriguing question, UrPal.

Then again, I have heard that other artists tend to think "The Future" is one of the great album titles of all time. After thinking about it for a while, it is pretty magnificent. It could be accidental though, given the workmanlike nature of all the other album titles? (apart from New Skin For The Old Ceremony and Dear Heather )
Still reliving every second of:1970 Isle of Wight, 1985 Birmingham, 2008 Manchester OH , Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Birmingham, 2009 Liverpool and ................ :o)
alb123
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby alb123 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:53 pm

What a fantastic post! I too an often baffled by the lack of recognition for this great album. I think it would be safe to say that I listen to at least one or two tracks of this album every week while I listen to music on my BlackBerry...Absolutely brilliant writing on this album. I will never forget hearing it for the first time: When "The Traitor" finished, I think I listened to it about three or four more times to absorb its beauty and contemplate...

Chris
Waterbury, CT - May 14, 2009
Las Vegas, NV - Dec 11, 2010 (Final Show of Leonard's 3 year World Tour) INCREDIBLE!
Boston, MA - Dec 15, 2012 (Best L.C. concert I've been to!)
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somewhat_nifty
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby somewhat_nifty » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:50 pm

I think this is one of the most lyrically beautiful of Leonard's albums, I just love it! The Ballad of the Absent Mare, The Traitor, The Window are breathtaking. It's weird how it almost seems to fly under the radar. I've had terrible problems trying to buy the guitar songbook to add to my collection, can't get hold of one for love nor money :(

Regarding the names of Leonard's albums, I like the fact that they're often just simple descriptions - the simplicity is a good contrast to the lyrical mastery within. Often album names can come off sounding really pretentious, and this sidesteps that problem neatly. In the UK, there was an ad campaign for floor varnish called Ronseal that used the slogan 'it does exactly what it says on the tin', that became a meme or catchphrase. I think Leonard has 'ronseal' albums: The Songs of Leonard Cohen - you've got songs of Leonard Cohen; Recent Songs - here are some recent songs; Ten New Songs - what have you got, 10 new songs! I think it's great.
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anneporter
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby anneporter » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:11 pm

somewhat_nifty wrote:I've had terrible problems trying to buy the guitar songbook to add to my collection, can't get hold of one for love nor money

I am fortunate to have puchased the original songbook way back in the day and can let you have a copy. No money required, just mutual love of an everlasting object of beauty. And the willingness to engage in a little copyright violation.

If a copy will suffice, PM me your address.

Anne
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Jim Williams
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby Jim Williams » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:06 pm

UrPal wrote:Not so recent an album any more though is it?

Same goes for Ten New Songs.

It's strange that such temporally fixed titles have been chosen for albums, since they inevitably pass a virtual "sell by date" soon after release. Of course, for newcomers the whole back catalogue becomes "new" on discovery so to that extent the title remains an allurement. The name keeps it artificially fresh, so to speak. And perhaps also serves to confuse the relativist!

Many of LCs album titles lack the lyrical imagination that lies beneath - "Songs of...", "Songs from..", "Live Songs", "Cohen Live" etc. Is it a case of the author being so exhausted by the pre-production process he can't spare the energy to spend much time agonising over peripherals such as the album name? Or is there some hidden text? Deliberate concealment of hidden treasure by hiding it in a brown paper bag? Or just plain modesty and avoidance of ostentation?
Fabulous post. 'Brown paper bags' concealing gems certainly seems to describe well such prosaic packages. And, for me, Recent Songs is certainly a contender for most undervalued album of all time (at the risk of ignoring the sublime Ten New Songs!).
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Jonnie Falafel
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby Jonnie Falafel » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:41 pm

The violin on The Traitor sends me off to another world. Recent Songs and New Skin are the albums that consistently enchant, entrance & enthrall me.
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table top joe
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby table top joe » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:09 pm

John Etherington wrote: Somehow the album got missed by many, coming as it did in the wake of "Death of a Ladies Man".


Id imagine that played a big part in it,and it doesnt have any "big" songs on it,a "Hallelujah","Im Your Man" etc.......ive never heard "Misty Blue" but id happily replace "The Lost Canadian" with something else,always felt that track interrupted the flow of the album(though i see from someones list on the other thread its their favourite song off it!)i was delighted to see "The Gypsy Wife" make it to the tour but "Came So Far For Beauty" would have been a great addition too


somewhat_nifty wrote:i think Leonard has 'ronseal' albums

:D



Ive never liked how he names his albums to be honest,its very starnge that a man who can spend years on a song can give such boring names to his albums,though i do look forward to his forthcoming "Songs I Wrote During The Tour" album
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somewhat_nifty
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby somewhat_nifty » Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:51 pm

table top joe wrote:
Ive never liked how he names his albums to be honest,its very starnge that a man who can spend years on a song can give such boring names to his albums,though i do look forward to his forthcoming "Songs I Wrote During The Tour" album
:lol: I'm sure it will be a similarly no nonsense name! I suppose currently they are 'Nascent Songs' ...
I'm chained to the old masquerade...
2008: London O2 14th Nov, RAH 18th Nov; 2009: NY RCMH 16th May, Weybridge MBW 11th July, Barcelona 21st Sept; 2010: Sligo 31st July, Lille 25th Sept, Las Vegas 11th Dec; 2012: Wembley Arena 8th Sept, Dublin 11th Sept 2013: London O2 21st June, London O2 14th Sept
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phillip
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby phillip » Mon May 03, 2010 5:18 pm

I love all LC albums and yes Recent songs is a great great album:)
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
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tomsakic
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby tomsakic » Tue May 04, 2010 11:18 am

Well, according to Leonard's 2001 interview, it's his best album in his opinion.
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B4real
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Re: RECENT SONGS ALBUM

Postby B4real » Tue May 04, 2010 12:37 pm

tomsakic wrote:Well, according to Leonard's 2001 interview, it's his best album in his opinion.
I am on record previously on this forum in agreement with the above.
It is my favourite album :D
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