11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the generally restrained, often bare arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s first three studio albums, New Skin for the Old Ceremony—Cohen’s fourth studio album—allowed for grander instrumentation. Producer John Lissauer and Cohen broke the spell at just the right moment. The opener, “Is This What You Wanted,” starts with a distinct level of defiance and the sound of drums clearly meant to surprise. “Chelsea Hotel #2”—Cohen’s parable regarding an encounter with Janis Joplin—remains the album’s best-known song and one of Cohen’s all-time finest, written with his guitarist Ron Cornelius. “Who by Fire” and “Take This Longing” further continued Cohen’s streak of writing solemn but spirited songs that felt timeless. “Lover Lover Lover,” “Field Commander Cohen,” and “Leaving Green Sleeves” (based on a reworking of the 15th-century folk song) demonstrated Cohen’s wilder (often humorous) side, which hadn't been overt on previous studio albums.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the generally restrained, often bare arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s first three studio albums, New Skin for the Old Ceremony—Cohen’s fourth studio album—allowed for grander instrumentation. Producer John Lissauer and Cohen broke the spell at just the right moment. The opener, “Is This What You Wanted,” starts with a distinct level of defiance and the sound of drums clearly meant to surprise. “Chelsea Hotel #2”—Cohen’s parable regarding an encounter with Janis Joplin—remains the album’s best-known song and one of Cohen’s all-time finest, written with his guitarist Ron Cornelius. “Who by Fire” and “Take This Longing” further continued Cohen’s streak of writing solemn but spirited songs that felt timeless. “Lover Lover Lover,” “Field Commander Cohen,” and “Leaving Green Sleeves” (based on a reworking of the 15th-century folk song) demonstrated Cohen’s wilder (often humorous) side, which hadn't been overt on previous studio albums.

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