Which is your favorite Leonard Cohen period?

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums

Which is your favorite Leonard Cohen period?

The 1950s
2
2%
The 1960s
17
19%
The 1970s
27
30%
The 1980s
18
20%
The 1990s
9
10%
The 2000s
18
20%
 
Total votes: 91
Ghoti
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Post by Ghoti » Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:41 pm

I voted quite a while ago (sixties, though I was tempted towards the Naughties... then the seventies... then the nineties) but I was just wondering what everyone's least favourite decade/album is. I know it might be hard and I'm not saying you have to dislike any partcular period. For me it has to be the 80's and, specifically, IYM. Although i do like some of the songs on the album (and later I loved Various Positions) but the techno was just too much of a surprise after hearing only early (acoustic) albums and the mellow (acousticesque) Ten New Songs.
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chappelle
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Post by chappelle » Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:34 am

It's a tough one but I went for the 80's. VP was my introduction to LC ( a revelation!) around 1987 and I saw him live in 1988 on the IYM tour. It might sound a bit pseudy but these two albums conjour up deep personal feelings and help define a key chapter in my life.
I'd also like to cheat and include Field Commander Cohen in the 80's!
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Jim Williams
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Post by Jim Williams » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:45 pm

What I find intriguing about the voting here is that, seeing as LC only released two albums in the 60s, does that mean that, taken together, Songs Of Leonard Cohen and Songs From A Room dwarf the five official releases of the 70s? I guess so. To be honest, I can't remember which decade I voted for. There's a unity to his body of work that, despite clear differences in style and approach over the years, makes it difficult to single out a particular decade as marking a measurable 'highpoint'. And of course, there are other questions to factor in. Are we talking studio releases and/or official live recordings? Or favourite tours maybe? Novels and poetry? And why should 'the 60s', 'the 70s' and so on be taken seriously as retrospectively useful excuses to squeeze LC's artistic output into conveniently chronological boxes? It might work for the Stones, but I'm not sure it does for Cohen. Also, the decade theory doesn't always coincide with when the songs were actually written. Just a thought.
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jerry
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Post by jerry » Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:15 am

My favorite LC period? The time between his first album and today.
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Jim Williams
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Post by Jim Williams » Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:31 pm

jerry wrote:My favorite LC period? The time between his first album and today.
Touché.
cdb
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4 Periods of LC

Post by cdb » Sun Oct 30, 2005 1:04 am

Although I can see why the poll asks for the favourite Leonard Cohen 'period' by decade, I have to agree with some other posts that have pointed to this classification's limitations.

I think most of the albums link to the next chronological one quite nicely. The only exception being Death of a Ladies Man (perhaps).

Personally I distinguish between several stages in Leonard Cohen's career as a singer/songwriter. (I'm unfairly ignoring his poetry/prose for the this post.) Of course, I appreciate the categorisiation of any artist's oevre is a somewhat academic exercise, but I always think of the releases in the following way:

EARLY PERIOD

Songs of Leonard Cohen
Songs From a Room
Songs of Love and Hate

The early albums contain too many classics to mention here. Songs of Love and Hate pushes against the boundaries of this early 'acoustic' style that favours lyrical over muscial emotion.

PERIOD OF TRANSITION

New Skin for the Old Ceremony
Death of a Ladies Man
Recent Songs

I think of this period as a time when Cohen was experimenting with his songwriting and production style (the lyrics remain strong throughout). New Skin could possibly be included in the first period, but I think it marks a significant departure from the 'Early Period' in style, even from 'Songs of Love and Hate'. Note the artists he works with and song-structure on Recent Songs- they point towards the following years...

PERIOD OF MATURITY

Various Positions
I'm Your Man
The Future

Although at times the 'synthy' sound detracts somewhat from the beauty of the lyrics and the songwriting, this stage is a period of maturity for Cohen. Few artists can come up with classics such as 'Hallelujah' and 'The Future' in the later satges of their careers.

LATE PERIOD

Ten New Songs
Dear Heather
[Another album, we all hope...]

This is the period beyond maturity- it is transcendence. Friends of mine who know nothing about Leonard Cohen comment on the Zen-like wisdom of 10 New Songs. And Dear Heather, much maligned by long standing fans, well I ask you who else would be brave enough to release THIS album at any stage in their career. Certainly not Franz Ferdinand!


Maybe you all have different perspectives on the development of LC's career? If so I'd love to read about them- I certainly don't think of this all too brief summary as definitive. (I try not to be too pedantic and academic about interpretations as I've seen how misleading such ways can be.)

At the end of the day the most important thing about this music is to hear it, enjoy it and to work out what it means to YOU.

Regards,
CDB
Cohen Kid
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Post by Cohen Kid » Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:40 am

Hello, I voted for the 60's, long before I was born! hahaha
I think his voice sounded the best in the sixties and 80's (I'm your man: how he sings Manhattan is really frightening and cool!), but I also like everything since, but his voice now seem very low. Not bad, but if I have to choose then i'd choose 60's.
I didn't do 70's because of the Ladiesman lp. I like the song with the album title, but not so much the rest, i'm afraid. his voice seems a bit strange sometimes too. I don't have the love and hate lp, but I do have the first 2, which are cool 8)
bye
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Quasand
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Post by Quasand » Fri Nov 04, 2005 4:22 am

Is this a scientific poll?
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Fri Nov 04, 2005 4:30 am

Hi cdb ~

I enjoyed seeing how you grouped the albums and explained your reasoning behind the 'periods' ~ I followed your reasoning and agree. I like the idea of being able to view all of these albums in a sort of 'order' such as you've given them.

~ Lizzy
YankovicGretzky
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Post by YankovicGretzky » Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:31 am

Quasand wrote:Is this a scientific poll?

No!
Last edited by YankovicGretzky on Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Cohen Kid
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Post by Cohen Kid » Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:37 am

The only science thing about it is that it is hard to explain how a voice could drop in height so much in a few years...
Listen to the difference between DOALM and I"m your man
Needs to be something scientific to explain that! :roll:
A sip of wine, a cigarette
And then it's time to go
I tidied up the kitchenette
I tuned the old banjo
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margaret
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Post by margaret » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:42 am

Either the effect of too many cigarettes or he finally found the right key to sing in :wink:
Cohen Kid
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Post by Cohen Kid » Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:10 am

Ah, ok!
Well, I didn't mind his voice going so low, but sometimes these days it's too low (but it's not that I don't like it, or else 10 new songs wouldn't have been my favourite album!)

Thanks
stefan :P
A sip of wine, a cigarette
And then it's time to go
I tidied up the kitchenette
I tuned the old banjo
-10 new songs, Boogie Street
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Yankovic
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Re: Which is your favorite Leonard Cohen period?

Post by Yankovic » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:12 am

For those who have not voted yet...
They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
John Etherington
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Re: Which is your favorite Leonard Cohen period?

Post by John Etherington » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:51 am

Hi Tri-me,

Leonard saved (in his case, un-soppy) duet till 1993 - "Born to Lose" with Elton John: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpxX8YP5HhI

Leonard has achieved true musical greatness in each decade - Songs of (60s), Love and Hate/Recent Songs (70s), I'm Your Man (80s), The Future (90s), Ten New Songs (00s). Performance wise, he has got better and better.

All the best, John E
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